Bill Austin, an offensive line coach under Vince Lombardi, died two weeks ago. Lombardi respected Austin’s technical ability. After the 1965 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers lured Austin away from the Green Bay Packers to become Head Coach. Things looked promising the first year but the team went downhill after that.
1966-The Pittsburgh Steelers were 5-8-1, three and a half games over the 2-12 mark in 1965. A 4-3 second half after a 1-5-1 start raised hopes for 1967.
1967-This was the bookends year for the Pittsburgh Steelers that I mentioned earlier. The expected improvement did not occur. On opening day at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh destroyed the Chicago Bears 41 to 13. The last game of the season the Steelers traveled to Green Bay to play the Packers. Heading into the game, Green Bay was 9-3-1 and had already won the Century Division. Aside from the opening game, there was little to brag about for Pittsburgh; their record was 3-9-1. Nevertheless, the Steelers won over Green Bay 24 to 17. This was Vince Lombardi’s last regular season game as the Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers.
1968-The Steelers fell completely apart with a 2-11-1 record. The only bright spot was a 41 to 21 victory over the Falcons at Atlanta. Quite correctly, the Steelers fired Bill Austin immediately following Week 14.
1969-After Vince Lombardi became Head Coach of the Washington Redskins, he hired Bill Austin once again as his offensive line coach. As indicated earlier, the Skins were 7-5-2 in 1969, their best season since 1955.
1970-Bill Austin came Head Coach after Vince Lombardi died. The Redskins were 6-8 in 1970.
I will look at the 1966 Steelers and the 1970 Redskins, both with Austin as Head Coach, later.