Throwback Game of the Week

WEEK 3 - Steelers at Eagles

Next Week - Falcons at Panthers

Series Summary | Memorable Games | Hall of Fame Perspective | Odds 'N Ends | Trivia | At the Hall's Throwback Game of the Week Series - Each week during this season, the NFL’s 89th, will reflect on one of the weekend’s matchups. Unlike anywhere on the web, you’ll get inside access to the world’s largest collection on the NFL. The Hall’s archives staff will comb through the millions of documents, artifacts and photos in our collection to help tell the story. The new edition of Throwback Game of the Week will be posted on each Thursday throughout the 2008 NFL season. Enjoy!

Series Summary

This weekend’s schedule includes a matchup of cross-state teams – Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The two clubs have long and storied histories that began in 1933 when the NFL awarded franchises to the cities.

The Eagles enjoyed success earlier with back-to-back world championships in 1948 and 1949 and a third league title in 1960. The Steelers, first known as the Pirates from 1933-39, gained great fame as the team of the decade in the 1970s when Pittsburgh won four Super Bowls in six seasons.

Sunday afternoon’s game in Philly marks the 76th regular season game between the Steelers and Eagles. Philadelphia owns a 45-27-3 advantage in the series and has outscored Pittsburgh, 1,414-1,091 in those games. The Eagles also won the lone playoff game between the two teams, a 21-0 win in the 1947 Eastern Division playoff game.

Photo Galleries - Eagles RBs | Steelers Hall of Famers


Memorable Games

Sept. 16, 1938 – Eagles 27, Steelers 7 (Buffalo)
When the NFL schedule was made for the ’38 season in August, it appeared likely that the baseball Pirates would be playing the World Series in Forbes Field. So, the football Pirates’ schedule had them playing three games in six days – the opener against the Lions in Detroit on Friday night, a home contest against the Giants on Sunday afternoon and then faced the Eagles on Thursday night in Buffalo, NY.

The young Pirates team, led by rookie and future Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White, stayed competitive with the Lions and Giants but ran out of steam during the demanding schedule. The Eagles capitalized and came away with a convincing win.

Justice is served. Future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White played three seasons in the NFL (one with Pittsburgh and two with Detroit). He won a pair of league rushing titles that included one during his rookie season with Pittsburgh in 1938. See pages from the 1939 Spalding Official National Football League Guide that recaps the individual rushers from the ’38 season. PDF (785 KB)>>>


Oct. 19, 1947 – Steelers 35, Eagles 24 (Pittsburgh)
The Steelers scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come away with the win. The Steelers’ QB Johnny Clement scored the game-winner in dramatic fashion when he attempted to pass but then decided to run. He reversed field and scampered 23 yards for the TD to thrill the home crowd.

The Eagles were led by a pair of future Hall of Famers. Steve Van Buren rushed for 133 yards while end Pete Pihos scored a pair of touchdowns.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! See the newspaper account of this thrilling battle at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. PDF (630 KB)>>>


Dec. 11, 1960 – Steelers 27, Eagles 21 (Pittsburgh)
Hall of Fame fullback John Henry Johnson rushed for a pair of touchdowns and threw another as the Steelers ended the Eagles’ nine-game winning streak. Philadelphia had not lost a game since the season opener. Johnson’s scoring plays came on an 87-yard run, a 7-yard TD reception from fellow Hall of Famer Bobby Layne and an 18-yard pass to Buddy Dial.

The Eagles offense was fueled by a pair of Hall of Famers including quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, who ignored the steady snowfall, to throw some long passes. Jurgensen threw a 53-yard TD and then also had a 50-yard pass completion on the Eagles final scoring drive that was capped by a 19-yard TD pass to Hall of Fame end Tommy McDonald.

Get your program. See pages from this Steelers-Eagles matchup in Dec. 1960 PDF (3.05 MB)>>>

HOF Bios: Johnson | Jurgensen | Layne | McDonald


 Nov. 13, 1988 – Eagles 27, Steelers 26 (Pittsburgh)
The Steelers couldn’t hold four leads during the game in part due to two personal foul penalties that kept Eagles TD drives alive. The Eagles attack was led by the running of their leading ground gainer, quarterback Randall Cunningham who scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. Tight end Keith Jackson had a game-high 8 catches for 85 yards.

Pittsburgh wide receiver Louis Lipps racked up 171 yards on six catches and had an 89-yard TD catch. He also threw the game’s first TD pass, a 13-yard scoring strike to RB Merrill Hoge.

Play-by-play. See the official stat account (Gamebook) from the Eagles win. PDF (656 KB)>>>


Hall of Fame Perspective
Mel Blount, Class of 1989

Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount was the third round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970 NFL Draft. Used primarily as a return man early in his career, he quickly blossomed into one of the finest defensive backs of his era.

A five-time Pro Bowler, Blount picked off 57 passes which he returned for 736 yards during his career that spanned from 1970-1983. Perhaps his finest season came in 1975 when he earned Defensive Player of the Year honors after becoming the first Steeler in 30 seasons to lead the league in interceptions.

HOF Bio>>>

Blount’s First Interception for a TD
Blount faced the Eagles just three times during his career (1970, 1974 and 1979). However, he should have good memories of playing the cross-state rival especially the game on Nov. 3, 1974. The Steelers defense pounded Philadelphia and recorded its second shutout of the season, a 27-0 win.

In the third quarter, Blount had what was described as a “dazzling” interception which he returned 52 yards for a touchdown to seal the Steelers win. It was the first of two interceptions that he returned for scores during his career. It also was the longest interception return of his 14-year career.

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Steelers and Eagles Odds 'N Ends

Facing a player shortage during World War II, the Eagles and Steelers franchises merged for one season in 1943 and were known as Phil-Pitt or more commonly, the “Steagles.” The squad finished third in the NFL’s Eastern Division with a 5-4-1 record.

See the decorative program cover from the “Steagles” game against the Green Bay Packers on September 11, 1943. PDF (902 KB)>>>


The Steelers hold the distinction of hiring the first African American assistant coach. In 1957, Art Rooney hired Lowell Perry to serve as a coach for the Steelers. One season earlier as a promising rookie, he suffered what turned out to be career-ending injuries.

African-American Firsts in Pro Football>>>

HOF Bio: Art Rooney>>>

See Perry’s biography from the 1957 Steelers Press Guide that downplays the historical significance of Perry’s hiring. Interestingly, it was long believed that Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell was the first black assistant coach. The fact about Perry was uncovered in the early 1990s by the Hall of Fame research staff.
PDF (581 KB)>>>


The Steelers’ Lou Michaels attempted eight field goals in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on December 2, 1962. The eight attempts were a record at the time. Five years later in another game between Pittsburgh and St. Louis, the Cardinals’ Jim Bakken eclipsed the mark with 9 field goals attempted in his then-record setting 7 field goal game.

A look at Rob Bironas’ eight-field goal day and those who had held the record with seven field goals in a game. More>>>

Lou Michaels followed in the footsteps of his older brother Walt. The Michaels are one of more than 300 sets of brothers who’ve played pro football. See the entire list>>>


The Eagles’ Russ Craft and the Steelers’ Jack Butler are two of 18 players in NFL history ever to have four interceptions in a single game. Craft had his big day in Chicago against the Cardinals on Sept. 24, 1950. Butler’s four picks came on Dec. 13, 1953 in a game against the Washington Redskins.

See the newspaper accounts of the four-interception days by Russ Craft and Jack Butler in the early 1950s. Butler PDF (1.36 MB) | Craft PDF (414 KB)


Future Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant was an end with the Philadelphia Eagles before becoming a Hall of Fame coach. He played just two seasons in the NFL but had some memorable moments during the 1952 season. Four times during that year he had 100 yards receiving in a game that included superlative back-to-back performances late in the year.

Grant had 8 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Cardinals on Nov. 30 and then followed that performance with 11 receptions for 203 yards and 2 TDs against the Dallas Texas on Dec. 7.

Bud Grant's bio in the 1952 Philadelphia Eagles Press Guide PDF (736 KB)>>>.

HOF Bio: Bud Grant>>>

Hall of Fame Coaches & Contributors Who Were Drafted.


Team Histories

Steelers - First known as the Pirates, the team changed its nickname to Steelers in 1940. The franchise struggled for its first 40 years but…More>>>

Eagles – The Eagles were formed in 1933 and gave the fairly young NFL another major city. Philadelphia was at the top of the league…More>>>

Hall of Famers

Name, Position, Year of Induction

Franco Harris rushed for 1,000 yards in a season eight times and was voted to nine Pro Bowls during his career.

The Steelers have 17 long-time members inducted into the Hall of Fame. In addition, five other Hall of Fame members spent part of their careers, albeit brief, with the Steelers.

*Bert Bell, Owner/League Administrator, 1963
Mel Blount, CB, 1989
Terry Bradshaw, QB, 1989
*Len Dawson, QB, 1987
Bill Dudley, HB, 1966
Joe Greene, DT, 1987
Jack Ham, LB, 1988
Franco Harris, RB, 1990
*Cal Hubbard, T, 1963
John Henry Johnson, FB, 1987
Walt Kiesling, G/Coach, 1966
Jack Lambert, LB, 1990 Bobby Layne, QB, 1967
*John “Blood” McNally, HB, 1963
*Marion Motley, FB, 1968
Chuck Noll, Coach, 1993
Art Rooney, Founder/Owner, 1964
Dan Rooney, Owner, 2000
John Stallworth, WR, 2002
Ernie Stautner, DT, 1969
Lynn Swann, WR, 2001
Mike Webster, C, 1997


Steve Van Buren is the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season twice (1947 and 1949).

The Eagles have nine long-time members of their organization who’ve been enshrined in Canton. Eight others spent time with the team but made their major contributions with other clubs.

Chuck Bednarik, C/LB, 1967
Bert Bell, Team Owner/League Administrator, 1963
Bob Brown, T, 2004
*Mike Ditka, TE, 1988
*Bill Hewitt, E, 1971
Sonny Jurgensen, QB, 1983
*James Lofton, WR, 2003
*Ollie Matson, HB, 1972
Tommy McDonald, WR, 1998
*Art Monk, WR, 1995
Earle “Greasy” Neale, Coach, 1969
Pete Pihos, E, 1970
*Jim Ringo, C, 1981
*Norm Van Brocklin, QB, 1971
Steve Van Buren, HB, 1965
Reggie White, DE/DT, 2006
*Alex Wojciechowicz, C/LB, 1968

* Notes that the Hall of Famer spent time with the Steelers or Eagles but made their major contribution to the NFL with another team.

Steelers Trivia Eagles Trivia

1. Which player spent the most seasons in a Steelers uniform?
a. Donnie Shell
b. Joe Greene
c. Andy Russell
d. Mike Webster

2. Who holds the Steelers single-game record for passing yards?
a. Terry Bradshaw
b. Bobby Layne
c. Kordell Stewart
d. Tommy Maddox

3. Which player owns the Steelers mark for receptions in a game?
a. Hines Ward
b. Courtney Hawkins
c. John Stallworth
d. Rocky Bleier

4. Which opponent rushed for the most yards against the Steelers?
a. Fred Taylor
b. O.J. Simpson
c. Steve Van Buren
d. John David Crow

5. Who has the highest field goal percentage in Steelers history?
a. Roy Gerela
b. Norm Johnson
c. Jeff Reed
d. Gary Anderson

1. Which running back holds the team record for yards rushing in a season?
a. Steve Van Buren
b. Wilbert Montgomery
c. Brian Westrbook
d. Ricky Watters

2. Who holds the team record for yards rushing in a game?
a. Steve Van Buren
b. Tom Sullivan
c. Wilbert Montgomery
d. Herschel Walker

3. Which player had the most 100-yard receiving games as a member of the Eagles?
a. Harold Carmichael
b. Tommy McDonald
c. Mike Quick
d. Pete Retzlaff

4. Which player holds the Eagles record for punts downed inside the 20?
a. Randall Cunningham
b. Jeff Feagles
c. Sean Landeta
d. Max Runager

5. Who has the team record for punt return yards in a game?
a. Vai Sikahema
b. Brian Mitchell
c. Brian Westbook
d. Evan Cooper

At the Hall

Many mementos from the Steelers and Eagles are on exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here are two such artifacts enjoyed by visitors to the museum in Canton.

Read the caption under the image below and then take a guess at what you’re looking at. Click on the picture for the full photo and more information on the treasured artifact.

Steelers’ RB Rocky Bleier’s well-known war story from Vietnam.

Chuck Bednarik’s accomplishments in World War II are noted in a special exhibit.

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