9 N e


HISTORY INDEX | THIRTIES PIRATES | FORTIES STEELERS | FIFTIES STEELERS | SIXTIES STEELERS

The Steelers 1976 season begins here>>>

"OAKLAND CRIMINAL CHEAP SHOTS"

Following the Steelers loss to the Raiders, the Post-Gazette ran the above headline in the sports section as coach Noll attempted to protect his players.

The usually tight lipped Noll didn’t hold back when he faced the media calling Oakland, “the criminal element of the National Football League,” adding he would like to see several Raiders thrown out of football.

“It was usually directed at one receiver (Lynn Swann),” said Noll, highlighting the violence thrown at his players. “It’s criminal. They’re putting a guy’s career in jeopardy.”

The Post-Gazette elucidated by describing how Swann wobbled off the field in the final two minutes of the first half after the back of his head had stopped the forward progress of a speeding forearm; marking the second consecutive game in which Swann suffered a concussion.

Reporters suggested to Noll the Raiders used their intimidating tactics to upset the rhythm of the Steelers to disrupt their concentration. “That’s giving them too much credit,” snapped back Noll. “It’s not intellectual, it’s base.”

After January’s Super Bowl, there were some suggestions that the Steelers used intimidation to win the game, but Noll said there was no comparison. “We usually hit people straight on – not when their backs are turned. When you go for their heads when their backs are turned, that puts it in a different perspective.”

PETE ROZELLE FINES TWO RAIDERS AND TWO STEELERS

In an attempt to present the NFL as a family sport, two weeks after the game in Oakland was played, commissioner Pete Rozelle decided to punish two defensive backs from the Raiders. George Atkinson received the biggest fine of $1,500 for “the most flagrant” act the commissioner had seen in his 16 years in office. Jack Tatum was fined $750.

Ernie Homes media photoTo look even handed, Rozelle also fined Ernie Holmes and surprisingly Chuck Noll. “I don’t consider myself a dirty player, but I don’t want to say anything about it,” Ernie Holmes told reporters. Rozelle had conveniently detected what he felt was unnecessary roughness on Holmes’ part.

“I think it was a case of, ‘Let’s find who was doing something on the Steelers,” Holmes determined. “I don’t know what I was fined for, but if Pete says I was a little too rough, then I guess I was a little too rough.
The next time we meet the Raiders, I’m going to get my money’s worth.”    

Noll’s fine was for his criminal description of some Oakland players. Rozelle, ever aware of the NFL’s public image, didn’t like the use of Noll’s portrayal of the Raiders’ actions.

After Noll had made his initial comments, he clarified them by saying, “I can understand things that happen in a moment of emotion. I remember when I was playing and I was tired late in a game and was tripped. I came up ready to take a punch when I saw my own teammate had accidentally tripped me. That was an emotional reaction. But what they did was a cold, calculating deliberate thing.

When a reporter highlighted the use of the word criminal was a red flag word that would get a lot of attention, Noll simply confirmed his point that what they had done “was criminal.”

RANDY GROSSMAN – STILL A STEELER

“We were all packed and ready to go,” offered Randy Grossman as he told the Post-Gazette he wasn’t certain he would be kept by the Steelers when they made their roster cuts.

He never doubted his ability to play with the Steelers. “I came to training camp confident I was good enough to be here, but there were some variables involved.” The main variable was the addition of their number one draft pick Bennie Cunningham which meant the Steelers would be having three tight ends on the roster if they didn’t let Grossman go.

When Larry Brown was hit by injury early preseason, Grossman stepped in and impressed. Coach Noll said Grossman did an exceptional job of filling in and confirmed he didn’t care who the starter was. “We’re concerned who finishes,” Noll said. “We have to have 43 players who can contribute because it’s a long haul.”

Grossman echoed Noll’s comments, saying it didn’t matter who started. “I don’t want this to sound like I’m not fighting for a starting job. Everyone wants to play regularly. That’s every player’s goal. And it might be different if the team were in a different situation. But we’re shooting for something different this year.”


ANOTHER PHOTO FROM STEELER NATION UK'S 2014 PITTSBURGH TRIP


TERRY BRADSHAW

VISIT PITTSBURGH

NON STEELERS INDEX

JAMES HARRISON
FAMILY FOUNDATION

OTHER STEELERS FANS SITES

EMAIL EDITOR

Steeler Nation UK twitter account

 

Last updated July 1st 2015.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

Keeping the Faith with Chuck Noll added September 2014.
Chuck Noll tribute added June 2014.
Byron White's 1938 season with the Pirates added July 2014
The Thirties Pirates updated April 2014.
SteelerNationUK on tour 2013 added February 2014.
The story of Steeler Nation's visit to London added October 2013.

Please note that I do not use cookies to collect any data.
This site was registered November 2004 to Gordon Dedman.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not responsible for the content on this site.
This is one fan's tribute to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the city that embraces their team.
Despite many offers, this site is advert free as I maintain it out of love for the Steelers and not for profit.
Gordon is the proud sponsor of the Greg Lloyd page on the Pro Football Reference website.

All photos are © Gordon Dedman 2015, unless otherwise noted.