How often are NFL conference championship games a rematch?
The Steelers and Raiders are the only teams to play each other in five consecutive postseasons, and they squared off in the AFC championship game three seasons in a row over that stretch.
In their first championship game meeting, played at the Oakland Coliseum on Dec. 29, 1974, the favored Raiders held a 10-3 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but Ken Stabler threw two interceptions that led to two Steelers touchdowns, and Pittsburgh won, 24-13.
In the rematch the next season, the teams combined for 12 turnovers (seven for the Steelers, five for the Raiders) and 12 punts on a bitterly cold day at Three Rivers Stadium on Jan. 4, 1976, with the Raiders contending that the Steelers purposely created icy field conditions to slow Oakland’s passing attack. Whatever the reason, the Raiders struggled through the air, with Stabler completing only 18 of 42 passes for 246 yards and two interceptions. Wide receiver Cliff Branch, who had nine catches for 186 yards in the previous season’s meeting, had only two catches for 56 yards in the rematch. Trailing 16-10 late in the fourth quarter after a field goal and a recovered onside kick, Stabler found Branch for a 37-yard reception to the Steelers’ 15, but time ran out and Pittsburgh was off to its second straight Super Bowl after the 16-10 victory.
The Raiders finally broke through in the third consecutive AFC championship game meeting, winning, 24-7, on their home field on Dec. 26, 1976. Steelers running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier both missed the game because of injuries, and Pittsburgh managed only 72 rushing yards. Stabler had only 88 passing yards but threw two touchdown passes, and Mark van Eeghen, Clarence Davis and Pete Banaszak combined for 166 rushing yards.