The Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers are two of the most historically dominant teams in NFL history. When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, the Raiders and Steelers began a bitter and impactful rivalry that determined many AFC and Super Bowl championships. This Sunday the teams will meet for the twenty first time.
Oakland currently holds a 11-9 series advantage against the Steelers after their 34-31 win last season. The rivalry started in the 1972 Divisional Playoffs when the Steelers defeated the Raiders 13-7 on what would be known as the Immaculate Reception. Trailing 6-0 in the fourth quarter, the Raiders took the lead on a 30 yard Ken Stabler touchdown run. Now leading 7-6 with 22 seconds to play, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw bombed a pass into the middle of the field. Raiders Hall of Fame safety Jack Tatum deflected the ball which was caught by running back Franco Harris and taken 60 yards for a game winning Pittsburgh touchdown. Raiders' fans to this day believe the ball hit the ground.
The next season in 1973, the Raiders got revenge with a 33-14 Divisional Playoff win. Led by four George Blanda field goals and two one yard Marv Hubbard touchdown runs, Oakland prevailed.
In 1974 and 1975, the Steelers beat the Raiders in the AFC Championship games and went on to win both Super Bowls. The following year in 1976, the Raiders avenged the Steelers by winning the AFC Championship matchup behind two Ken Stabler touchdown passes. Oakland would go on to finish the season with their first Super Bowl victory.
The rivalry had grown so heated at this point Al Davis tried to sue Pittsburgh coach Chuck Knoll for libel after Knoll called safety George Atkinson a criminal. Knoll tried to sue their Raiders for their aggressive and rough play. In the season opener in 1976, the Raiders clothes lined Lynn Swann knocking him out for two weeks.
Oakland and Pittsburgh met one more time in the 1983 Divisional Playoffs. The Raiders came away with the 38-10 victory. Running back Marcus Allen rushed just 13 times for 121 yards and two scores. Oakland would go on to win their third Super Bowl that season.
With the Raiders three Super Bowls and the Steelers six, both teams have cemented their place among the NFL's greatest organizations. The teams have split six all-time playoff meetings, each winning three.
This season the Raiders and Steelers will meet with identical 2-4 records. Pittsburgh got off to a slow start, but have won two in a row since their bye week. The Raiders are looking to come out of their bye healthier and improved from their toughest defeat of the season to the Kansas City Chiefs.
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