July 31, 2015

Highlighted Year: Mel Blount, 1981

Cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 33
12th season in pro football & with Steelers
College: Southern
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 205

A third-round draft choice in 1970, Blount was most notable on kickoff returns as a rookie but worked his way into the lineup by his third year. A master of the bump-and-run, he became a key member of the vaunted defense as Pittsburgh won its first Super Bowl following the ’74 season. Blount led the league with 11 interceptions in 1975, receiving NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press as well as consensus first-team All-NFL and Pro Bowl recognition. Blount followed up with three more Pro Bowl selections over the course of the next four seasons and received at least some first-team All-league honors in 1976 and ’77 and second-team in 1978 and ‘79.

1981 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 6 [14, tied with six others]
Most interceptions, game – 2 at New Orleans 10/4, vs. LA Rams 11/29
Int. return yards – 106
Most int. return yards, game – 58 (on 2 int.) at New Orleans 10/4
Int. TDs – 1 [5, tied with twenty others]
Fumble recoveries – 0

TDs – 1
Points – 6

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Steelers went 8-8 to finish second in the AFC Central while leading the conference in interceptions (30).

Having been chosen to a fifth (and last) Pro Bowl, Blount played two more seasons through 1983. Fast, physical, and durable, he lasted for 14 years, all with Pittsburgh, and missed only one game due to injury. Blount ended up intercepting a team-record 57 passes and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1989.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970