Two of the oldest and most accomplished football franchises meet on Sunday, when the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. They are owned by two of the great families of the NFL -- the Maras and Rooneys -- and have been in the league together since 1933, when Pittsburgh joined the NFL. The Giants hold the all-time series advantage, with a 44-28-3 record. Here's a look at some of the key games between the Giants and Steelers.
The Pittsburgh franchise was called the Pirates for the first seven years of its existence, taking its colors and name from the baseball Pirates. They played their first-ever game against the Giants (wearing those eye-catching striped uniforms that the Steelers wore last week), on Sept. 20, 1933, in Pittsburgh, with the Giants winning, 23-2. Pittsburgh won for the first time the following week, defeating the Chicago Cardinals. The Pirates finished the year with a 3-6-2 mark while the Giants went 11-3 and lost to the Chicago Bears in the NFL Championship Game.
The Giants came out on top the first six times the two teams met, with Pittsburgh finally winning, 10-7, on Sept. 27, 1936. The year Pittsburgh became the Steelers, in 1940, the two teams tied for the first time, playing to a 10-10 deadlock. The Steelers had their first winning record in 1942, their 10th season in the league, and defeated the Giants twice that year.
The biggest blowout of the series occurred in 1952, with the Steelers destroying the Giants, 63-7. New York's only touchdown came on a 55-yard Tom Landry to Bill Stribling connection. The biggest shutout win took place five years later, with the Giants cruising to a 35-0 victory. Three different Giants tossed touchdown passes that afternoon, with Charlie Conerly hitting Bob Schnelker twice, Kyle Rote catching a Frank Gifford pass and Bob Clatterbuck hooking up with Ken MacAfee. The other score came on a 50-yard Jimmy Patton interception return.
Since the 1970 merger, the teams are even with four wins apiece (and Pittsburgh has the most total wins of any team since then). The initial year that the Steelers moved into the newly formed AFC, the teams weren't on each other's schedule, but the following season, Pittsburgh beat the Giants, 17-13. Fran Tarkenton and Terry Bradshaw each threw a touchdown pass, Pete Gogolak kicked two field goals, with Steelers kicker Roy Gerela booting one, and Steeler John Rowser intercepted a Tarkenton pass and ran it back 70 yards for a touchdown (Jack Ham also had an interception in that game).
Not surprisingly, the Steelers were 2-0 vs. the Giants in their golden era of the '70s, while the Giants went 2-0 in '85 and '91. They then alternated wins -- Steelers, Giants, Steelers, with the Giants winning the last time the teams met, on Oct. 26, 2008, at Heinz Field. New York won that day, 21-14, in a defensive battle, with the Giants held to 282 total yards and the Steelers only mustering up 249 total yards. Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger both threw one touchdown pass, but the Steeler quarterback tossed four interceptions. Mewelde Moore scored on a 32-yard run and Nate Washington and Roethlisberger hooked up for a 65-yard touchdown for Pittsburgh's points. John Carney booted four field goals, a Giants safety tied the game and Kevin Boss hauled in a Manning pass to win it.
The Giants and Steelers have played 75 games against each other, yet they've never met in the playoffs. That's probably not that surprising, though, since Pittsburgh only qualified for the postseason one time before the 1970 NFL/AFL merger, which came in 1947 when they were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles, 21-0, after tying for first place in the East Division in the regular season. And, of course, these two tradition-filled NFL stalwarts have never met in the Super Bowl. It has to happen some day, though, right? Maybe this is the year.