The Steelers First Dynasty-How Good Was It

The Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in six years from 1974 to 1979.  This team was one of the best ever and really turned Pittsburgh into a football town. Prior to that only the Pirates that had any big following.  Being a Steeler fan  made you feel like a freak.  Before 1970, the two biggest home crowds occurred at Pitt Stadium in 1963.

46,000-The Steelers defeated the New York Giants 31 to 0

50,000-The Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 9 to 7.

AFC 1972 EAST

(1) Pittsburgh W 11 L 3 (2) Cleveland Browns W 10 L 4  (3) Cincinnati Bengals W 8 L 6

–Against Cleveland-Pittsburgh lost on the road 26 to 24; won at home 30 to 0;

–Against Cincinnati-Pittsburgh lost on the road 15 to 10; won at home 40 to 17;

–Defeated the Oakland Raiders 34 to 28

Cleveland made the Playoffs as a Wild Card.

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1973-Both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati made the playoffs with 10-4.

Against Cincinnati Pittsburgh lost on the road 19 to 7 and won at home 20 to 13.

Pittsburgh on the road defeated Oakland  17 to 9. At home, they defeated the Washington Redskins 21 to 16.

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1974-Pittsburgh finished first at 10-3-1 to the Cincinnati Bengals 7-7; but for most of the year, it was closer than this.  After 11 weeks Pittsburgh was 8-2-1 and Cincinnati 7-4.   In November at Cincinnati, Kenny Anderson completed 20  of 22 passes and the Bengals defeated the Steelers 17 to 10.  Hit with injuries, the Bengals lost their last three games.  Pittsburgh at home won the final weekend game with Cincinnati 27 to 3.

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1975-Pittsburgh showed how good they were in first place with a 12-2 record.

Cincinnati finished second at 11-3.

The Houston Oilers were third at 10-4.

The Steelers beat both teams twice during

At Cincinnati  Pittsburgh won 30 to 24.  At home Pittsburgh won 35 to 14.

Houston-Pittsburgh won at home 24 to 17 and at Houston 32 to 9.

Cincinnati made the playoffs.  Houston did not.

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1976-The Steelers and the Bengals each had 10-4 records.  Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati twice, 23 to 6 at home and 7 to 3 on the road.  Cincinnati did make the playoffs.

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1977-Pittsburgh was 9-5 and the Bengals second at 8-6.  The Cincinnati did not make the playoffs.

At home-the Steelers beat Cincinnati 20 to 14 at home; lost 17 to 10 on the road.

Pittsburgh defeated Dallas at home 28 to 13.  The Cowboys finished 12-2 and won the Super Bowl.

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The last two years of the Steelers dynasty showed how good they and the AFC Central Division were.  They defeated the Wild Card Houston Oilers in the AFC Championship.  The Oilers of course finished second in the AFC Central.

1978 Pittsburgh was 14-2 to Houston’s 10-6.  Pittsburgh lost to the Oilers at home 24 to 17 but beat them on the road 13 to 3. They beat Houston 34 to 5 in the AFC Title  Game; Pittsburgh defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl 35 to 31.

1979 Pittsburgh was 12-4 to Houston’s 11-5.  Pittsburgh defeated to the Oilers at home 38 to 7 and lost to them on the road 20 to 17. They beat Houston 27 to 13 in the AFC Title  Game; Pittsburgh defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl 31 to 19.

Nature of Legislatures-Edward Brooke and Ted Kennedy

Edward W. Brooke was a Republican Senator from Massachusetts, spanning 1967 to 1979.  He was one of three new Republican Senators elected in 1966.   Brooke won re-election in 1972. This was despite George McGovern carrying Massachusetts, the only state going Democratic in that year’s presidential race.  In his 2008 book,  Bridging the Divide,  Senator Brooke commented on Senator Edward Kennedy.  This is  an appraisal  both of Kennedy’s years in the Senate and a  flaw in our system.

Unless a Senator first becomes Vice President,  it is almost impossible to be a great or even a good Senator and get your party’s Presidential Nomination.  This holds equally for Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, and Conservatives.  Examples-Republicans such as George Norris, Robert A. Taft or Arthur Vandenburg or Democrats such as Phillip Hart, Paul Douglas, or Wayne Morse.  Lyndon Johnson became President  and Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic Nominee in 1968.  Both of these Senate Giants spent, or should I say wasted, some time in the Vice Presidency.

Good Senators craft legislation; take stands on all key issues; apply the constitution fairly and consistently; work with the opposition party; and address  beliefs to groups that disagree, and are often hostile to, his (her) principles.  No one can really do this and run for President concurrently.  It is dangerous in politics to say anything people might remember.  A good Senator will obviously not get support from his opposition.

Nevertheless, supporters of the Senator pose an even bigger.  In politics, compromise is essential and many people often feel the Senator yielded too much on a successful yet watered down effort.  The general public and politicians are aware of the pitfalls of Senatorial excellence.  Here is the biggest of many examples:  In 1952 Barry Goldwater, running for his first Senate term, endorsed General Eisenhower over Senator Robert A. Taft.  Goldwater’s ideas for far closer to Taft’s than Eisenhower.  Like Goldwater, Taft was a Western Conservative at odds with the Eastern Liberal Republican Establishment.  This group endorsed Eisenhower over Taft.  The Easterners had also opposed Senator Taft in the three previous elections supporting Wendell Willkey in 1940 and Thomas Dewey in 44 and 48.  Barry Goldwater simply knew that Taft’s record, though brilliant, had points that would turn off major segments of the electorate.  By the way the hazy dividing  line, between Western and Eastern Republicans, was Pittsburgh.

Since the Civil War, there have to me been only two exceptions to this rule.  As stated George McGovern  got the Democratic Nomination in 1972.  Robert Dole did like with the Republicans in 1996.

Below is Senator Brooke’s statement on his colleague for 12 years.   I capitalized the central issue.
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“For a long time during and after my Senate years, I have been asked my relationship with the other Massachusetts Senator, Ted Kennedy. For a time Ted’s office was next to mine in the Old Senate Office Building, now the Russell Building, but he never visited nor did I ever visit him.  As one might imagine, it was never easy to share power with a Kennedy.  Our staffs rarely interfaced on Senate matters or socially.  Also there was a generation gap; when I first took the Senate office, he was 35 and I was 48.  He was fiercely partisan. I was not.  Some of my best friends were Democrats.  With the exception of the enjoyable luncheon that he and Joan gave for Remigia{ Brooke’s wife} and me prior to my swearing in ceremony, I do not recall that we have ever broken bread together since.   Though there was far more civility in the 1960s and 1970 than there appears to be now, the Senate is strictly divided only party lines.  I suspect that there is bound to be “sibling rivalry” between same state Senators, particularly when they are of different parties, but it is also true when true are of the same party.  Though we co-sponsored many legislative bills and often voted together, we rarely collaborated.
 
In my early years in the Senate at looked at Ted as inarticulate and lacking in confidence.  But he has grown in stature and performance during his more than 40 years service.  He is now an accomplished able, articulate member of the United States Senate and the unrivaled champion of social causes.  ONCE HE ASSURED HIMSELF THAT THE PRESIDENCY WAS NOT GOING TO BE AVAILABLE TO HIM, HE SEEMED DETERMINED  TO BE THE BEST SENATOR HE COULD BE.  And he has.

Why Eli Manning Is Not Yet Great

The New York Giants, as  I see it, are now in a dynasty.  Two Super Bowls, winning both, within a five year period-07 and 11.   Why is Eli Manning still not considered a great quarterback?  The answer is that the New York Giants were not a dominant team in either year.   Their one big  year, 2008, featured a 12-4 record but a loss to the Eagles in their first post season game.  As a sidebar, the Philadelphia Eagles did a great job in 2008 when all odds  were in New York’s favor.

–New York’s record was 12-4 to Philadelphia’s 9-6-1.

–The Eagles won a Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Vikings 27 to 14, while

–the Giants had a BYE week.

–the Game which the Eagles won 23 to 11 was at New York.

For a quarterback to fall in the great category, his team must combine a great season with at least a Super Bowl appearance.

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In 2007, memories of the Giants collapse the previous season made Tom Coughlin’s job look tenuous.  In 2006, after a 6-2 start, the team went 2-6 and lost the Wild Card Game to the Eagles 23 to 20.  The New York Giants went on a tear in 2007 after losing their first two games and finished 10-6.  This was good for a Wild Card spot in the Playoffs.  Based on the season, though, their chances looked flimsy.   During the season the Giants:

–had only one victory against a playoff team and with  a winning record.  The Washington Redskins hit both conditions and the Giants defeated them at DC 24 to 17.

–defeated the .500 Philadelphia Eagles twice.

–defeated losing teams seven times.

They went on to the Super Bowl defeating New England 17 to 14.

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In 2011, the New York Giants had not been the playoffs the previous two years.  Tom Coughlin’s prospects once again look shaky with only a 7-7 record after the first 14 games. The Giants won all the games after that finishing with the Super Bowl win once again over New England.  Their 9-7 regular season was not  great.  However, the opposition was somewhat better than in 07.

–had only one victory against a playoff team and with  a winning record.  The New England Patriots, their Super Bowl opponents,  hit both conditions and the Giants defeated them at Foxboro 24 to 20.

–defeated six .500 teams.

–defeated losing teams twice.

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Eli Manning have to meet these two factors for him to fall in the great category.

Senator Norris-During Wilson’s First Term

During Wilson’s first term, Senator Norris’ position could seem doctrinaire and uncompromising.  Perhaps they were; but  it was still good to have a Senator speak for consistent Progressiveness.   President Wilson’s proposals, Norris believed, did not go far enough and results were often of limited value.

–The Underwood Tariff did reduce some rates on industrial goods and prevent the growth of trusts.  Norris opposed this act because he felt it would operate disastrously against agriculture, Nebraska’s chief industry.  It removed the tariff on everything farmers had to sell while retaining it on nearly everything they had to buy.  Despite mentioning the Cornhusker  State,  George Norris’ position was not provincial.   He always  spoke for farmers, and later labor unions, all across America.

–Senator Norris supported the Federal Reserve Act because he believed, as did President Wilson, that the country needed an elastic money supply.  He was critical of the overall makeup of the board though he felt improvements would come later.   Norris specifically wanted it independent from the Treasury, which it is, and a lesser number of Federal Reserve Districts.  The current number of 12 is far too excessive and is just an additional layer of bureaucracy

–Norris supported the initial version of the Clayton Antitrust Bill but the total Senate watered at down considerably. Norris voted against the bill because it  deleted two critical provisions-criminal prosecution for anti-trust violations and heavy fines any individual or set of men organizing a trust.

–George Norris wanted Attorney General James C. McReynolds to investigate the New York, New Haven, and Hartford’s monopoly on transportation in New England. This involved high transportation rates and embezzlement.  McReynolds failed to follow through.  A few months later,  President Wilson nominated McReynolds for the Supreme Court citing the nominees  fairness and progressive philosophy.   Norris did not agree and voted against the nomination. Unfortunately, the Senate confirmed  McReynolds.  The justice  actually was very conservative and  later invalidated much of the New Deal legislation.

–Senator Norris did support the Wilson Administration in its effort to charge American freighters using the Panama Canal.  For too long, taxpayers were subsidizing these shipping companies since the federal  government operated the canal.   The companies were getting a fee ride.  This was a bold proposal from President Wilson that should have passed  10 years earlier.  Both Wilson and Norris took on the shipping industry.

–Senator Norris supported the nomination of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court.  Brandeis, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Charles Evans Hughes were three great Justices in our history.

Senator proposed more public operation of utilities to control costs;  his triumph would come in the future years.  Presidents from all across the political spectrum often accomplish less than their supporters  would like.  Wilson’s legislative record may have been best possible considering the makeup of Congress. I still think  historians have been far too lenient in judging President Wilson.  In many ways, especially in his second term, Wilson become a dangerous reactionary.

 

Tommy McDonald

Tommy McDonald, from Oklahoma,  played with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1957 to 1963.  There were the bad times, the NFL Championship in 1960, and some bad times again before the Eagles traded him to Dallas after the 1963 season.  During his years with Philadelphia, Tommy caught 287 passes,  for 5,500 yards, and 13 touchdowns.  He also returned kickoffs and punts for a total of 1,442 yards.  Philadelphia  fans voted him among the 10 great all time Eagles a few years back.

After 1963 season, the Eagles traded him to the Dallas Cowboys for Punter and Place Kicker Sam Baker. 1964 was the only year McDonald did any damage to his former team.   Anyway, the Eagles won both games in 1964, something they would do to Dallas for 24 years.

At Dallas-TMD caught seven passes for 99 yards.  Eagles won 17 to 14.

At Franklin Field-TMD caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.  Eagles rallied for 17 fourth quarter points and won 24 to 14.

Tommy McDonald never spent long in any city after leaving Philadelphia.

1965 to 1966 Los Angeles Rams

1967 Atlanta Falcons

1968 Cleveland Browns (Our Archrival)

Tommy McDonald made six Pro Bowls, five with Philadelphia.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Subways in Harrisburg

On Market Square in downtown Harrisburg in 1971, I asked someone  the location of the Patriot News Building.  This person told me walk east to the Market Street Subway and newspaper building was just beyond.  I asked why the word subway.  It was the railroad underpass on Market Street right next to the train station.  The subway is about 25 yards in length, has 24 hour lighting, and concrete pillars to protect pedestrians from wayward traffic.  It is a smaller version of the Schuylkill River underpass in front of 30th Street Station.

Harrisburg, ninth in population among Pennsylvania cities, is very much a hybrid city.  It is beyond the Central Pennsylvania Bible Belt yet not in the North Eastern Urban Corridor. I guess the reason Harrisburgers coined  the word subway was to appear more metropolitan.  Just north several several blocks is the Herr Street Subway.  This again is a railroad underpass at Seventh and Herr Street but not as well known.  Nevertheless, the Subway Cafe is on Herr Street on the other side of the railroad tunnel going away from town.  The Cafe has been a fixture in Harrisburg for over 50 years.

The word subway takes a while to get used to while visiting Harrisburg.

Losing 27 to 6 to Arizona

When  teams commit turnovers, they either correct the problem or it catches up with them in a big way.  This happened with the two year end losses to Dallas in 09 and yesterday here in the Valley of the Sun.  A fumble on a punt return led to a touchdown.  The fumble by Micheal Vick at the  end of the first half was a 14 point play.  Instead of trailing 17 to 7 at halftime it was 24 to 0 and Philadelphia never recovered.

Things improved in the second half.   The defense stopped the Cardinals until that last drive for a field goal.  Just about everything  collapsed on that fourth quarter series.   Much to my surprise,  Arizona converted two third and 20 plays.  The defense for the entire game was a big disappointment.    When Kevin Kolb played for the Eagles, he was prone to interceptions.  I though the Eagles would nab two and maybe even three passes.  Kolb really cut up the secondary in the first half.

Just like last year at home,  the Cardinals scored a touchdown on a botched interception.  Last year it was Julio Hanson and this year DeMico Ryans.  It was a matter of inches in both cases that cost Philadelphia seven points.  Unknown is how long Andy Reid will stay with Micheal Vick at quarterback.  In any event, Vick cannot last a full  year taking this kind of pounding.  The second string Eagle should be able to hit the ground running, or in this case passing.

I also believe that the team was looking past the Cardinals to the game this Sunday Night with the New York Giants.  This may be understandable but still inexcusable.  During the season, there should be no long range planning with one exception-a team having the home field advantage and the BYE week before the season is over.  This happened to the Eagles in 2004.