Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Jan. 20, 1980: During Super Bowl XIV, Lynn Swann catches a 47-yard touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw, giving the Steelers a 17-13 lead in the third quarter. Defending are the Rams' Pat Thomas, left, and Nolan Cromwell. This image was The Times' Page 1 lead art the day after the game.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times

Jan. 20, 1980: In Super Bowl XIV, the Rams' Wendell Tyler breaks loose for a 39-yard run in the first quarter. The Steelers' Donnie Shell (right, being blocked by Billy Waddy) caught up with Tyler at the 14-yard line. The run led to the Rams' first touchdown. Behind Tyler is Kent Hill (72).

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times

Jan. 20, 1980: In Super Bowl XIV, Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo hands off to Cullen Bryant as Dennis Harrah blocks Pittsburgh's Joe Greene.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Martha Hartnett / Los Angeles Times

Jan. 20, 1980: In Super Bowl XIV, Steelers defensive back J.T. Thomas wrestles Wendell Tyler to the turf, stopping the Rams' running back after a short gain in the second quarter.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Rose / Los Angeles Times

Jan. 20, 1980: In Super Bowl XIV, Rams tight ends Charle Young (86) and Terry Nelson (83) signal a touchdown after Cullen Bryant's one-yard scoring run in the first quarter.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Rose / Los Angeles Times

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Jan. 20, 1980: The heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers were expected to easily roll over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV. The Rams, with a 9-7 regular-season record, had entered the playoffs as the NFC West champion team.

But the game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena,  turned out to be a classic. The lead changed hands seven times. The Rams led at halftime, 13-10, and at the start of fourth quarter,  19-17. Two fourth-quarter Steelers touchdowns gave Pittsburgh a 31-19 victory.

Afterward, Times sports columnist Jim Murray wrote:

The outcome was as predictable as San Diego weather. Pittsburgh Steelers always win Super Bowl games. They’re getting monotonous. But they must have thought somebody else showed up in Ram uniforms. These were no Hollywood sisses, no college of profiles, no rhinestone cowboys, no Sunset-and-Vine lilacs waiting for their big break in pictures, no guys bucking for a screen test. The Rams didn’t show up with mirrors or makeup men, they were a scratching, scrambling, stubborn, socking team of alley fighters, swarmers spoiling for a scrap.

They came into the game with a rookie at quarterback, their best player playing on a broken leg and a 9-7 record and a team that scored only 323 points and gave up 309. They shouldn’t even have been able to get tickets. The first 50-0 game in Super Bowl history was freely predicted, indeed, expected.

The Steelers’ victory was their fourth Super Bowl win in six years.

[Updated at 9:45 am: Earlier reference to wild card team removed. Rams won the NFC West with a 9-7 record.]

For more check out this Feb. 1, 2016 story by Mike DiGiovanna: The 1979 L.A. Rams recall their unlikely run to Super Bowl.

7 Comments

  1. February 3, 2011, 9:13 am

    The Rams were not the wild card team, LA Times. They won the NFC West that year.

    By: Brian
  2. February 3, 2011, 12:47 pm

    The game was closer than the final score shows. Vince Ferragamo was driving the Rams downfield for the go ahead TD late in the 4th. Jack Lambert picked him off in the red zone to halt the drive. A few plays later, Terry Bradshaw hit John Stallworth with a 50 yard TD pass to put the game away.

    By: Kim
  3. February 3, 2011, 12:51 pm

    The game was closer than the final score shows. Rams QB Vince Ferragamo was driving the Rams downfield for the go ahead TD late in the 4th. Steelers middle LB Jack Lambert picked him off in the red zone to halt the drive. A few plays later Terry Bradshaw hit John Stallworth for a 50 yard TD to put the game away.

    By: Kim
  4. February 3, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I'm still in therapy due to the LOS ANGELES Rams losing that game

    By: mac18crow@yahooo.com
  5. February 3, 2011, 4:49 pm

    I still have a copy of the program that is incased in a frame. Oh, how I miss my Los Angeles Rams and their OLD uniforms.

    By: mac18crow@yahoo.com
  6. February 3, 2011, 5:38 pm

    if the nfl returns, let it be with the rams. that was my team…

    By: tim chaney
  7. February 4, 2011, 6:29 am

    The Los Angeles Rams, it sounds so foreign…LA needs a team.

    By: nearlynormalized

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