Or, as many as the Steelers had in alone. Every decision they made seemed like the wrong one. They cut future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas. They kept the single-wing formation until They traded their first-round pick to the Chicago Bears, who used it to draft linebacker Dick Butkus.
The Steelers made 15 coaching changes from to , including firing Johnny "Blood" McNally for missing a team train due to a hangover.
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McNally's alcohol consumption was legendary. He quit drinking in , explaining to the New York Times , ''I thought I saw King Arthur's Court, and walked through a plate glass window to get there. The Rooneys finally got the coach right in , hiring a former undersized Browns guard in Chuck Noll. The Steelers already had beefed up their scouting department, headed by Rooney Jr. They also added Billy Nunn, a former college basketball standout, to their staff.
Nunn had been a newspaper editor who picked All-American teams from historically black colleges. Because Noll was such a good teacher, the Steelers believed they could take chances on talented players who might be behind the learning curve. They won their first playoff game in on the Immaculate Reception and by the end of the following season had five future Hall-of-Famers on the roster. As the draft beckoned, the organization knew it was only a few pieces away from a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Sherk, a Pro Bowl defensive lineman, was a rarity for the Browns in the early s — a high pick who delivered on his promise. The Browns lost the NFL title game in — the last two pre-merger seasons — and qualified for the playoffs in In the s, the Steelers hit on small-college prospects like Dwight White, while the Browns whiffed on first-round picks such as Mike Phipps. Attempts to trade veterans for first-round picks failed miserably in the form of quarterback Mike Phipps and receiver Steve Holden.
In an effort to buoy their run, the Browns made three deals over the course of and for veteran players that would doom their draft. They traded their first-round pick and second-rounder to San Diego for a veteran linebacker Bob Babich with bad knees. They moved their third-round pick to Denver for a year-old backup quarterback Don Horn whose career in Cleveland consisted of eight passes. They sent their fourth-round pick to Oakland for a receiver Gloster Richardson who made 22 catches over three seasons.
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In the era before the NFL required your undivided attention 12 months a year, the draft was held in January. There were no mock drafts. There was no ESPN or major network clamoring to televise the draft. How have times changed? Not a single quarterback was chosen in the first two rounds. The draft is considered one of the worst in franchise history. Cleveland had previously traded away its first-, third- and fourth-round picks.
The Cowboys also owned the No. Noll was so sold on Stallworth, he considered taking him with the No. Right before the draft, he ran the 40 again and shaved a tenth or two off his time. He made one start in five appearances his second season, completing 20 0f 60 passes for yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
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The strike that opened the NFL season created an opportunity for Gilliam, who crossed the picket line and started all six exhibition games for the Steelers. Being the first black opening-day starter in the NFL was historic, but you would have never known it by asking the Pittsburgh players at the time. It was a matter of who was ready to step in and play in that particular week. And I bet he had never seen a black guy who could throw and play like I could.
That drastic shift in offense might have been too much for some fans, as Gilliam said he began to get so much hate mail that he had to move his wife and daughter back to Nashville. He threw for just 78 yards, completing 5 of 18 passes. Gilliam claims the benching led him to drugs.
He did earn two rings as the Steelers won back-to-back titles in and , which was his last season. He had tryouts with the Saints and was cut twice. He was arrested multiple times on drug charges and played on several semipro teams and the USFL. Bob Costas caught up with Gilliam for a segment that aired during the Super Bowl. And he was the quarterback.
I know it. He knows it. In May , Gentry had a scheduled work trip from Nashville to Louisville where he was hosting a sports radio show on the grounds of the Kentucky Derby and asked his best friend, Gilliam, to come along. Gilliam at first agreed. But when Gentry went to pick him up, he changed his mind.
But I made him go. Gilliam complained during the four-hour drive. The U. Tuesday was the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest soccer goals in U. With once prevalent baseball card shops having been shuttered, collectors hit the road to build inventory that is now sold online. A lifetime of mental health issues put the boxer in a near suicidal depression after he defeated Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA heavyweight championship in South Point arena director Steve Stallworth, who worked for and with myriad Las Vegas sports teams, was instrumental in bringing big-time college basketball to town.
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