A look at the Steelers' first Super Bowl

| Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010

A weekly glance at the 1974 season, the first time the Steelers went on to lift the Lombardi Trophy:

Penn State goes Cotton picking

Penn State and ninth-year coach Joe Paterno concluded a 10-2 season with a 41-20 victory over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Baylor was an unlikely opponent, considering it was the Bears' first Southwest Conference title in 50 years. Yet, Baylor jumped to a 7-3 halftime lead before Penn State pulled off its sixth come-from-behind win of the season. Tom Donchez's 1-yard run put the Nittany Lions ahead for the first time. After Baylor regained the lead, Tom Shuman threw a 49-yard TD pass to freshman Jimmy Cefalo for a 17-14 advantage. Penn State poured on 24 points in the fourth quarter, including a scoring run by Cefalo, to pull out the win. Shuman completed 10 passes — all to either Donchez, Cefalo or Dan Natale — but had 226 yards in the air. Donchez rushed for 116 yards and had 50 receiving. Cefalo had 102 receiving yards.

Wheels are spinning

A new game show debuted on NBC called Wheel of Fortune. The daytime show featured host Chuck Woolery and letter-turner Susan Stafford. The show continued to run in the afternoon until 1983 when it was syndicated. Woolery remained host until getting into a contract dispute with creator Merv Griffin in December 1981, when he was replaced by Pat Sajack. Stafford was the hostest until October 1982 when she left the show and was replaced by Vanna White. The show remains the longest-running syndicated game show in American television history and second-longest network or syndicated game show after The Price is Right.

This week in 1975

• Lindsey Buckingham and Steve Nicks joined the band Fleetwood Mac

• Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds spent the first of two weeks atop the Billboard charts

• The national unemployment rate soared to 7.1 percent, the highest figure in 13 years

• Pitcher Don Wilson of the Houston Astros died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning

What the Steelers did

The Steelers were enjoying their bye week before heading to New Orleans for a Jan. 12 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX. Predicted Oakland Raiders coach John Madden: "It will be a defensive battle. If it goes into overtime, they may play for a week." The Vikings were in the Super Bowl for the second year in a row and third time overall. The Steelers, of course, were the losingest franchise over the previous 40 years and were making their first appearance. Sports Illustrated predicted the key to the game would be how Vikings veteran quarterback Fran Tarkenton handled the Steel Curtain pass rush. The Vikings, though, averaged three more years of experience in their starting lineup than did the Steelers.

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