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 18th -- Super Bowl X & finally a championship win at Heinz Field
If Tuesday was possibly the most dramatic date in Steelers history, today may be the most momentuous -- on no other single date have the Steelers played in and won two games of such consequence ...
January 18, 2009 -- AFC Championship vs. Baltimore
Bitter rivals, bitter cold, brutal hits -- and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
That is an easy recipe for the top game in Heinz Field's 12-season history. And when the Steelers and Ravens reignited their blood feud for the third time that season, an epic showdown was expected and delivered.
From the opening kickoff when the Steelers' Carey Davis blasted into Ravens safety Daren Stone to Limas Sweed's crushing crackback on Corey Ivy to Ryan Clark's detonation of Willis McGahee, this was as violent a game as you could expect between these two teams, with stifling defense setting the tone.
Pittsburgh got ahead early on a pair of Jeff Reed field goals and a spectacular scramble, throw, catch and run from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes to give Pittsburgh a 13-0 lead; Baltimore was able to cut it to 13-7 at the half on the first of two Willis McGahee touchdowns. The Steelers added a late third quarter field goal; the Ravens countered with McGahee's second midway through the fourth quarter touchdown.
Down 16-14, with 4:39 remaining and facing a 3rd & 13 he'd need to convert to have a shot to become the first rookie starter in a Super Bowl, and under a heavy rush, Joe Flacco heaved for the sticks and intended receiver Derrick Mason, but the ball was snatched out of the sky by whirling dervish Troy Polamalu who covered about 80-yards in the course of a 29-yard (officially) touchdown return that cinched the game and sent Pittsburgh to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.
- Top story: Steelers heading to Tampa for Super showdown with Cardinals
- Ed Bouchette's game story
- Gene Collier: Victory exorcises Heinz Field demons
- Ron Cook: Steelers claim defensive title by knockout
- Steelers nation descends on its capital
BLOG: Steel Curtain Rising remembers
A terrific amateur video of Polamalu's pick -- captures the play well but also the excitement of the game:
Ryan Clark's hit on Willis McGahee:
Limas Sweed's block on Corey Ivy:
January 18, 1976: Super Bowl X vs. Dallas Cowboys
This story from the Post-Gazette archives was first published on January 19, 1976.
It wasn't only that they did it, but it's the way they did it that will be remembered for years to come.
The Super Steelers, who strived and struggled for 42 long years to win their first championship, waited on 371 days to win their second one yesterday in what will go down as one of the most exciting games in pro football history.
Trailing 10-7 at the end of three quarters, the Steelers rallied for a safety, two field goals and a touchdown in the last quarter to edge the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 before 80,197 limp fans in the Orange Bowl and millions more on television.
"The Super Bowl has come of age," grinned Ray Mansfield moments after the Steelers had survived a late Dallas rally when Glen Edwards intercepted Roger Staubach's pass in the end zone on the final play of the game.
The Steelers, who beat the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6, last Jan. 12 in New Orleans in Super Bowl IX, now are the third team ever to win back-to-back Super Bowls, Green Bay won the first two and Miami won the seventh and eighth. No team has ever won three straight.
Reggie Harrison, a special teams player, started the comeback when he blocked a Mitch Hoopes punt out of the end zone with 11:28 left in the game for a safety to cut the deficit to 10-9.
Dallas then kicked off from the 20 and Mike Collier returned it 25 yards to Dallas 45 and the Steelers marched to the 20-yard line.
Roy Gereia, who painfully bruised his ribs making a tackle on the opening play of the game and had already missed two field goals, booted a 36-yarder to put the Steelers ahead to stay, 12-10, with 8:41 left.
A Mike Wagner interception set up an 18-yard field goal by Gereia that boosted the lead to 15-10 with 6:37 left. And the Steelers seemed to wrap it up when Lynn Swann who caught four passes for 161 yards, hauled in a 64-yard touchdown strike with only 3:02 remaining. Even though Bradshaw was dazed on the play when he was while releasing the ball and didn't know it went for a touchdown, the 21-10 lead seemed safe. Gereia's extra point attempt hit the crossbar, but nobody was concerned.
Dallas struck back with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach to Percy Howard when Mel Blount tripped to cut the deficit to 21-17.
There was still 1:48 left to play, the Steelers quarterback was out of the game and suddenly, the Cowboys were alive.
Art Rooney, the man who had suffered through the losing years for so long said "I was thinking of what they did to Minnesota." The Cowboys upset Minnesota in the first playoff game on a Staubach bomb to Drew Pearson in the last minute.
Gerry Mullins recovered the onside kick and with Terry Hanratty at quarterback, the Steelers ran three plays. On 4th-and-9 on the Dallas 41, Coach Chuck Knoll decided to run the ball rather than risk a blocked punt.
So, Dallas took over on its own 38 with 1:22 left and no time outs. The Cowboys had time for five plays, a scramble by Staubach and four passes. On the final one, they were on the Steeler 38 with three seconds left. Staubach fired it into the end zone, but Glen Edwards intercepted it.
It was over. All over. The Steelers are still world champions. Super Steelers II.
- Front page: Champs whip Dallas in cliffhanger, 21-17
- Game story: Super Steelers Shatter Cowboys
- Cowboy mistake: Riling Lambert
- Al Abrams: At long last -- A Super Win
- Swann pays off -- with interest
- Notes: Greene slowed, Furness hot
- Joyful fans jam triangle
- Exuberant fans fill city with cheers
- 3,000 caught in Super ticket bilk
- Editorial: Frustrating, sweet, scary, sweet
- Some prefer music to Steelers
- A pointless, scary ending
BLOG: Steel Curtain Rising remembers
Broadcast intro of the Steelers defensive lineup:
Bradshaw to Swann TD:
CBS game intro:
So this is from something called the TVTV show -- a decades ahead of its time faux media comedy production that featured then unknowns Bill Murray and Christopher Guest doing -- among other things -- interviewing Steelers fans and Lynn Swann at the Super Bowl. Swann talks about sustaining a concussion which seems especially poignant in light of Worth a watch.
The NFL Network's special on the 1975 Steelers