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The Steelers 1977 season begins here>>>

BENNIE CUNNINGHAM FINDING HIS FEET

Bennie Cunningham media photoBennie Cunningham impressed during the win over the Bengals and was emerging as the ideal fit as the Steelers tight end. During the win over the Bengals Cunningham had made his mark when he bulldozed Melvin Morgan, whose villainous attack on John Stallworth earlier had stunned the Three Rivers crowd.

After a quiet rookie season, Cunningham was beginning to enjoy being part of the team. Asked if he felt the season had been wasted because of his late start and pulled groin, he replied, “I hate to say this, but that’s true.”

Bill Heufelder, writing in the Pittsburgh Press suggested Cunningham, at 6-4 and 250 pounds, is not only huge, but he possesses all the requisites to be the complete tight end.

Coach Noll likes the way has improved as a blocker. His sternest challenge was adapting to the revolutionary blocking techniques taught by Dan Radakovich, whose linemen use their hands to the fullest extent of the law as noted in the NFL rule book.

“It was somewhat easier to use my hands,” Cunningham said, “but it was harder trying to get rid of the holding. In many instances, I got called for holding.

Tom Moore, the receiver coach acknowledged, “I think he’s got great potential because of his size, mobility and good hands. The thing we’re obviously trying to do is get him to break tackles, which is what he did Monday night.”

Cunningham admitted, “I can’t see very much difference between running the ball here and in college. One difference is that here you have to run lower because even though the defensive backs are small, they know how to tackle  and they’re not afraid to hit.”

 “You can’t get too stereotyped with your offense,” observed Mike Webster. “We’ve got to get Bennie more involved in our offense.”

NFL INVESTIGATE HITS IN THE BENGALS CLASH

Mel Blount from the Steelers and the Bengals’ Mel Morgan were ordered to appear before NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle the day after their next game to explain incidents that occurred in the Monday Night clash.

Morgan’s forearm smash to the head of John Stallworth caused a mild concussion. Bengals assistant general manager Mike Brown called the hit unnecessary. “We think that kind of thing should be stopped,” he said. “We think a penalty was justified on the play. We think it was unnecessary roughness. We understand why Pete Rozelle has called in him. We would not be surprised if a fine is forthcoming.”

Blount cracked into Cincinnati tight end Bob Trump on a play that Brown said was “an incident parallel to Morgan’s. If action is taken in Morgan’s case, I think it is needed in Blount’s.”

“I really don’t even know why they are calling me in,” Blount said. “I don’t even know if I’m going. My only concern is Houston and playing sound defense and coming up with interceptions.”

Dan Rooney had reviewed the tape of the incident and found nothing to implicate Blount. “On the close up of our game films you can clearly see the flight of the ball,” Rooney said. “And I don’t think there’s any question Mel was going for the ball.”

“Looking at the film, everything looks legal,” Blount added. “I don’t know if it’s a crackdown on violence or what, but ever since the (Noll vs Atkinson criminal element) trial things have changed. I know the commissioner wants to stay on everything, but I think anybody who looks at football can see it’s a strong, physical game. You can’t play it any other way.”


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This site last updated November 27th 2016.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1976 season in full.
The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

The first NFL champions the 1902 Pittsburgh Stars added June 2016

The Pittsburgh Americans added August 2015.

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