March 13, 2009
Team enjoys successful campaignMany Steelers fans eagerly waited for the 2008 NFL season, knowing that what Pittsburgh would be facing the next few months would be the toughest schedule in the league.
With second-year head coach Mike Tomlin and a stellar all around team, the Steelers were ready for any challenge that they were going to face.
Led by team captains Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, James Farrior and Jeff Reed, the team was in trusted hands.
The opening weekend at Heinz Field the Steelers handed the Houston Texans a convincing loss 38-17 to start the season out right.
After defeating the Baltimore Ravens in week four (the first of three times the Ravens would be defeated by the Steelers this season), Pitts- burgh put themselves into first place of the AFC North division where they would remain for the rest of the season.
Going into their bye week the Steelers faced the team that had knocked them out of the Super Bowl chase the season prior: the Jacksonville Jaguars. They were given the opportunity to play in Jacksonville in prime time and defeated them by a score of 26-21. This was the first of many come-from-behind, last-minute wins for the Steelers.
The Steeler Nation was ready to welcome the returning Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, to Pitts- burgh. In front of the largest crowd to see a regular-season game at Heinz Field the Steelers were unable to overcome the struggle of losing their long-snapper during the second-half of play. Tough mistakes and mishaps led to the Giants' win over the Steelers, 21-14.
Getting back on track, the Steelers began a run of games that all ended in late-scoring drives by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. With less than a minute left in the game, wide-receiver Santonio Holmes made one of the most controversial catches in NFL history to lead the Steelers over the Ravens for the second time this season, 13-9.
The Steelers entered the final two weeks of regular season play with a disappointing loss to the Tennessee Titans, who would go on to own the NFL's best regular-season record at 13-3. With the win, the Titans secured home-field advantage for the playoffs and clinched the number one seed in the AFC, giving the Steelers the number two seed.
The Steelers hosted the San Diego Chargers and played a solid game for all four quarters, defeating San Diego 35-24.
For the third and final time this season, the Steelers would play the Ravens, but this time for the AFC championship. Heinz Field was electric with energy, terrible towels flying for the whole game.
The great rivalry between these two teams was alive for one more time this season. Some of the hardest hits and best defensive plays by the number one defense in the league led to the 23-14 win over Baltimore.
The last stop was the road to the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, Fla. The Steelers were ready for the underdog Arizona Cardinals. Led by head coach Ken Whisenhunt, the Steelers former offense coordinator, the Cardinals knew it would be a tall order to defeat the black and gold. With much more playoff experience than the Cardinals, the Steelers were poised with handling the pressure just fine.
Breaking former Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard's record for the longest play in Super Bowl history, Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison put his name in the record books. Intercepting a Kurt Warner pass, he returned the ball for 100 yards and six points, resulting in a 14-point swing.
The game was played like any Super Bowl should be played. The winning touchdown came in the fourth quarter with less than a minute to play. MVP of the Super Bowl, Holmes made a six-yard catch while being covered by three defensive backs for the game's final points.
The Cardinals had a chance to do something with the ball, but it wasn't enough. LaMar Woodley sacked and stripped the ball from Kurt Warner and Super Bowl XLIII belonged to the Steelers, 27-23.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have done something that no other NFL team has done before by winning its sixth Super Bowl ring. Until next season begins, the Steelers will remain on top of the football world.
WEEKLY FEATURESNewsLiving & ArtsUniversity UpdateForumSports