Where Steelers’ wild-card loss to the Browns ranks among franchise’s all-time worst defeats

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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ most painful defeat occurred on Dec. 26, 1976. That statement was true the day after Pittsburgh’s 24-7 loss to the then Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship Game, and that statement will still be true 100 years after the publication of this story.

Instead of possibly becoming the first (and only) team to win three consecutive Super Bowls, the ’76 Steelers fell short against their most bitter rival. With 1,000-yard running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier injured, the Steelers’ high-powered offense was held to 13 first downs and 237 total yards. To this day, Steelers fans and players from that team wonder what the outcome might have been had Harris and Bleier been healthy enough to face the Raiders, who would then defeat the Vikings to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl.

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