The 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers season was capped off with a 10-3-1 record and the Super Bowl IX championship. The '74 team became the first team in Steelers history (42 seasons) to win a league title following one of the franchise's greatest playoff runs ever. After the hiring of head coach Chuck Noll in 1969, Noll signed Defensive Tackle #75 Joe Greene. He then signed Quarterback #12 Terry Bradshaw in 1970. Linebacker #59 Jack Ham and Cornerback #47 Mel Blount arrived in 1971. And in 1972, the Steelers signed a fullback from nearby Penn. State in Franco Harris. By 1973, Joe Greene was flanked on the line by Dwight White, Ernie Holmes, and L.C. Greenwood. In the 1974 draft, the Steelers took no time in signing some more talent for the team. Wide Receiver #88 Lynn Swann and #82 John Stallworth, Linebacker Jack Lambert, and Center Mike Webster all became future hall of famers.
After 2 playoff appearances, the Steelers appeared to be in great shape after finishing the preseason as the only undefeated team in the NFL. After two straight games, the Steelers scored over 50 points and were 1-0-1. However, the Steelers couldn't beat the Raiders at home. Steelers starting quarterback at the time, Joe Gilliam's play continually deteriorated. By Week 7, the Steelers were 4-1-1 and Gilliam was benched for Terry Bradshaw during a win against the Falcons. Bradshaw won the next two games, but after a loss in Cincinnati, Noll benched Bradshaw again. This time he was benched in favor of Terry Hanratty (who was selected in the 1969 Draft). Hanratty however, played horribly in Cleveland. The offense was in a struggle, but the Steelers had won those tough games behind the still maturing Steel Curtain defense. When Bradshaw was brought back into the lineup, the Steelers beat the Browns and the Saints (a game that Bradshaw ran more than he passed). After a loss to Houston, the Steelers would play the most important game of the season in New England. With a win against the Patriots, the Steelers would clinch the AFC Central and appear in their third straight playoff appearance. But they didn't have to worry. The Steelers dominated them and then beat the Bengals and awaited the playoffs.
In the Divisional Round Playoff Game, the Steelers would play the Bills, a team that had beaten them the last time they played with an O.J. Simpson running attack. However, the Steelers would dominate Buffalo and hold O.J. Simpson to 49 yards rushing (it was O.J.'s only playoff game appearance).
In the 1974 AFC Championship Game, the Steelers would play an old foe, the Raiders. Each year, the rivalry was escalating: in 1972, the Steelers won in Pittsburgh; in 1973, the Raiders returned the favor in Oakland. However, the Steelers were ready for anything the Raiders could throw at them. Using the new "Stunt 4-3 defense" the Steelers held the Raiders to 29 yards rushing as the Steelers themselves ran for over 200 yards in Oakland. After a Franco Harris touchdown run, the Steelers clinched their first Super Bowl appearance in club history (and their first league championship appearance).
In Super Bowl IX, the Steelers and the Vikings had a hard time in the rough conditions at old Tulane Stadium. After many exchanges of punts, the Steelers finally scored a safety on a bobbled handoff by Fran Tarkenton. The score at the half was 2–0. The Steel Curtain continually dominated the Vikings. While coach Bud Grant tried to run at the strength of the Steel Curtain, they were shut down. The only points Minnesota managed to squeeze off was a blocked punt (the extra point was blocked). After the MVP performance by Franco Harris, the Steelers came away with a 16-6 victory over the Vikings. It was the first league title in Steelers history.
During the offseason, the Steelers held their training camp in St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
During the 1974 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers would draft WR Lynn Swann in Round 1, LB Jack Lambert in Round 2, WR John Stallworth in Round 4, and C Mike Webster in Round 5. All four would later be inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. By 2014, the 1974 Steelers are the only team in history to select four such players in one single draft alone.
In the 1974 Preseason, the Steelers became 6-0 and were the only undefeated team in the NFL. However, most of the talk was centered around the NFL's first successful black quarterback, Joe Gilliam. Chuck Noll did start Gilliam in the preseason and after it ended, Chuck Noll would start him for the 1974 season. Gilliam's stellar performance in the '74 preseason did however spark the quarterback controversy in Pittsburgh.#75 Joe Greene, National Football League Defensive Player of the Year Award
#32 Franco Harris, Super Bowl Most Valuable Player
Most Hall of Famers selected in one draft
#58 Jack Lambert, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
#88 Lynn Swann leader in punt return yards (577)