Cardinals Defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1963-The Loss that Hurt the Most

On the last day of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers, at 7-3-3, came into Yankee Stadium to play the 10-3 New York Giants. In those days, the NFL determined standings by dividing the wins by the total of wins and losses. Tie games meant nothing. Let’s use a foolish scenario. A team with a record of 1-0-13 would be better than a team going 13-1-0. The first team would have a perfect record of 1.000 and the second team .929. The NFL changed this calculation after the 1973 season. Today a tie adds a half game to both the wins and losses.

As a result, a Pittsburgh victory over New York Giants would have given the Steelers first place in the Eastern conference. Pittsburgh’s winning percentage would have been .727 and New York’s .714. The Steelers had defeated the Giants 31 to 0 in one of their best performances in the Pre-Super Bowl. However, the Giants in a bizarre game beat the Steelers 33 to 17 and won the Eastern Division Title. The Steelers and finished 7-4-3.

One loss in Week 5 that year was the most disappointing I ever watched prior to 1970. The Steelers came in to Busch Stadium were 2-1-1 and the Cardinals were 3-1. The Steelers were under dogs because their two best players, John Henry Johnson and Clendon Thomas, were injured. A 20 to 3 halftime lead for the Steelers wound up a 24 to 23 loss. Some horrid details later.


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