This is part of a series of sports history articles celebrating the best in 1979 sports. This piece asks the question of which geographic fan base had the best year in ’79
The city of Pittsburgh was already riding high in the early part of 1979. In January of that year the Steelers became the first NFL team to win three Super Bowls, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 35-31. The baseball Pirates had contended to the season’s penultimate day the previous fall and were one of the National League’s model franchises in the 1970s.
Little did the good people of Pittsburgh know that even better times were still ahead and it would be the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers leading the way.
The Pirates, led by charismatic first baseman Willie Stargell, and inspired by the song “We Are Family”, chased down the Montreal Expos to win the old NL East, beat the Cincinnati Reds to win the National League Championship Series and then became the last team to date to win the final two games of the World Series on the road, in rallying to beat the Baltimore Orioles.
Western Pennsylvania is ultimately about football though, and a baseball championship, while heartening, takes a back seat to football. The Steelers went 12-4, defeated the Miami Dolphins and Houston Oilers in the AFC playoffs and then held off a feisty underdog in the Los Angeles Rams to win their fourth Super Bowl.
It wasn’t a bad year all the way around in Steel City sports. The NHL Penguins made the playoffs and reached the quarterfinals. Pitt broke in a freshman quarterback named Dan Marino, won ten games and capped it off with Christmas Day Fiesta Bowl win. But no one did for the city of Pittsburgh what the Pirates and Steelers did in that glorious year of 1979 that marked the city as “Titletown.”
Read more about the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
Read more about the 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers