Pittsburgh Sports Report
March 2009

Steelers Super Bowl Special
Top 10 Plays in Steelers Super Bowl History
By Tony DeFazio

Mad Dog downs Tarkenton for the safety

The Steelers score the first two of their 168 career points in the Super Bowl in the second quarter of Super Bowl IX when Vikings fullback Dave Osborn fumbled a pitch from Tarkenton in Minnesota's end zone. Tarkenton beat Steelers defensive end Dwight White to the ball, but "Mad Dog" downed the Vikings' quarterback for a safety, giving Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead. The defensive score set the tone for the Steelers first championship, as the Steel Curtain limited the Vikings to nine first downs, 119 yards of total offense, and 17 rushing yards. Minnesota's only score came on a blocked punt in the Steelers' 16-6 win.

Fitz gives Arizona the late lead

Pittsburgh was seemingly on their way to a dominating victory, leading 20-7 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Cardinals scored 16 straight points, however, taking the lead on Fitzgerald's 64-yard catch-and-run from the arm of Kurt Warner, to give Arizona a four-point lead with just 2:37 remaining in the game. Fitzgerald, held to just one catch for 12 yards in the first half, exploded in the fourth quarter. The former Pitt star amassed 87 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the final 15 minutes of play as his Cardinals nearly pulled off the upset.

Fast Willie sets a Super Bowl record

The Steelers got the ball to open the second half leading 7-3. Just two plays in, running back Willie Parker followed an Alan Faneca block and broke through the Seahawks' defensive line for a 75-yard touchdown run, giving Pittsburgh a 14-3 lead. Fast Willie's run set a record for the longest run in Super Bowl history, beating Marcus Allen's Super Bowl XVIII mark by one yard. Faneca received a Super Bowl MVP vote as a result of the play. Parker finished the game with 93 yards on 10 carries.

Lambert's pick stops LA

Trailing 24-19 in the fourth quarter, Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo marched his team down the field. He completed a gutsy 15-yarder to Billy Waddy on a 3rd and 13 to move the ball to the Pittsburgh 31 yard line. On the very next snap, however, Ferragamo threw across the middle for wide receiver Preston Dennard. Steelers linebacker Jack Lambert stepped in front of Dennard as the ball arrived, intercepting the pass with 5:24 remaining, short-circuiting Los Angeles' drive and for all intents and purposes clinching the game for the Steelers. Franco Harris would score moments later to give the Steelers the 31-19 victory.

Randle El throws a TD to Hines

The Steelers had just thwarted a Seattle drive courtesy of an Ike Taylor interception to maintain their 14-10 lead when Ben Roethlisberger pitched the ball to Willie Parker running left. Parker then handed off to Randle El just as Roethlisberger picked up blitzing safety Michael Boulware and knocked him out of the way, clearing room for Randle El to set his feet. The former Indiana University quarterback threw a perfect strike to a wide-open Hines Ward, giving the Steelers a 21-10 lead and also marking the first time a wide receiver threw a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl.

Larry Brown intercepts O'Donnell

After battling furiously from a 20-7 deficit, the Steelers pulled to within 20-17 on a Bam Morris one-yard touchdown run. A Levon Kirkland sack on Troy Aikman helped get Pittsburgh the ball back with 4:13 remaining. On second down, the Cowboys blitzed and cornerback Larry Brown-who had already intercepted O'Donnell earlier in the game-read a slant pattern. When Steelers receiver Andre Hastings slanted in the wrong direction, Brown had his second interception of the game. "I was on page with the quarterback," Brown said. "The receiver was off page." Brown returned the pick to the Steelers' 6 and two plays later, Emmit Smith scored, increasing the Dallas lead 27-17.

Stallworth's catch puts the Steelers ahead

The Rams maintained a 19-17 second-half cushion, but on two separate occasions the Steelers threatened to retake the lead. Both times, however, the LA defense intercepted Terry Bradshaw and negated the threat. Early in the fourth quarter, Rams punter Ken Clark boomed a 60-yarder that gave the Steelers the ball at their own 25. On 3rd down and 8, Bradshaw took the snap and carried out a play-action fake as John Stallworth streaked down the middle of the field. Stallworth made a brilliant over-the-shoulder grab without breaking stride, and took it to the house for a 73-yard go-ahead touchdown to put the Steeles ahead 24-19.

Swann dazzles with his acrobatics

In terms of individual effort, unyielding focus and sheer athleticism, this is one of the greatest catches in NFL history, let alone Steelers history. Trailing 10-7 late in the first half, Terry Bradshaw launched a bomb down the middle of field. Cowboys' defensive back Mark Washington was in perfect position on receiver Lynn Swann, but No. 88 reached around Washington as he was falling to the turf, tipped the ball to himself and hauled it in as Washington fell to his back, helpless. The Steelers were unable to manage any points on the drive, however, as Roy Gerela-kicking with a cracked rib suffered on the opening kickoff-missed a 36-yard field goal attempt with 22 seconds remaining in the half. Like Stallworth's touchdown at No. 4 and Holmes' TD this past year, Swann's catch made the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week.

Harrison's 100-yard interception return

With the Steelers hanging on to a 10-7 lead late in the second quarter, a Ben Roethlisberger pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Arizona's Karlos Dansby. The Cardinals drove the Steelers 1-yard line and had a first-and-goal with 18 seconds left. Arizona's Kurt Warner took a quick three-step drop out of the shotgun and threw to his left, but Harrison stepped in front of Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin and intercepted the ball. Harrison darted to the right boundary with a convoy of teammates flanking him. Deshea Townsend eliminated Warner from the play around the 40-yard line and Harrison avoided Leonard Pope's diving attempt at a tackle at the 45. Harrison sped down the sideline, deftly hurdling Tim Hightower at the 20 and hanging on despite last-second efforts from receivers Steve Breaston and Larry Fitzgerald at the 1. Harrison tumbled into the end zone as time expired to give the Steelers a 17-7 halftime lead. No. 92 then collapsed, exhausted and etched forever in Super Bowl lure.

Santonio wins the game

Everyone is familiar with the circumstances by now. Steelers trail 23-20 with 2:30 seconds to go, staring at 88 yards of field after a holding penalty. Eighty-two yards later, with just over 40 seconds left, Ben Roethlisberger lofts a pass into the left corner of the end zone that sails through Holmes' extended hands. On the next play-"62 scat flasher"-Roethlisberger checks off his first two reads, buys time and floats to his right as Holmes steaks across the back of the end zone. Roethlisberger throws a bullet, high and in the left corner of the end zone, adroitly placing ball above three Arizona defenders in the only spot where his receiver could possibly pull it in. For his part, Holmes had to use only his hands to make the grab, which he did as the ball was whistling out of bounds. With 100 percent of his momentum pulling him toward the sidelines, Holmes managed to keep both feet in bounds and maintain possession of the ball as he fell to the turf. Touchdown. Steelers win Super Bowl No. 6. Santonio Holmes, MVP.

The March issue of the Pittsburgh Sports Report contains a dozen pages of Super Bowl fun, including the Top 10 Plays in Steelers Super Bowl History. Pick up the March issue of the Pittsburgh Sports Report at any Dick's Sporting Goods or any one of over 400 locations in and around the Pittsburgh area.

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