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 27 -- AFC Championship vs. New England Patriots
A week removed from a dramatic Divisional Playoff win over Oakland in which the words "tuck rule" entered the NFL lexicon -- the Patriots had become one of the top stories of the 2001 NFL season, led to the AFC title game by a young, late-round pick from Michigan the year prior.
But Tom Brady was a non-factor in this game -- in fact he was knocked out of it in the second quarter, replaced by Drew Bledsoe, whom he had famously supplanted earlier in the season.
Instead it was New England's special teams -- and the Steelers total lack thereof -- that were the decisive factor in sending the Patriots to the Super Bowl and the Steelers home with their second home AFC Championship loss in four years.
Troy Brown returned a punt 55-yards to Patriot paydirt in the first quarter, Bledsoe found David Patten for a score in the second, and then a blocked Kris Brown field goal attempt was returned for an 84-yard touchdown and the Steelers found themselves in a 21-3 halftime hole that they could not escape from.
Kordell Stewart led to scoring drives in the second half that culminated in Jerome Bettis and Amos Zereoue touchdowns and got the Steelers to within four points, but threw picks on the Steelers final two possessions, ending the chances of a comeback and effectively his career in Pittsburgh.
- Front Page: The Steelers Lose
- Steelers squander Heinz Field edge
- Patriots line shuts down Bus
- Play of the game: Special teams gaffe costs Steelers
- Ron Cook: Steelers failed in every area
- Bob Smizik: Special teams will take the blame
- Bledsoe finds opportunity in lost season
- Brown's return produces big trip for New England
- Chuck Finder: Simms convinced to talk special teams
Last few minutes of the game: