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1988 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head Coach Chuck Noll
Home Field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 5–11
Place 4th in AFC Central
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers OT Tunch Ilkin
Team MVP David Little
Rod Woodson
Team ROY Warren Williams
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1987 1989

The 1988 Pittsburgh Steelers began the season with the death of Hall of Fame team founder & owner Art Rooney at age 87 less than two weeks before the start of the season. The team would wear AJR patches on the left shoulder the entire season in memory of "The Chief".

The death of Rooney, combined with the team having several inexperienced players and aging veterans, saw the team stumble to a 5–11 season, their worst record since finishing an NFL-worst 1–13 in 1969. As of 2011, the 5–11 mark remains the team's worst record since 1969, and have only finished with ten losses twice since, in 1999 and 2003.

Offseason Edit

The Steelers saw two of its last three remaining players who won all four Super Bowls retire in wide receiver John Stallworth and strong safety Donnie Shell, who were both from the team's famous Class of 1974 that saw four players go on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (although Shell was undrafted, he was still from the same rookie class), and in the case of Stallworth, retired as the team's all-time leading receiver. (Stallworth's record was surpassed by Hines Ward in 2005.)

Mike Webster, who was also from the Class of 1974, entered the season as the sole remaining member of all four Super Bowl teams. However, change appeared to be imminent when the team drafted Kentucky guard Dermontti Dawson in the second round of the 1988 draft. Although Dawson would be playing guard his rookie season alongside Webster, it was apparent that Dawson was drafted to be groomed as Webster's eventual replacement at center. Webster would be released by the Steelers in the following offseason, officially ending the team's link to all four Super Bowl clubs.

To the delight of Steelers fans, and even most of the players, the Mark Malone era officially ended in the offseason as well. Malone, who had lost the starting quarterback job to Bubby Brister the previous year, was traded to the San Diego Chargers during the offseason. Malone had also become hugely unpopular with fans and teammates for blaming his mistakes on other players and acting as if he were the "heir" to the QB position after the retirement of Terry Bradshaw. At one point, a locker room fight between Malone and the rest of the team ensued before being broken up by veteran offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin.

Regular season Edit

Schedule Edit

Week Date Opponent Location Time (ET) TV Result Record
1 Sunday September 4 Dallas Cowboys Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM CBS W 24–21 1–0
2 Sunday September 11 Washington Redskins RFK Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 30–29 1–1
3 Sunday September 18 Cincinnati Bengals Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 17–12 1–2
4 Sunday September 25 Buffalo Bills Rich Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 36–28 1–3
5 Sunday October 2 Cleveland Browns Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 23–9 1–4
6 Sunday October 9 Phoenix Cardinals Sun Devil Stadium 4:00 PM NBC L 31–14 1–5
7 Sunday October 16 Houston Oilers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 34–14 1–6
8 Sunday October 23 Denver Broncos Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM NBC W 39–21 2–6
9 Sunday October 30 New York Jets Giants Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 24–20 2–7
10 Sunday November 6 Cincinnati Bengals Riverfront Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 42–7 2–8
11 Sunday November 13 Philadelphia Eagles Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM CBS L 27–26 2–9
12 Sunday November 20 Cleveland Browns Cleveland Municipal Stadium 1:00 PM NBC L 27–7 2–10
13 Sunday November 27 Kansas City Chiefs Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM NBC W 16–10 3–10
14 Sunday December 4 Houston Oilers Astrodome 8:00 PM ESPN W 37–34 4–10
15 Sunday December 11 San Diego Chargers Jack Murphy Stadium 4:00 PM NBC L 20–14 4–11
16 Sunday December 18 Miami Dolphins Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 PM NBC W 40–24 5–11

Game summaries Edit

Week 1 (Sunday September 4, 1988): vs. Dallas Cowboys Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Cowboys 7 0 7 7 21
Steelers 10 0 7 7 24



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Dallas – Newsome 3 run (Zendejas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Jackson 15 run (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 32
  • Pittsburgh – Brister 1 run (Anderson kick)
  • Dallas – Irvin 35 pass from Pelluer (Zendejas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Jackson 29 run (Anderson kick)
  • Dallas – Alexander 8 pass from Pelluer (Zendejas kick)

Week 2 (Sunday September 11, 1988): at Washington Redskins Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 10 6 10 29
Redskins 7 3 7 13 30



at RFK Stadium, Washington, DC

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 54,083
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Curt Gowdy (play by play), Merlin Olsen (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 33
  • Washington – Clark 55 pass from Williams (Lohmiller kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 24
  • Washington – FG Lohmiller 37
  • Pittsburgh – Lipps 80 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Brister 6 run (kick failed)
  • Washington – Morris 1 run (Lohmiller kick)
  • Washington – FG Lohmiller 46
  • Pittsburgh – Stone 72 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 43
  • Washington – Bryant 7 pass from Williams (Lohmiller kick)
  • Washington – FG Lohmiller 19

Week 3 (Sunday September 18, 1988): vs. Cincinnati Bengals Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 7 3 7 17
Steelers 2 0 7 3 12



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Safety, Montoya penalized for holding in end zone
  • Cincinnati – Wilson 13 pass from Esiason (Breech kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Lipps 9 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • CIncinnati – FG Breech 32
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 19
  • Cincinnati – Brown 65 pass from Esiason (Breech kick)

Week 4 (Sunday September 25, 1988): at Buffalo Bills Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 14 0 14 28
Bills 10 6 14 6 36



at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 78,735
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Curt Gowdy (play by play), Al DeRogatis (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 5 (Sunday October 2, 1988): vs. Cleveland Browns Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 0 7 6 10 23
Steelers 6 3 0 0 9



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 49
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 35
  • Cleveland – Manoa 1 run (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 45
  • Cleveland – FG Bahr 22
  • Cleveland – FG Bahr 21
  • Cleveland – Washington 75 interception return (Bahr kick)
  • Cleveland – FG Bahr 40

Week 6 (Sunday October 9, 1988): at Phoenix Cardinals Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 0 0 7 14
Cardinals 7 17 7 0 31



at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona

  • Game time: 4:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather: 94°F (Sunny)
  • Game attendance: 53,278
  • Referee: Johnny Grier
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Gary Gerould (play by play), Jon Morris (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Phoenix – Awalt 32 pass from Lomax (Del Greco kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Woodson 92 kickoff return (Anderson kick)
  • Phoenix – FG Del Greco 19
  • Phoenix – Jordan 1 run (Del Greco kick)
  • Phoenix – J. T. Smith 13 pass from Lomax (Del Greco kick)
  • Phoenix – J. T. Smith 3 pass from Lomax (Del Greco kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Hoge 12 pass from Bono (Anderson kick)

Week 7 (Sunday October 16, 1988): vs. Houston Oilers Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 6 12 7 9 34
Steelers 0 7 0 7 14



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Houston – Rozier 2 run (pass failed)
  • Houston – FG Zendejas 50
  • Houston – Safety, Seale blocked punt out of end zone
  • Houston – Givins 43 pass from Moon (Zendejas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Lockett 9 pass from Blackledge (Anderson kick)
  • Houston – Pinkett 1 run (Zendejas kick)
  • Houston – FG Zendejas 27
  • Houston – Hill 24 pass from Moon (kick failed)
  • Pittsburgh – Hoge 1 run (Anderson kick)

Week 8 (Sunday October 23, 1988): vs. Denver Broncos Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 0 7 14 21
Steelers 14 13 3 9 39



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 49,811
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Sam Nover (play by play), Dave Lapham (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Carter 64 run (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Blackledge 1 run (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 30
  • Pittsburgh – Carter 10 pass from Blackledge (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 32
  • Denver – Kay 17 pass from Kubiak (Karlis kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 21
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 37
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 22
  • Denver – Kay 14 pass from Kubiak (Karlis kick)
  • Denver – Nattiel 74 pass from Karcher (Karlis kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 30

Week 9 (Sunday October 30, 1988): at New York Jets Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 10 0 0 10 20
Jets 0 10 7 7 24



at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 25
  • Pittsburgh – Carter 24 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • New York Jets – FG Leahy 41
  • New York Jets – Shuler 2 pass from O'Brien (Leahy kick)
  • New York Jets – Hector 2 run (Leahy kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 21
  • New York Jets – McNeil 5 run (Leahy kick)
  • PIttsburgh – Jackson 17 run (Anderson kick)

Week 10 (Sunday November 6, 1988): at Cincinnati Bengals Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 0 0 0 7
Bengals 14 7 14 7 42



at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 56,403
  • Referee: Red Cashion
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Jim Donovan (play by play), Joe Namath (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Cincinnati – Brown 86 pass from Esiason (Breech kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Brister 9 run (Anderson kick)
  • Cincinnati – McGee 5 pass from Esiason (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Brooks 3 run (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Brooks 2 run (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Brown 6 pass from Esiason (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Brooks 9 run (Breech kick)

Week 11 (Sunday November 13, 1988): vs. Philadelphia Eagles Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 0 14 3 10 27
Steelers 10 6 7 3 26



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 46,026
  • Referee: Fred Wyant
  • TV announcers: (CBS) Tim Ryan (play by play), Dan Jiggetts (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 52
  • Pittsburgh – Hoge 13 pass from Lipps (Anderson kick)
  • Philadelphia – Byars 1 run (Zendejas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 21
  • Philadelphia – Cunningham 7 run (Zendejas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 29
  • Philadelphia – FG Zendejas 34
  • Pittsburgh – Lipps 89 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • Philadelphia – Cunningham 12 run (Zendejas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 41
  • Philadelphia – FG Zendejas 18

Week 12 (Sunday November 20, 1988): at Cleveland Browns Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Browns 3 14 7 3 27



at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 77,131
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Sam Nover (play by play), Jon Morris (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Cleveland – FG Bahr 32
  • Cleveland – Tennell 2 pass from Kosar (Bahr kick)
  • Cleveland – Minnifield 11 blocked punt return (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Carter 1 run (Anderson kick)
  • Cleveland – Langhorne 77 pass from Kosar (Bahr kick)
  • Cleveland – FG Bahr 34

Week 13 (Sunday November 27, 1988): vs. Kansas City Chiefs Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 0 7 0 3 10
Steelers 6 7 3 0 16



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • PIttsburgh – FG Anderson 23
  • PIttsburgh – FG Anderson 20
  • Kansas City – Paige 4 pass from DeBerg (Lowery kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Hoge 10 run (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 22
  • Kansas City – FG Lowery 26

Week 14 (Sunday December 4, 1988): at Houston Oilers Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 14 7 13 37
Oilers 0 13 14 7 34



at Astrodome, Houston, Texas

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 45
  • Houston – FG Zendejas 36
  • Pittsburgh – Stone 92 kickoff return (Anderson kick)
  • Houston – Rozier 6 pass from Moon (Zendejas kick)
  • Houston – FG Zendejas 41
  • Pittsburgh – Lipps 80 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – 65 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • Houston – White 90 kickoff return (Zendejas kick)
  • Houston – Moon 2 run (Zendejas kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Hoge 2 run (Anderson kick)
  • Houston – Moon 3 run (Zendejas kick)
  • PIttsburgh – Hoge 16 pass from Brister (kick failed)

Week 15 (Sunday December 11, 1988): at San Diego Chargers Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 0 14 14
Chargers 0 14 0 6 20



at Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, California

Scoring Drives:

  • San Diego – Flutie 6 pass from Malone (DeLine kick)
  • San Diego – Malone 1 run (DeLine kick)
  • San Diego – FG DeLine 24
  • Pittsburgh – Gothard 3 pass from Brister (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Brister 3 run (Anderson kick)
  • San Diego – FG DeLine 42

Week 16 (Sunday December 18, 1988): vs. Miami Dolphins Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Dolphins 10 7 0 7 24
Steelers 7 13 7 13 40



at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 36,051
  • Referee: Fred Wyant
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Tom Hammond (play by play), Joe Namath (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Woodruff 78 interception return (Anderson kick)
  • Miami – Hampton 4 run (Reveiz kick)
  • Miami – FG Reveiz 20
  • Pittsburgh – Lipps 39 run (Anderson kick)
  • Miami – Hampton 1 run (Reveiz kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 34
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 43
  • Pittsburgh – Carter 1 run (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 34
  • Pittsburgh – Jordan 28 interception return (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 22
  • Miami – Clayton 13 pass from Jaworski (Reveiz kick)

StandingsEdit

AFC Central
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
Cincinnati Bengals 1240.750448329
Cleveland Browns 1060.625304288
Houston Oilers 1060.625424365
Pittsburgh Steelers 5110.313336421

References Edit

AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit LA Rams
Miami Houston LA Raiders Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego Phoenix Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1988 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXIII