January 11, 1983
Lynn Swann retires
On this day 40 years ago, Hall of Fame receiver Lynn Swann retired after a nine-year career that included being a part of four Super Bowl Championship teams.
Swann finished his career with 336 receptions for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns, and a highlight reel that would make any receiver envious. Swann was named All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in 1975, 1977 and 1978, and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s and the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team.
From USC to the Hall of Fame - a look at Lynn Swann:
Good things come to those who wait, and for Lynn Swann that wait had to have seemed like an eternity. It took 14 years for the former Steelers wide receiver to get the call from the Hall of Fame to be a member of the Class of 2001, but it was worth every minute of it.
"Waiting is always tough," said Swann, recently recalling his induction day. "Football players are accustomed to being hands on. For a player to have to wait and there is nothing you can do, it's like sitting on the bench and your team is out there playing. It's the Super Bowl and you are not on the field. You want to hoist the trophy and there is nothing you can do. It's excruciating for an athlete to be on that sideline.
"The 14 years of being on that list, being on the finalist list, making it seemed to erase it all. It was like the first day I was eligible, you go in. You are thrilled to join the Steelers who are in the Hall of Fame. You are thrilled and excited about that kind of recognition.
"It's almost post-Super Bowl excitement. It's something you don't earn overnight. It's something that takes time to get in, takes a high degree of consistency to get in. Even though it's an individual honor, it's a team that puts you in there. Without the whole team no individual has a chance to showcase their individual talent to make that happen."
Swann, the first-round draft pick in the legendary 1974 Steelers draft class, had plenty of opportunities to show his individual talent. Known for his graceful moves and leaping catches, Swann always came through on the big stage.
Check out photos of Steelers' Hall of Famer Lynn Swann
Swann, who suffered a concussion in the 1975 AFC Championship Game, was an uncertainty to be ready for Super Bowl X. But Swann was ready to go come game day, and then some.
He had four receptions for 161 yards and a 64-yard touchdown. But you have to see the highlight reel to truly appreciate the greatness of what he did, as the receptions are legendary footage for NFL Films courtesy of his circus catch and leaping ability. He went on to win MVP honors for his performance.
"My big catches that day are what people remember," said Swann. "But in coming back from my concussion, my biggest catch occurred on the first pass that Terry threw to me. I went up for a high, graceful reception that gave me the confidence I needed to make the other catches later on."
Swann finished his career with 336 receptions for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns.
"I'd like to say that we developed Lynn Swann," said his late Coach Chuck Noll. "But the truth is he was perfectly developed as a football player the first time he stepped on our practice field."
Swann was named All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in 1975, 1977 and 1978, and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s and the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team.
Swann, who was part of the final class to be inducted on the actual steps of the Hall of Fame, will never forget that special day.
"I could not be here without the overwhelming support of Dan Rooney and Chuck Noll," said Swann during his induction speech. "I know that last year when Dan Rooney stood here at this podium as proud as he was to be following in his father's footsteps, who also stood here and accepted the award of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I am happy that he is sitting behind me, to share in this day, to know that I fully appreciate all that he has done. And to Chuck Noll, for his unwavering support in saying that I belong here on the steps of Canton, and giving me the opportunity to play this football game.
"The virtuous part of having this patience also means that the day I was selected to the Hall of Fame this last January couldn't have been a better day because it would have been the 100th anniversary of the birth of Art Rooney, Sr., the founder of this football team."