Rik Schneider Online

Monday, September 10, 2012

NFL Films: The 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers Establish an Air Force to Match the Steel Curtain Defense



Pre 1978 the Pittsburgh Steelers success was based on the shut down Steel Curtain defense, to go with a ball control offense. That would score enough points to win but wouldn't dominate opposing defenses, the rule changes of 1978 changed that, with the new pass protection rules. That allowed Offensive Lineman the ability to extend their arms in pass protection and run blocking, giving them a fair opportunity. To be able to block those strong and quick 260-270 pound Defensive Lineman, like Joe Green of the Steelers and Randy White of the Dallas Cowboys to use as examples. The NFL also put in the Illegal Contact Rule, meaning that defenders could no longer grab and abuse offenders after five yards and that defenders had to play the ball rather then the defender. Before the offender gets the ball, which also benefited the Steelers offense as well, with their vertical passing game, that they could now set up their power running game with. Which meant the Steelers could now score quickly or put together long bone crunching ball control scoring drives. The rule changes made the Steelers more flexible on offense, their scoring attack became harder to defend. With the deep threat in the passing game, to complement the power running game.