Oct. 5, 1941: Buff Donelli (center) was just 11 days into his brief stint as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers when the New York Giants came to town. He had reason to look worried. The Giants pounded the “Iron Men,” as the Steelers were known in the newspaper. Final score: 37-10. More than 13,000 fans showed up at Forbes Field to witness the pummeling. It was certainly a dedicated crowd. The folks could have stayed at home and tuned their radios to a thrilling World Series game between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers.
Donelli was pulling double-duty — he also coached the Duquesne University squad, one of the best in the nation. The Steelers, however, were a hard-luck bunch. The team lost five straight under Donelli, who left after the NFL forced him to decide between college and the pros. Art Rooney’s team would go through three coaches that season and finish 1-9-1. One week after season’s end, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor.
(PG sportswriter Bob Dvorchak has more on that 1941 season in this video.)