The 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers season was capped off with a 10-3-1 record and the Super Bowl IX championship. The '74 team became the first team in Steelers history (42 seasons of history) to win a league title following one of the franchise's greatest playoff runs ever. After the hiring of head coach Chuck Noll in 1969, Noll signed Defensive Tackle #75 Joe Greene. He then signed Quarterback #12 Terry Bradshaw in 1970. Linebacker #59 Jack Ham and Cornerback #47 Mel Blount arrived in 1971. And in 1972, the Steelers signed a fullback from nearby Penn. State in #32 Franco Harris. By 1973, Joe Greene was flanked on the line by #78 Dwight White, #63 Ernie Holmes, and #68 L.C. Greenwood. In the 1974 draft, the Steelers took no time in signing some more talent for the team. Wide Receiver #88 Lynn Swann and #82 John Stallworth, Linebacker #58 Jack Lambert, and Center #52 Mike Webster all became future hall of famers.
After 2 playoff appearances, the Steelers appeared to be in great shape after finishing the preseason as the only undeafeated team in the NFL. After two straight games, the Steelers scored over 50 points and were 1-0-1. However, the Steelers couldn't beat the Raiders at home. Steelers starting quarterback at the time, #17 Joe Gilliam's play continually deteriorated. By Week 7, the Steelers were 4-1-1 and Gilliam was benched for #12 Terry Bradshaw during a win against the Falcons. Bradshaw won the next two games, but after a loss in Cincinnati, Noll benched Bradshaw agian. This time he was benched in favor of #5 Terry Hanratty (who was also selected in the 1970 Draft). Hanratty however, played horribly in Cleveland. The offense was in a struggle, but the Steelers had won those tough games behind the still maturing Steel Curtain defense. When Bradshaw was brought back into the lineup, the Steelers beat the Browns and the Saints (a game that Bradshaw ran more than he passed). After a loss to Houston, the Steelers would play the most important game of the season in New England. With a win against the Patriots, the Steelers would clinch the AFC Central and appear in their third straight playoff appearance. But they didn't have to worry. The Steelers dominated the them and then beat the Bengals and awaited the playoffs.