Super Bowl XIV
The Pittsburgh Steelers seemed poised to easily repeat as NFL Champions when they faced off against the Los Angeles Rams in Super bowl XIV in front of a still-standing record crowd of 103,985 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 20, 1980. However, the Rams, who had been a thorn in the Steelers side for many of their regular season meetings over the previous few years, had other plans and quickly nullified the betting line that had them as a 10-1/2 point underdog. It was the first Super Bowl to be held in the home market of one of the two combatants. Los Angeles was the first team to reach the NFL Championship game with nine of fewer victories during the regular season as they went 9-7. The biggest loss they suffered during the regular season was their Pro-Bowl quarterback Pat Haden when he broke his finger halfway through the year. But, second year pro Vince Ferragamo filled Haden's shoes with surprising effectiveness going 4-1 during the latter half of the regular season and then performed exceptionally in what would be the biggest game of his career. The Rams topped the NFC West, despite their 9-7 record, and then beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-19 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0 in the NFC title game to reach their first Super Bowl. The reigning champion Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the NFL title game after leading the NFL in points (416) and allowed the third fewest points in the AFC (262) during the regular season. The offense was still bolstered by future Hall of Famers like quarterback Terry Bradshaw, running back Franco Harris and wide receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann accounting for 26 touchdowns during the regular season. Harris had also matched Jim Brown's record of seven consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more rushing yards. The Steel Curtain also continued to punish offensive lines and terrorize quarterbacks intercepting 27 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh posted a 12-4 record during the regular season before dropping the Miami Dolphins 34-14 in the divisional playoff and then the Houston Oilers in the AFC Conference Championship Game.
During the broadcast of Super Bowl XIV, John Madden was introduced into the broadcast booth as a guest analyst alongside Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier and "BOOM!" the network and the whole world fell in love with Madden. He replaced Brookshier in the broadcast booth the very next season. Steelers' kicker Matt Bahr began the scoring with a 41-yard field goal in the first, but the Rams stormed back to take the lead 7-3 with a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Cullen Bryant. In the second quarter, Steelers regained the lead with a touchdown by running back Franco Harris and then Rams placekicker Frank Corral kicked two field goals before the end of the half as Los Angeles took a 13-10 lead into the half. Terry Bradshaw hit Lynn Swann, who made an incredible catch in double coverage, with a 47-yard touchdown pass to start the second half scoring and put the Steelers in the lead 17-13. Marching right back, the Ferragamo handed off to running back Lawrence McCutcheon who found Ron Smith open at the one and he fell in to move the score to 19-17. Bradshaw threw three interceptions during the game, but when he threw a 73-yard touchdown bomb to a seemingly wide-open John Stallworth in the fourth quarter to go up 24-19, he iced the game for good. Franco Harris would add another 1-yard rushing TD to end the game 31-19 in favor of Pittsburgh. This was one of the most competitive title games to date and the two teams set a record for most lead changes (7) in Super Bowl history. The Steelers became the first team to win four Super Bowls and captured their fourth in last six years. Vince Ferragamo had the game of his life going 15-for-25 with 212 passing yards, but Terry Bradshaw nearly matched his numbers from Super Bowl XIII going 14-for-21 for 309 passing yards. He set a career Super Bowl record as he surpassed Roger Staubach with his ninth touchdown pass and was once again named the Super Bowl XIV Most Valuable Player.