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Seven Years Ago Today the Steelers Captured Their NFL Record 6th Title

Super Bowl XLIII - Pittsburgh Steelers v Arizona Cardinals

Seven years ago today the Steelers captured their NFL Record 6th Super Bowl Championship in Tampa, Florida as they topped the Arizona Cardinals 27-23.

The game remains to this day as maybe the most memorable in NFL history, as the Steelers drove down the field in the final minutes and ended with Ben Roethlisberger hitting Santonio Holmes with a touchdown to win the game.

Here’s a video from CBS posted today on the game and the dramatic ending:

Here’s the Steelers Gab game story from Tampa:

You didn’t think it would be that easy – did you? Living up to all the hype of possibly the best Super Bowl ever, the Steelers rallied late to overcome a game Cardinals team and win their NFL record 6th Lombardi Trophy with a stunning 27-23 victory at Raymond James Stadium. The game was everything a Super Bowl should be, with lead changes, big plays that changed momentum, and a late game-winning drive from the Steelers that stunned the Cardinals.

It was that drive, an 8-play, 78-yard drive by QB Ben Roethlisberger that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass to the games MVP Santonio Holmes, that sealed the victory for Pittsburgh. The drive came after the Steelers blew a 20-7 fourth quarter lead, and the Cardinals rallied for 16 points to go up 23-20 with 2:37 left.

The Cardinals go-ahead score was a big play in itself, as Larry Fitzgerald, rather quiet minus a 1-yard touchdown, at that point, broke free on a slant route for a 64-yard score that put the Steelers behind for the first time all day. The mostly pro Steelers crowd seemed stunned as it’s defense seemed a step behind the Cardinals offense for most of the fourth quarter.

Pittsburgh started the game-winning drive at their 12-yard line following a first down hold. Roethlisberger went to work, hitting Holmes for 14 yards, then on third-and-6 he found Holmes again for 13 yards to the 39. Then he nailed Nate Washington with an 11-yard pass to midfield with 1:08 left.

After an incomplete pass, Roethlisberger threw short to the right to Holmes, and the former Ohio State speedster raced 40 yards to the Cardinals six with :48 ticks left on the clock. The team used their last timeout after the play, as the crowd went crazy with the notion the Steelers would get the lead back.

First down brought an incomplete pass, then on second-and-goal, Big Ben moved around in the pocket, and with the Cards in zone coverage threw in the right corner of the end zone for Holmes, who made an amazing catch dragging his feet in bounds with full control of the ball for the game-winning touchdown with :42 seconds left.

After a look from the ref, the call stood, and the Steelers took the lead. Arizona had one last shot, and they got two receptions to the Steelers 44 with :15 left. On 1st-and-10 from the 44, Warner scrambled, and LaMarr Woodley got to him, and ball came out as Brett Keisel fell on it to clinch the win with :05 left.

Roethlisberger was 21-for-30 for 256 yards with a TD and an interception and a QB rating of 93.2. Warner was 31-for-41 for 377 yards, the most allowed by Pittsburgh this season, with a pick and three TD’s and a rating of 112.3. MVP Holmes had 9 grabs for 131 yards with the winning score. Fitzgerald had 7 grabs for 127 yards with the 64-yard TD.

The game could have been a runaway, as the Steelers jumped out 10-0 after dominating the first quarter, scoring on their first two drives. Arizona came back with a Warner to Ben Patrick score to make it 10-7 with 5:27 left in the first half. They had a shot to take the lead, as Warner got them to the Steelers one with :18 left in the half. Warner through, looking for Anquan Boldin, had his pass intercepted, and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, James Harrison, grabbed the pass, and after an amazing run, raced to the end zone for a 100-yard return to make it 17-7 at the half.

Arizona then saw the Steelers stop their offense again, and Pittsburgh went almost 8 minutes and drove to the Cardinals three, but couldn’t pound it in, and had to settle for a Jeff Reed chip shot field goal of 21 yards to make it 20-7 with 2:16 left in the third quarter. Arizona then started their comeback, complete with the big play to Fitzgerald that gave them the lead with 2:37 left.

Here’s a pair of videos we took in the Locker Room after the win:

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. DrGeorge

    February 1, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Matt, as a reality check, why not print the Steelers roster for Super Bowl 43 and compare it, position by position, with the 2015 roster. That tells you all you need to know about the subsequent decline, on both sides of the ball. And what’s worse, the 2008 roster probably was not as strong as it was just a year earlier when Faneca anchored the line. Injuries, schedule, and luck do affect the outcome of each football season, but the simple fact remains that the 2015 Steelers are a long way from the talent level of the 2008 team. Place the blame for that where you will, but the contrast is quite striking.

  2. DaveB.

    February 2, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Art Rooney II admitted it himself . He said , we have made mistakes . Hes right , they have . They havent made the secondary a priority , either in free agency or the draft since the 1990’s . Today , they are sitting at home because of it . In addition , player evaluation and scouting have not been up to standard . Its time to fix the problem once and for all . They have the cap space this year to sign a difference making player and its time they did . You dont have the luxury of signing another rookie and waiting 2 or 3 years for him to mature into the player you think hes going to be . Help has to come from other places as well , namely , free agency . The Steelers barring another injury riddled season , are set on offense . We have the quarterback , we have the running back and we have the wide receivers . What we dont have is a shut down defense that has been a staple of the Steelers franchise going all the way back to the 1970’s . Its time to get back to that .

  3. DrGeorge

    February 2, 2016 at 9:39 am

    DaveB, I concur with you, as usual. Certainly, the D needs an infusion of talent (NG, CB, S). But I wonder if we really do have the QB, given Ben’s concussions and frequent injuries. Or the backup QB, for that matter, given Landry’s erratic play. Or the RB given Bell’s injuries. There is even a question of depth at center with Pouncey’s lack of durability.

    Under the current CBA, teams who keep veteran talent do so at the expense of depth. Financially, teams are encouraged by the rules to cut old veterans and replace them with cheap younger players. Each team seeks an optimum balance of the two.

    We can’t fill every position of need through free agency and the draft. We must find quality UFAs and develop them in-house into NFL players. New England and Baltimore have been especially good at this over the years. Our addition of Cockrell and Boykin was a step in the right direction, and our development of Villanueva, Todman, and Toussaint paid dividends this year. We will have to do more of this and perhaps play young athletes (like Grant and Hubbard) before they are fully seasoned in the hope their athleticism and passion will compensate for a lack of game experience. The painful corollary to that is we will have to cut veteran players who still have some good years left (something we are loathe to do), and this looks like the year we will be forced to do it.

    • DaveB.

      February 2, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      My only concern is , at best , Ben has three good years left in him before he hits that wall . Ask Peyton Manning , he knows all about that wall . The window is shrinking quickly and if the Steelers are going to make one more run for that seventh ring before Ben is finished , this defense has to be fixed now . Thais is why I said they dont have the luxury of making this a 2 or 3 year project . If they go that route , I’m afraid Ben wont be around to see it . Free agency is key for this team , if they want his fixed , sooner than later .

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