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1981 Pittsburgh Steelers season

 

1981 Pittsburgh Steelers season

1981 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Chuck Noll
General manager Dick Haley
Owner Art Rooney
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 8–8
Division place 2nd in AFC Central
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers CB Mel Blount
LB Jack Lambert
S Donnie Shell
C Mike Webster
AP All-Pros Mel Blount (1st team)
Jack Lambert (1st team)
Mike Webster (1st team)
Donnie Shell (2nd team)
Team MVP Jack Lambert
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1980 1982 >

After enduring an injury plagued 9-7 season the previous year, and missing the playoffs for the first time since 1971, the Steelers had hoped that the 1980 season was just a small hiatus from contending for championships. However, while the Steelers had flashes of their former glory years after starting the season with 2 unimpressive losses, the 1981 season would end in a 8-8 record and eventually prove to be the beginning of the end of the Steelers great dynasty of the 70's.

Contents

  • Personnel 1
    • Staff 1.1
    • Roster 1.2
  • Offseason 2
  • Pre-Season 3
    • Schedule 3.1
  • Regular season 4
    • Schedule 4.1
    • Game summaries 4.2
      • Week 1 (Sunday September 6, 1981): vs. Kansas City Chiefs 4.2.1
      • Week 2 (Thursday September 10, 1981): at Miami Dolphins 4.2.2
      • Week 3 (Sunday September 20, 1981): vs. New York Jets 4.2.3
      • Week 4 (Sunday September 27, 1981): vs. New England Patriots 4.2.4
      • Week 5 (Sunday October 4, 1981): at New Orleans Saints 4.2.5
      • Week 6 (Sunday October 11, 1981): vs. Cleveland Browns 4.2.6
      • Week 7 (Sunday October 18, 1981): at Cincinnati Bengals 4.2.7
      • Week 8 (Monday October 26, 1981): vs. Houston Oilers 4.2.8
      • Week 9 (Sunday November 1, 1981): vs. San Francisco 49ers 4.2.9
      • Week 10 (Sunday November 8, 1981): at Seattle Seahawks 4.2.10
      • Week 11 (Sunday November 15, 1981): at Atlanta Falcons 4.2.11
      • Week 12 (Sunday November 22, 1981): at Cleveland Browns 4.2.12
      • Week 13 (Sunday November 29, 1981): vs. Los Angeles Rams 4.2.13
      • Week 14 (Monday December 7, 1981): at Oakland Raiders 4.2.14
      • Week 15 (Sunday December 13, 1981): vs. Cincinnati Bengals 4.2.15
      • Week 16 (Sunday December 20, 1981): at Houston Oilers 4.2.16
    • Standings 4.3
  • References 5

Personnel

Staff

Roster

Offseason

Pre-Season

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Location Time (ET) TV Result Record
1 Sat. Aug. 8 at Cleveland Browns Cleveland Municipal Stadium Unknown WIIC W 34–31 1–0
2 Sat. Aug. 15 at Philadelphia Eagles Veterans Stadium Unknown WIIC L 36–20 1–1
3 Sat. Aug. 22 at Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium Unknown WIIC L 24–14 1–2
4 Sat. Aug. 29 New York Giants Three Rivers Stadium Unknown WIIC W 31–6 2–2

Regular season

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Location Time (ET) TV Result Record
1 Sun. Sep. 6 Kansas City Chiefs Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 37–33 0–1
2 Thu. Sep. 10 at Miami Dolphins Miami Orange Bowl 8:30 pm ABC L 30–10 0–2
3 Sun. Sep. 20 New York Jets Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 38–10 1–2
4 Sun. Sep. 27 New England Patriots Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 27–21 OT 2–2
5 Sun. Oct. 4 at New Orleans Saints Louisiana Superdome 2:00 pm NBC W 20–6 3–2
6 Sun. Oct. 11 Cleveland Browns Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 13–7 4–2
7 Sun. Oct. 18 at Cincinnati Bengals Riverfront Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 34–7 4–3
8 Mon. Oct. 26 Houston Oilers Three Rivers Stadium 9:00 pm ABC W 26–13 5–3
9 Sun. Nov. 1 San Francisco 49ers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm CBS L 17–14 5–4
10 Sun. Nov. 8 at Seattle Seahawks Kingdome 4:00 pm NBC L 24–21 5–5
11 Sun. Nov. 15 at Atlanta Falcons Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 34–20 6–5
12 Sun. Nov. 22 at Cleveland Browns Cleveland Municipal Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 32–10 7–5
13 Sun. Nov. 29 Los Angeles Rams Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm CBS W 24–0 8–5
14 Mon. Dec. 7 at Oakland Raiders Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 9:00 pm ABC L 30–27 8–6
15 Sun. Dec. 13 Cincinnati Bengals Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 17–10 8–7
16 Sun. Dec. 20 at Houston Oilers Astrodome 1:00 pm NBC L 21–20 8–8

Game summaries

Week 1 (Sunday September 6, 1981): vs. Kansas City Chiefs

1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 10 3 10 14 37
Steelers 6 13 7 7 33

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 53,305
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Swann 18 pass from Bradshaw (kick failed)
  • Kansas City – Marshall 48 pass from Kenney (Lowery kick)
  • Kansas City – FG Lowery 35
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 7 run (kick failed)
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 1 run (Trout kick)
  • Kansas City – FG Lowery 40
  • Kansas City – Carson 53 pass from Kenney (Lowery kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Hawthorne 1 run (Trout kick)
  • Kansas City – FG Lowery 42
  • Kansas City – McKnight 3 run (Lowery kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Smith 41 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)
  • Kansas City – Howard 65 fumble return (Lowery kick)

Week 2 (Thursday September 10, 1981): at Miami Dolphins

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 7 0 0 10
Dolphins 0 13 14 3 30

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Trout 23
  • Miami – Woodley 1 run (kick failed)
  • Miami – Franklin 1 run (von Schamann kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Smith 32 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)
  • Miami – Nathan 13 pass from Woodley (von Schamann kick)
  • Miami – Vigorito 87 punt return (von Schamann kick)
  • Miami – FG von Schamann 32

Week 3 (Sunday September 20, 1981): vs. New York Jets

1 2 3 4 Total
Jets 0 3 0 7 10
Steelers 7 10 14 7 38

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Davis 9 run (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Trout 25
  • Pittsburgh – Pollard 23 run (Trout kick)
  • New York Jets – FG Leahy 47
  • Pittsburgh – Bradshaw 1 run (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Pollard 1 run (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Thornton 1 run (Trout kick)
  • New York Jets – McNeil 17 pass from Ryan (Leahy kick)

Week 4 (Sunday September 27, 1981): vs. New England Patriots

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Patriots 0 7 0 14 0 21
Steelers 7 7 7 0 6 27

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 53,344
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Harris 1 run (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Cunningham 1 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)
  • New England – Cavanaugh 1 run (Smith kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 1 run (Trout kick)
  • New England – Collins 10 run (Smith kick)
  • New England – Morgan 12 pass from Cavanaugh (Smith kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Swann 24 pass from Bradshaw

Week 5 (Sunday October 4, 1981): at New Orleans Saints

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 6 0 7 20
Saints 0 3 3 0 6

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Game time: 2:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: Dome
  • Game attendance: 64,578
  • Referee: Jerry Seeman
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Sam Nover (play by play), Harmon Wages (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 6 (Sunday October 11, 1981): vs. Cleveland Browns

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 0 7 0 0 7
Steelers 7 3 0 3 13

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 53,255
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Don Criqui (play by play), John Brodie (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 7 (Sunday October 18, 1981): at Cincinnati Bengals

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7
Bengals 10 3 14 7 34

at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Scoring Drives:

  • Cincinnati – FG Breech 27
  • Cincinnati – Johnson 3 run (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – FG Breech 23
  • Cincinnati – Verser 73 pass from Ken Anderson (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Alexander 3 run (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Johnson 5 pass from Ken Anderson (Breech kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Smith 17 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)

Week 8 (Monday October 26, 1981): vs. Houston Oilers

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 0 3 0 10 13
Steelers 10 3 0 13 26

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

Week 9 (Sunday November 1, 1981): vs. San Francisco 49ers

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 0 10 0 7 17
Steelers 0 0 14 0 14

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 52,878
  • Referee: Bob Frederic
  • TV announcers: (CBS) Vin Scully (play by play), Hank Stram (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • San Francisco – Young 5 pass from Montana (Wersching kick)
  • San Francisco – FG Wersching 45
  • Pittsburgh – Blount 50 interception return (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Smith 22 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)
  • San Francisco – Easley 1 run (Wersching kick)

Week 10 (Sunday November 8, 1981): at Seattle Seahawks

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 14 0 0 21
Seahawks 3 7 0 14 24

at The Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

  • Game time: 4:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: Dome
  • Game attendance: 59,058
  • Referee: Dick Jorgensen
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Marv Albert (play by play), Jim Turner (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Harris 6 run (Trout kick)
  • Seattle – FG Herrera 37
  • Pittsburgh – Malone 90 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Thornton 4 run (Trout kick)
  • Seattle – Doornink 44 pass from Zorn (Herrera kick)
  • Seattle – T. Brown 1 run (Herrera kick)
  • Seattle – T. Brown 1 run (Herrera kick)

Week 11 (Sunday November 15, 1981): at Atlanta Falcons

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 7 13 7 34
Falcons 0 7 3 10 20

at Atlanta, Georgia

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 57,485
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 12 (Sunday November 22, 1981): at Cleveland Browns

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 12 0 6 14 32
Browns 3 7 0 0 10

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 77,958
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Don Criqui (play by play), John Brodie (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Cleveland – FG Bahr 33
  • Pittsburgh – Hawthorne 1 run (kick failed)
  • Pittsburgh – Thornton 3 run (kick failed)
  • Cleveland – Logan 13 pass from Sipe (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 2 run (kick failed)
  • Pittsburgh – Pinney 1 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Moser 5 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)

Week 13 (Sunday November 29, 1981): vs. Los Angeles Rams

1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 0 0 0 0 0
Steelers 7 14 3 0 24

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 51,854
  • Referee: Tom Dooley
  • TV announcers: (CBS) Vin Scully (play by play), Hank Stram (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 14 (Monday December 7, 1981): at Oakland Raiders

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 7 6 7 27
Raiders 0 7 7 16 30

at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Cunningham 5 pass from Bradshaw (Trout kick)
  • Oakland – Ramsey 25 pass from Wilson (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Smith 19 pass from Malone (Trout kick)
  • Oakland – Whittington 17 pass from Wilson (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Malone 11 run (kick failed)
  • Oakland – Chandler 36 pass from Wilson (kick failed)
  • Oakland – Watts 53 punt return (Bahr kick)
  • Oakland – FG Bahr 29
  • Pittsburgh – Smith 17 pass from Malone (Trout kick)

Week 15 (Sunday December 13, 1981): vs. Cincinnati Bengals

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 10 7 0 17
Steelers 0 3 0 7 10

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,623
  • Referee: Red Cashion
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Sam Nover (play by play), Dave Rowe (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Trout 48
  • Cincinnati – FG Breech 38
  • Cincinnati – Curtis 2 pass from Ken Anderson (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Kreider 22 pass from Ken Anderson (Breech kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 2 pass from Malone (Trout kick)

Week 16 (Sunday December 20, 1981): at Houston Oilers

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 3 14 0 20
Oilers 7 7 0 7 21

at Astrodome, Houston, Texas

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Trout 40
  • Houston – Casper 15 pass from Neilsen (Fritsch kick)
  • Houston – Casper 23 pass from Neilsen (Fritsch kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Trout 37
  • Pittsburgh – Thornton 17 run (Trout kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Malone 2 run (Trout kick)
  • Houston – Casper 16 pass from Neilsen (Fritsch kick)

Standings

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
Cincinnati Bengals(1) 12 4 0 .750 4–2 10–2 421 304
Pittsburgh Steelers 8 8 0 .500 3–3 5–7 356 297
Houston Oilers 7 9 0 .438 4–2 6–6 281 355
Cleveland Browns 5 11 0 .313 1–5 2–10 276 375

References

1. Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide 1982

  1. ^ 1981 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  2. ^ 1981 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  3. ^ 1982 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  4. ^ "http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/1981_roster.htm". 
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