Will success be similarity for Bengals, '70 Steelers?
As autumn drifted into winter, the afterglow shined upon a Chiefs championship with the NFL draft drawing near.
While Kansas City had a Super Bowl to celebrate, another AFC franchise was primed to select a quarterback and zeroed in on a Louisiana product at No. 1 overall.
That was 1970, though it has a few notable similarities to 2020.
Indeed, a quick and closer look provided by NFL Research shows some head-scratching parallels between the Pittsburgh Steelers’ historic, franchise- and NFL-changing 1970 NFL Draft and the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2020 NFL Draft. And there’s little doubt that the Bengals are hoping to find the same success that the Steelers did 50 years ago.
Held from Jan. 27-28 in New York City, the 1970 draft saw the AFC Central’s Steelers sitting at No. 1.
Fifty seasons after the first NFL draft prior to the 1970 AFL/NFL merger, the 2020 draft sees the AFC North’s Bengals sitting at No. 1.
The Bengals, of course formerly of the AFC Central along with the Steelers, are prognosticated by many to select Joe Burrow out of Louisiana State with the top pick, hopeful of bringing in not just a franchise quarterback, but a franchise-changing quarterback.
In 1970, the Steelers changed their franchise forever with a Louisiana product taken at the top of the draft, when they selected Louisiana Tech’s Terry Bradshaw.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Bradshaw went on to a Hall of Fame career and his arguably one of the most well-known NFL players of all-time thanks to his hugely successful run with the Steelers and his days after his playing career as an NFL commentator and actor.
The 6-foot-3.5, 221-pound Burrow is coming off one of the greatest single seasons in college football chronicle, having won the Heisman and led the Bayou Bengals to an undefeated NCAA championship.
Coincidentally, as aforementioned the 1970 and 2020 drafts follow the only two Chiefs Super Bowl championships. Furthermore, a new collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 1970 as one is currently being worked on in 2020.
In the clarity of reflection, it was hardly a star-studded draft for the league, but for the Steelers it was the start of their greatest decade and the turn of the franchise into one of the NFL’s all-time finest franchises.
The 1970 NFL Draft was 50 years ago today and is similar to the 2020 #NFLDraft that is 50 days away
– Occurred after the @Chiefs won the Super Bowl (1969 & 2019)
– @LSU Joe Burrow (projected #1 pick) and @LATech Terry Bradshaw (#1 overall pick) both went to college in Louisiana
Bradshaw was taken first overall and quarterbacked the Steelers to four Super Bowl championships, collecting a most valuable player accolade, a Super Bowl MVP and three Pro Bowl trips. In the third round, the Steelers struck gold once more with the selection of Mel Blount. Blount was another Hall of Famer who turned in five Pro Bowl seasons and was likewise a huge part of those four Super Bowl titles.
For good measure, the Steelers also drafted receivers Ron Shanklin and Dave Smith in the second and eighth rounds, respectively, with both going on to be solid contributors
It was a draft that produced two Hall of Famers in Bradshaw and Blount (three if you include Ed George, who did not play for Pittsburgh, but went to the CFL and was a Hall of Famer there).
With Bradshaw and Blount, the Steelers selected cornerstones in a quartet of championships that transformed an also-ran into one of the most storied franchises.
Only the future will tell if the Bengals’ 2020 draft will add the most important of similarities to the Steelers’ 1970 draft — success.
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