Superbowl XIV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams is one of the classic matchups in Superbowl history. This game held on January 20,1980 was before a record crowd of 103,985 in the Rose Bowl and it featured the excitement of five lead changes and the grace of the aerial acrobatics performed by the wide receivers.
The Steelers were led by veteran quarterback Terry Bradshaw and his favorite receiver Lynn Swan, but the real heroe for the Steelers would be John Stallworth. Stallworth had always been the second gun next to Swann, but on this day he was second to none. And although Bradshaw was named game MVP, most consider Stallworth's performance to be the deciding factor.
The Steelers started the game by taking a three to nothing lead early in the game, but after a short kickoff by Matt Bahr the Rams quickly jumped on top seven to three with a one-yard touchdown run by Cullen Bryant. The play was set up by a 39 yard run by Wendell Tyler.
On the ensuing kickoff Larry Anderson returned the kick 45 yards, one of five kickoffs he returned that day for a Superbowl record of 162 yards. With the good field position it only took Bradshaw and the Steelers nine plays to jump back on top. Franco Harris took the ball in from the one-yard line to give Pittsburgh a ten to seven lead.
Before half-time the Rams were able to put two more field goals on the board while keeping the Steelers from scoring any more. At the half the score was Rams 13, Steelers 10, and the Rams seemed to have all the momentum.
When the second half opened up the Pittsburgh Steelers struck quickly on a 47 yard strike from Terry Bradshaw to Lynn Swann putting the Steelers in front again by a score of 17-13. Ram's free safety Nolan Cromwell seemed to have position to pick off the pass or at least tip it, but he miss-timed his leap and the ball sailed over his head into the arms of Swann.
Once again, the lead for the Steelers would not last long. The Rams moved the length of the field and scored another touchdown in only four plays. A 50 yard pass from Ram's quarterback Vince Ferragamo to Billy Waddy moved Los Angeles to the Steeler's 24 yard line. Then with a bit of trickery, Lawrence McCutcheon threw a half back option to wide receiver Ron Smith in the end zone. The Rams were back on top, but a missed extra point made the score 19-17.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter Terry Bradshaw hit John Stallworth with a long touchdown pass that many believe was the turning point in the game and once again put the Steelers ahead. This time the score was 24-19.
With a little over eight minutes remaining the Rams took possession at their own 16 yard line. The Rams worked their way down to the Steeler 32 yard line before a Ferragamo pass was picked off by Steeler's defensive legend Jack Lambert. With about five minutes left the Steelers had the ball, the lead, and the momentum.
Pittsburgh started at their own 30 yard line and on the third play Bradshaw hooked up with Stallworth again, this time for 45 yards. A controversial pass interference call gave the Steelers the ball on the Ram's one-yard line a couple of plays later. After punching the ball in the Steelers were up 31-19 and the score would be the same when the game ended. The Pittsburgh Steelers had beaten the Los Angeles Rams in one of the more memorable and exciting football games of all time.
The Superbowl seldom lives up to the hype that is created by the NFL and the media, but when it does it is a special treat for football fans to see the two best football teams in the world giving everything they have to become Superbowl Champions.