Former Steelers RB Sidney Thornton Dies at Age 68; 2-Time Super Bowl Champ with PIT

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 2, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 15:  Running back Sidney Thornton #38 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the football against defensive lineman Carl Hairston #78 of the Philadelphia Eagles as offensive lineman Steve Courson #77 blocks during a preseason game at Veterans Stadium on August 15, 1981 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Eagles defeated the Steelers 36-20.  (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that two-time Super Bowl champion running back Sidney Thornton has died at the age of 68.

Pittsburgh Steelers @steelers

We are saddened by the loss of former Steelers RB Sidney Thornton. <a href="https://t.co/LpKsIbJ1Xq">pic.twitter.com/LpKsIbJ1Xq</a>

The former Northwestern State star played his entire six-year NFL career (1977-1982) with the Steelers, winning Super Bowls in 1978 and 1979.

Nicknamed "The Thundering Bull," Thornton earned Most Valuable Offensive Player honors at the 1976 Blue-Gray All-Star Classic to cap a collegiate career where he amassed 2,662 yards from 1973-1976. He garnered 151 yards and two touchdowns in the All-Star Classic.

Per Northwestern State sports information director Doug Ireland, the 5'11", 230-pound Thornton "bench-pressed 450 pounds and dead-lifted over 600 pounds."

Pittsburgh selected Thornton with a second-round draft choice (No. 48 overall) in 1977.

His best season occurred for the 1979 Super Bowl champions, who capped the tremendous Steel Curtain dynasty of the 1970s with four Lombardi Trophies in six years.

Thornton finished second on the team in rushing with 585 yards and six touchdowns on 118 carries (5.0 YPC). He also caught 16 passes for 231 yards and four more scores. Thornton's 10 touchdowns in 1979 were second on the team behind Harris and his 12 scores.

Per Steelers Depot, Thornton's 75-yard run in a 17-13 win over the Baltimore Colts served as the team's longest play that year. That was also Thornton's best game that season (162 total yards on 16 touches).

Steelers Depot 7⃣ @Steelersdepot

Sad to hear about the passing of former Steelers RB Sidney Thornton. When I think of him, I always remember his 75-yard run against the Colts in 1979, the longest play the team had that season. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> <a href="https://t.co/FAblQVpsey">pic.twitter.com/FAblQVpsey</a>

For his career, Thornton had 2,027 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns. He rushed for 4.2 yards per carry (356/1,512) and caught 46 passes for 515 yards.

After his career, Thornton coached football at Coushatta High School (now Red River High School) in Coushatta, Louisiana.