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Super Bowl IX Rewind

Posted Jun 28, 2014

A look back at the Steelers' victory in Super Bowl IX.

Super Bowl IX
Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6
Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
January 12, 1975; Attendance: 80,997

The Steelers made their first appearance in the Super Bowl and captured their first NFL Championship with a 16-6 victory.

The veteran Vikings, meanwhile, had been to the Super Bowl twice before. The Vikings had a savvy leader in quarterback Fran Tarkenton. The Steelers had a strong defense but their quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, was unproven.

The first half was dominated by defense. Pittsburgh concentrated on the middle of the Minnesota defensive line. One defensive tackle, Ernie Holmes, played over

Vikings’ center Mick Tingelhoff, while the other tackle, Joe Greene, lined up at an angle pointed directly at Tingelhoff. Holmes sometimes took on the Vikings’ center directly, allowing Greene to knife through and pursue Tarkenton. At other times, Greene would smash into Tingelhoff while Holmes looped behind him.

The only score in the first half was a safety registered by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fran Tarkenton fumbled a handoff to Dave Osborn, scrambled to recover the ball in the end zone, and was downed by Pittsburgh defensive end Dwight White.

Leading 2-0, Pittsburgh kicked to Minnesota to open the second half and the Vikings’ Bill Brown fumbled and Marv Kellum recovered for Pittsburgh at the Minnesota 30. The Steelers took four plays to go the distance, with Franco Harris taking the ball in from the 9.

Harris was named game MVP. He ran for 158 yards on 34 tries, both new highs for the Super Bowl, and Rocky Bleier added 65 yards on 17 carries. Minnesota, meanwhile, managed only 17 yards rushing.

Denied on the ground, the Vikings weren’t much better in the air. Tarkenton, under constant pressure from Greene, Holmes, White, and L.C. Greenwood, completed only 11-of-26 attempts for 102 yards—an average of fewer than four yards per pass.

Despite their dominance, Pittsburgh’s 9-0 lead was far from safe, and it narrowed to 9-6 in the final quarter when Matt Blair blocked Bobby Walden’s punt, and Terry Brown recovered in the end zone.

After that touchdown, Pittsburgh put the game on ice with a drive that began on its 34. The big play of the drive was a 30-yard toss from Bradshaw to Larry Brown, who later scored the final TD.

Soon after the ensuing kickoff, Pittsburgh’s Mike Wagner intercepted a Tarkenton pass, and the Steelers held possession until the game was nearly over.

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