The 21-17 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X represented the proudest moment of Hall of Famer Jack Ham’s career.
Not the singular win over the Cowboys – but the achievement of the Steelers winning back-to-back Super Bowls. And that’s what we’ll discuss with Ham today on the Talk of Fame Network’s “5 Games” podcast series. We’ve already visited with Jack about the Immaculate Reception game, the 1974 AFC championship game against the Oakland Raiders and the 1975 Super Bowl against the Minnesota Vikings.
In winning those Super Bowls over the Vikings and Cowboys, the Steelers joined the Lombardi Packers the Shula Dolphins as the only teams to win consecutive Super Bowls in the game’s first 10 years. The Steelers were aware of the challenge they faced heading into that 1976 season – Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll made sure of that.
“I think Chuck Noll set the tone in training camp after coming back,” Ham said. “You can imagine all these guys getting endorsements and making public appearances in the offseason after our Super Bowl win.
“But Chuck Noll, in our first meeting of training camp in Latrobe, said, `You know guys, you can take those Super Bowl rings off your fingers now and put them on the shelf because there’s not a thing you did last year that is going to win you a job no this football team this year. You’re the only team that has a chance to repeat. And you know what? If you guys can take this as one helluva challenge because every team that you play, when you’re watching tape of their previous games -- they’re not going to play like that against you. There’s going to be a star on their schedule when they play Pittsburgh and you’re going to get everybody’s best game and best shot. If you understand that and take this challenge on, you guys have the opportunity to do this again.”
The Steelers blew through the regular season with a 12-2 record to win the AFC Central, then eliminated Baltimore and Oakland with AFC playoff victories to earn that date with Dallas. The Steelers trailed the Cowboys 10-7 through three quarters before rallying for 14 fourth-quarter points to claim that second consecutive Lombardi Trophy.
“I think of all the things in my career, I am most proud of the fact we won back-to-back twice (also 1978-79),” said Ham, a member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team. “No one can say you snuck up on people, you got lucky one year, injuries...whatever the case. When you do it back-to-back like that, I think that’s really something special and I take a lot of pride in that.”
Ham also talked about the challenge of facing Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach in that Super Bowl, the game played by Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann that earned him Super Bowl MVP honors plus the frantic final minutes of that game.
In the final podcast of our “5 Games” with Jack Ham, we’ll discuss the 1979 Super Bowl victory over the Cowboys. Subscribe to our podcast and listen for free at @ iTunes or VokalNow.com