Steelers' postseason history: Jan. 14

Written by Dan Gigler on .

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 14, 1996 -- AFC Championship vs. Indianapolis Colts


Having lost the 1994 AFC Championship game in the final minute of the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers adopted a mantra for 1995 of  "60 Minute Men" -- that they would not let up until each game was a final. Indeed 364 days later, the Steelers found again themseleves in an AFC Championship game that came down not only to the final minute, but the final play.

Neil O' Donnell seemed to have picked right up where he left off in the previous year's championship -- his first pass was intercepted. But O' Donnell settled down and was an effective 25 for 41 for 205 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Rookie curiosity Kordell "Slash" Stewart caught that five-yard touchdown pass, which almost certainly would've been disallowed today. Television replay showed that Stewart had his foot on the end line when he leapt to catch the ball, making him ineligible. Unfortunately for the Colts, there was no official replay in the NFL from 1993 to 1998.

Though heavily favored, the Steelers found themselves matched score for score, hit for hit by the plucky Colts, led by "Captain Comeback" Jim Harbaugh who put Indianapolis ahead 16-13 in the fourth quarter.

O' Donnell would respond with probably his finest moments as a pro. With 3:03 left he began the game-winning drive, converting several passing first downs including a dramatic nine-yard completion to Andre Hastings on 4th & 3 to keep the drive alive. A few plays later he found Ernie Mills -- who made a toe-tapping catch -- 37-yards downfield to set up the go ahead score.

Bam Morris battered his way into the end zone for what would be the winning touchdown.

But the game would still come down to one last Hail Mary by Harbaugh as regulation expired.

And as you can see from the picture above, it missed by the narrowest of margins.

No matter. The Steelers were headed to Tempe for their first Super Bowl appearance in 16 seasons against old pals, the Dallas Cowboys.

Post-Gazette coverage:

The last two-minutes of the game (10 minutes of air broadcast):

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