The 1938 Pittsburgh Pirates season was their sixth as a professional football club in the National Football League (NFL). The '38 Pirates welcomed back John McNally as head coach after finishing with a 4-10 record the previous year. McNally coached the team's second 2-win season in 3 years, as they placed last in the NFL Eastern Division.
The '38 team welcomed one of the Steelers' best players during their tenure as "the Pirates" (1933-1940). Art Rooney signed college phenom Byron "Whizzer" White for one season and was given a huge contract. White led the league in rushing that year, and became the first player to do so whilst playing for a losing team. He left the team the next year to pursue his studies overseas, he did however return as a Lion in 1940.
|1938 Pittsburgh Pirates season|
|Head coach||John McNally|
|Home field||Forbes Field|
|Division place||5th NFL Eastern|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
|Pro Bowlers||Stu Smith|
|Draft order||Player name||Position||College||Notes|
|1||4||4||Byron White||Back||Colorado||Played 1 season with Pirates in 1938|
|2||4||14||Frank Filchock||Back||Indiana||Played 1 season for Pirates in 1938|
|3||4||19||Hugh Wolfe||Back||Texas||Played for Giants|
|4||4||29||Tony Matisi||Tackle||Pittsburgh||Played for Lions|
|5||4||34||Lou Midler||Tackle||Minnesota||Played 2 seasons for Pirates|
|6||4||44||George Platukis||End||Duquesne||Played 4 season for Pirates/Steelers|
|8||4||64||Tom Burnette||Halfback||North Carolina|
|9||4||74||Paul McDonough||End||Utah||Played 1 season for Pirates in 1938|
|10||4||84||Paul McCarty||Center||Notre Dame|
|12||4||104||Joe Kuharich||Guard||Notre Dame||Never played for Pirates|
The Pirates selected one of their best draft picks of that era in Byron "Whizzer" White from Colorado. He was given a large $15,000 contract to play in 1938. White finished the season with 152 rushes for 567 yards, 4 TD, and 7 catches for 88 yards. After the season, he continued his studies overseas. He did return and play for the Detroit Lions in 1940 and 1941.
|1||September 9, 1938||@||Detroit Lions||L 7-16|
|2||September 11, 1938||New York Giants||L 14-27|
|3||September 16, 1938||Philadelphia Eagles||L 7-27|
|4||September 23, 1938||@||Brooklyn Dodgers||W 17-3|
|5||October 3, 1938||@||New York Giants||W 13-10|
|6||October 9, 1938||Brooklyn Dodgers||L 7-17|
|7||October 23, 1938||@||Green Bay Packers||L 0-20|
|8||November 6, 1938||Washington Redskins||L 0-7|
|9||November 20, 1938||@||Philadelphia Eagles||L 7-14|
|10||November 27, 1938||@||Washington Redskins||L 0-15|
|11||December 4, 1938||Cleveland Rams||L 7-13|
Prior to this game, the Pirates played an exhibition against the Boston Shamrocks, winning 16–6.
During a second bye week, the Pirates scheduled a two-legged tie against the Los Angeles Bulldogs. The first game, an Armistice Day special, was held at Will Rogers Memorial Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado (in Pirates star Byron White's home state) on November 11. The Pirates lost that game, 17–6, in front of a crowd of 15,000 fans. The second leg of the series was held at the Bulldogs' home field, Gilmore Stadium, at which the Pirates and Bulldogs played to a 14–14 draw in front of 18,000 fans.
|NFL Eastern Division|
|New York Giants||8||2||1||.800||5–2–1||194||79||W1|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
|Division championships (23)|
|Conference championships (8)|
|League championships (6)|
|Hall of Fame members|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold