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On This Day: Steelers Secured Legendary 1974 NFL Draft Class



Lynn Swann

The Pittsburgh Steelers are celebrating the 48th anniversary of the 1974 Draft Class, where the team drafted four Pro Football Hall of Famers in the first five rounds.

The players drafted, wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, linebacker Jack Lambert and center Mike Webster, were incredibly important for the Steelers’ four Super Bowls in the 1970s.

Swann recorded 336 receptions for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns from 1974-82, which puts him at sixth best in receptions and receiving yards and fourth best in receiving touchdowns in Steelers history.

Swann’s acrobatic and incredible catches in the Super Bowl are what he is recognized for. In Super Bowl X, Swann made his famous “levitating leap” where he twisted and moved his body to make an amazing catch off a deflection from Dallas Cowboys cornerback, Mark Washington.

He also made the “kangaroo catch” in the same game, where he jumped over Washington to make a toe-tipping 32-yard reception.

Swann would win the Super Bowl MVP for his efforts, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award. In the last three Super Bowls the Steelers won in the 1970s, Swann caught a touchdown pass and averaged 121.3 receiving yards in each game.

He was a First Team All-Pro in 1978, a Second Team All-Pro in 1975 and 1977, a three-time Pro Bowler in 1975, 1977 and 1978 and is a part of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team.

Stallworth recorded 537 receptions for 8,723 yards and 63 touchdowns from 1974-1987, which puts him third best for receiving touchdowns and receiving yards and fourth best in receptions in Steelers history.

Stallworth would combine with Swann to make an impressive receiving duo during the Steelers’ Super Bowl runs, and like Swann, made incredibly important catches for the team. A 73-yard touchdown catch by Stallworth in Super Bowl XIV was the go-ahead score and was even more impressive as Stallworth had to make the reception on his other shoulder.

In Super Bowl XIII against the Cowboys, Stallworth caught three pass for 115 yards and two touchdowns. The 75-yard touchdown catch tied the record for longest touchdown pass at the time.

Stallworth made the First Team All-Pro in 1979, the Second Team All-Pro in 1984, and the Pro Bowl in 1979, 1982, and 1984 and was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1984.

Lambert was one of the most feared defensive players of his generation and considered one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game, playing a big part in the great Steelers defense known as the Steel Curtain. During his career, 1974-84, he was defensive captain for eight years and prior to his final season, only missed six career games.

He was NFL Rookie of the Year in 1974, NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1976, six-time First Team All-Pro in 1976 and from 1979-83, a two-time Second Team All-Pro in 1975 and 1978 and a nine-time Pro Bowler from 1975-1983. He also is featured on the NFL 1970s and 1980s All Decade Teams and was placed on the NFL 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.

Since sacks and tackles were not officially recorded stats during most or all of his playing career, Lambert does not rank high on these lists as a Steeler. He did record 17 fumbles recovered, seventh best overall and the fourth best defender in Steelers history, and made 28 interceptions, 10th in Steelers history.

Webster was the Steelers center from 1974-88  led the offensive line throughout their four Super Bowls and is considered by many to be the greatest center of all-time.

Webster was a seven-time First-Team All-Pro from 1978-84 and was a nine-time Pro Bowler from 1978-85 and 1987. Like Lambert, he is also on the NFL 1970s and 1980s All Decade Teams and the NFL 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.

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