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Football in the 70s

In the 1970s, it was very clear to most sports aficionados that professional football had become the top spectator sport in the country.

Part of the reason was television. Monday Night Football made its debut on ABC in 1970, combining football and entertainment for the first time.

Thanks to personable commentators that made the game even more fun to watch, including Howard Cossell, Don Meredith, Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford, and a host of others.

The Super Bowl soon became the most anticipated sporting event of the year and an excuse to hang out with pals who loved the game as much as you did.

In the late 1960s, the AFL and NFL merged, forming the NFC and AFC but keeping the title National Football League. At this point, each conference had 13 teams spread all over the country. Some were more notable then others.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, for example, won the Super Bowl four times between 1975 and 1980. The Miami Dolphins took the title in 1973 and 1974 and the Dallas Cowboys nabbed the top spot in 1972 and 1978.

As a matter of fact, the Steelers and Cowboys developed a very fierce rivalry during the decade – one that would be unmatched in years to come.

A lot of the fuss about football was generated thanks to the NFL. In the early 1970s, the NFL looked for a way to maintain public interest in the game, so they chose to bring the hash marks in closer to the center of the field, allowing offensive players more room to throw long passes.

As a result, scoring was increased and so was the running game of some of the sport’s top players.

In the 1972 season, for example, ten players had gained at least 1,000 yards in one season.

Notable names in 1970s football included:

  • Roger Staubach – Dallas Cowboys
  • Terry Bradshaw – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Lynn Swann – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Franco Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Drew Pearson – Dallas Cowboys
  • Harold Carmichael – Philadelphia Eagles
  • Dave Casper – Oakland Raiders
  • Art Shell – Oakland Raiders
  • Ron Yary – Minnesota Vikings
  • Larry Little – Miami Dolphins
  • Jack Youngblood – L.A. Rams
  • L.C. Greenwood – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Joe Greene – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Merlin Olsen – L.A. Rams
  • Dick Butkus – Chicago Bears
  • Willie Brown – Oakland Raiders
  • Jimmy Johnson – San Francisco 49ers
  • Ted Hendricks – Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers
  • Cliff Harris – Dallas Cowboys