Let's Learn From the Past: Super Bowl XLIII
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The Pittsburgh Steelers earned the elusive "one for the thumb" fifth Super Bowl ring in 2005, and four years later, began adding jewelry to the other hand.
Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., featured the Steelers' top-ranked defense against the high-powered offense of the Arizona Cardinals in what turned out to be a game for the ages.
The Steelers were making their seventh Super Bowl appearance after posting a 12-4 record during the 2008 regular season behind the gritty quarterback play of Ben Roethlisberger and a stellar defense led by the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year linebacker James Harrison.
It was a completely different story for the Arizona Cardinals franchise, which was making its first Super Bowl appearance while just barely making the playoffs after a 9-7 regular season. Veteran signal caller Kurt Warner, who led the St. Louis Rams to two Super Bowls but fell on hard times as a backup for the New York Giants, re-emerged to Pro Bowl form to lead the Cardinals.
The Steelers jumped out to a 17-7 halftime lead, thanks to a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by Harrison -- the longest play in Super Bowl history.
Trailing 20-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Cardinals scored 16 straight points, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by former University of Pittsburgh star wideout Larry Fitzgerald to take the lead.
With just 2:37 left on the game clock, Roethlisberger added to his fourth-quarter comeback legacy and led the Steelers on a 78-yard drive, capped off by a toe-tapping catch in the corner of the end zone by wide receiver Santonio Holmes. The catch would go down as one of the most exciting plays in Super Bowl history, and Holmes was named the game's most valuable player. The 27-23 win gave Pittsburgh an NFL-record sixth Super Bowl championship and a new nickname: "Six-burgh."
Two days later, more than 300,000 Steeler fans packed Downtown's freezing cold streets to celebrate the storied franchise's unprecedented sixth Super Bowl win.
Visitors to the Heinz History Center can see all six of the Steelers' Super Bowl trophies from Nov. 23-30 as part of the new exhibition, "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame." More information is available at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.
First Published November 15, 2012 12:00 am