Since the Steelers have the wrong kind of home field advantage this postseason, we'll take a look back at some of the highlights and disappointments of playoffs past ...
Today: January 11th -- Another Super run begins, Nedney's Oscar take, Too little too late
January 11, 2009 -- AFC Divisional vs. San Diego
The Steelers begin the march to their league-record sixth Super Bowl title by dispatching the other, non-Eli Manning quarterback drafted ahead of Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL Draft, Phillip Rivers, and his San Diego Chargers in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the 35-24 final score indicated.
Roethlisberger only threw for 181 yards and a touchdown, but that hardly mattered when Willie Parker scored twice and Santonio Holmes set the tone for his -- and the team's -- entire postseason with a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown to put the Steelers on the board in the first quarter.
Statistically, Rivers bested Roethlisberger -- passing for 308 yards, three touchdowns with one pick -- except, of course, he lost.
Willie Parker had his last truly great game as a Steeler, finishing with 146 and two touchdowns. LaMarr Woodley led the defense with two sacks, and San Diego was held to 15 rushing yards all game.
January 11, 2003 -- AFC Divisional @ Tennessee
A week after a thrilling Wild Card win at home over Cleveland by a field goal in the waning seconds of regualtion, the Steelers went on the road to Tennessee for a thrilling AFC Divisional game decided by a field goal in overtime ... and they were on the wrong end of it.
A back and forth game that featured five lead changes was decided on an overtime field goal that Titans' kicker Joe Nedney took three whacks at before sending his team to the AFC Championship at Oakland
On the first attempt, Steelers coach Bill Cowher called timeout just before the snap -- a prescient call, as Nedney would've split the uprights. On the second attempt, Nedney missed -- but his leg was grazed by cornerback Dwayne Washington (above) after the kick. Nedney flopped to the ground. The Steelers were assessed a five-yard running-into-the-kicker penalty and Nedney was given another crack at it. The third time would prove to be the charm for him.
- Associated Press game story.
January 11, 1998 -- AFC Championship vs. Denver
In his first game as a professional in September 1983 at Three Rivers Stadium, Denver Broncos rookie starting quarterback John Elway saw snarling Steelers great Jack Lambert across the line from him and immediately contemplated a career change.
Of Lambert, he famously said, "He had no teeth, and he was slobbering all over himself. I'm thinking, 'You can have your money back, just get me out of here. Let me go be an accountant." I can't tell you how badly I wanted out of there."
Wish granted. He was knocked out of the game en route to a 14-10 Steelers win.
Elway returned to the scene of the crime numerous times over the years but in what would be his last visit to the stadium where he started his career would prove most fruitful: Elway and the Broncos advanced to a Super Bowl date with Brett Favre's Green Bay Packers.
To get there, the Broncos overcame an Elway interception on the second play of the game and erased a 14-7 Steelers lead in the second quarter with 17 unanswered points to lead at halftime, 24-14 behind two Elway touchdown passes.
Although Jerome Bettis would run for 105 yards and a touchdown -- usually a winning formula for Pittsburgh -- but Terrell Davis one-upped him with 139 yards and a score. Kordell Stewart scored a touchdown and threw for another, but his three turnovers were too much for his teammates to overcome.
It would be the final postseason game played at Three Rivers Stadium.
Pregame hype montage
NBC broadcast (first half)
NBC broadcast (second half)
Post-Gazette game coverage
- Ed Bouchette's Game story
- Momentumn swung on a single throw
- Smizik: What's next is unknown
- Bruce Keidan: Stewart will learn from this
- Steelers forced to park the Bus
- The 'Spitter' (Romanowski) nearly strikes again
- Hook comes back to haunt
- Sad fans salute Broncos