Miami Dolphins

Every time Miami and Pittsburgh met in the playoffs, the winner went to the Super Bowl

Jim Kiick of the Miami Dolphins goes head first over Glen Edwards of the Pittsburgh Steelers as he scores in the third quarter of their AFC championship game at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 31, 1972. The Dolphins won 21-17.
Jim Kiick of the Miami Dolphins goes head first over Glen Edwards of the Pittsburgh Steelers as he scores in the third quarter of their AFC championship game at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 31, 1972. The Dolphins won 21-17. AP Photo

Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh will mark only the fourth playoff meeting between two tradition-rich franchises that combined for six Super Bowl victories in a six-season span in the 1970s.

Miami won championships at the end of the 1972 and 1973 seasons, and the Steelers won Super Bowls to close the 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979 seasons.

Recapping their playoff matchups:

 
Dolphins punter Larry Seiple, deciding on his own, runs 37 yards out of punt formation to key a touchdown drive in the 1972 AFC Championship against the Steelers. MIAMI HERALD FILE

1972 AFC Championship: Dolphins 21, Steelers 17 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh

Bob Griese, playing for the first time since breaking his right leg 11 weeks before, replaced Earl Morrall early in the third quarter, with the Dolphins down 10-7, and immediately sparked an 80-yard touchdown drive with a 52-yard pass to Paul Warfield. The drive end with a two-yard Jim Kiick touchdown run.

Griese then engineered a 49-yard drive that ended with a three-yard Kiick touchdown run.

READ MORE: Fins at 50: A look at the top players and moments of the Miami Dolphins’s first 50 seasons

Pittsburgh closed to within 21-17, but Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti intercepted Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw at midfield with 2 ½ minutes to play.

Mercury Morris rushed 16 times for 76 yard and Larry Csonka 24 times for 68 yards. Griese for 3 for 5 for 70 yards, and Marv Fleming caught five passes for 50 yards.

The Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins, 14-7, in the Super Bowl two weeks later to cap the NFL’s only undefeated season in history.

 
Don Shula and Bob Griese watch from the sidelines during the Dolphins’ 1979 playoff loss to Pittsburgh. GENE PUSKAR / AP Photo

1979 AFC playoff game: Steelers 34, Dolphins 14 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh

The Steelers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions to take a 20-0 lead and coasted from there. The Dolphins mustered only 25 yards rushing on 22 carries against Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense, with Larry Csonka limited to 20 yards on 10 carries.

The Dolphins scored their touchdowns on Bob Griese’s 7-yard pass to Duriel Harris and Csonka’s late 1-yard run on a 76-yard drive engineered by Don Strock.

Terry Bradshaw (21-31, 230 yards, two touchdowns) outplayed Griese (14-26-118 yards, one touchdown), and Pittsburgh’s Franco Harris ran 21 times for 83 yards.

 
Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino looks to pass during the AFC Championship agame against the Steelers on Jan. 6, 1985. BILL HABER / AP Photo

1984 AFC championship game: Dolphins 45, Steelers 28 at the Orange Bowl in Miami

The Dolphins haven’t had as significant a win since that game, which catapulted the Dolphins into the Super Bowl that they lost 38-16 to San Francisco.

Dan Marino completed 21 of 32 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns, including scoring plays of 41 and 36 yards to Mark Duper, 40 yards to Mark Clayton and six yards to Nat Moore. The Steelers took a 14-10 lead on Mark Malone’s 65-yard pass to John Stallworth, but the Dolphins then scored two touchdowns in the final 2:52 of the first half to take the lead for good.

Duper caught five passes for 148 yards, Clayton four for 95 yards and Tony Nathan eight for 114. Nathan also ran 19 times for 64 yards. William Judson, Glenn Blackwood and Lyle Blackwood all intercepted Malone.

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