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A week to remember

Posted Jan 17, 2017

This week holds some special memories in Steelers' history.

January 18, 2009
AFC Championship Game
Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 14
Heinz Field

The Steelers beat the Ravens, 23-14, behind a stellar defensive effort that limited the Ravens to 198 total net yards. The Steelers defense had three interceptions and three sacks, including two from linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 255 yards and one touchdown, a 65-yarder to receiver Santonio Holmes, to give the Steelers a 13-0 lead. The Ravens fought back, cutting the lead to 16-14 after two touchdown runs by Willis McGahee. But it would be Troy Polamalu who would seal the deal when he intercepted Joe Flacco and returned it 40-yards for a touchdown and 23-14 win.

January 18, 1976
Super Bowl X
Steelers 21. Dallas Cowboys 17
Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Steelers got in an early 7-0 hole when Roger Staubach hit Drew Pearson for a 29-yard touchdown. But it didn’t take them long to get right back in it. Terry Bradshaw connected with Lynn Swann for a 32-yard pass, where Swann outleaped the Cowboys defender and kept both feet in bounds. That set up a seven-yard touchdown pass from Bradshaw to Randy Grossman to tie it at 7-7. A Dallas field goal sent them into the locker room up 10-7 at the half.  Roy Gerela missed his second field goal of the game in the second half, and Cowboys safety Cliff Harris mockingly patted him on the helmet. That set off linebacker Jack Lambert, who sent Harris to the ground and lit a fire under the Steelers. 

The Steelers scored on a safety off a blocked punt, and Gerela hit two field goals to give the black and gold a 15-10 lead. Bradshaw extended the lead when he hit Swann for a 64-yard touchdown pass, and Swann finished with four catches for 161 yards, winning him MVP honors. The Cowboys fought back, but it wouldn’t be enough when Staubach’s final pass was batted by Mike Wagner and intercepted by Glen Edwards to seal the 21-17 win.


January 20, 1980
Super Bowl XIV
Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

The first three quarters were filled with back and forth action, with the underdog Rams leading 19-17 at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Steelers weren’t going to be denied from becoming the first team to win four Super Bowls though.

John Stallworth had the play of the day when he looked back, and while in stride, pulled the ball in over the outstretched arms of Rams’ cornerback Rod Perry and was end zone bound for a 73-yard touchdown.

The Rams made every effort to mount a comeback, but Jack Lambert intercepted Vince Ferragamo to give the Steelers the ball back. Terry Bradshaw, who won MVP honors, took over, driving the Steelers down the field where Franco Harris punched it in for a one-yard touchdown and 31-19 win and the team’s fourth Super Bowl in six years.


January 20, 2002
AFC Divisional Playoffs
Steelers 27, Baltimore Ravens 10
Heinz Field

Heinz Field played host to its first-ever playoff game and the Steelers put on a great show, beating their division rival Baltimore Ravens 27-10.

Leading up to the game Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper made headlines when he said the Ravens "Were looking for the Steelers in Round Three" in the playoffs.

Coach Bill Cowher fired the Steelers up, telling them pregame, "They wanted us and now they got us."

There were some pregame concerns when Jerome Bettis, who had participated in pregame warmups, had an adverse reaction to an injection for a groin injury that ended up striking a nerve.

“Jerome had an adverse reaction to medication prior to the game and that was unfortunate," said Cowher postgame. "I called the team in after warmups and reminded them that Jerome didn't play in that game in Baltimore when we beat them."

A fired up team took the field and made it work with whoever was out there. The Steelers forced four turnovers and limited the Ravens to 150 yards and only seven first downs.

The Steelers jumped out to a 20-0 lead courtesy of two Amos Zereoue rushing touchdowns and two Kris Brown field goals and they never looked back.

The Ravens scored on a third quarter touchdown on a punt return by Jamal Lewis, but the Steelers put it away when Plaxico Burress caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Kordell Stewart.

The defense got pressure on quarterback Elvis Grbac, and Brent Alexander had two interceptions and Chad Scott added one. Joey Porter, Jason Gildon and Mike Jones added sacks.


January 21, 1979
Super Bowl XIII
Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31
Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Steelers and Cowboys met in Super Bowl XIII marking the first rematch in Super Bowl history. And the game lived up to the hype.

The Steelers jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth. The Cowboys answered, and then took a 14-7 lead when Cowboys’ linebacker Mike Hegman intercepted Bradshaw and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. Bradshaw got right back at it, and immediately countered with a 75-yard touchdown to Stallworth to tie the game. The Steelers went into halftime up 21-14 after Rocky Bleier pulled in a seven-yard touchdown catch.

The Cowboys appeared poised to tie the game in the third quarter when Roger Staubach found a wide open Jackie Smith in the end zone, but Smith slipped and fell and the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal to pull within 21-17. The Steelers scored two fourth quarter touchdowns, looking like they were going to put the game away up 35-17. The Cowboys wouldn’t quit and answered with 14 points, but time ran out on the comeback and the Steelers won their third Super Bowl.


January 21, 1992
Coach Bill Cowher hired

Bill Cowher was introduced as the 15th head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, succeeding Chuck Noll, who had led the Steelers to four Super Bowl Championships during his tenure. Cowher never sought to replace Noll, but instead to carry on the tradition that he had established.

“Chuck Noll is a legend, and it would be a mistake to ignore that success," said Cowher, during his introductory press conference. “It's something we won't try to put behind us, but will try to build on.”

Cowher spent 15 seasons as the Steelers coach, leading the team to postseason appearances in each of his first six seasons, tying an NFL record. In his 15 year tenure the Steelers made 10 postseason appearances, won eight division titles, played in six AFC Championship games and two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XL. Cowher ended his Steelers career with an overall record of 161-99-1 (.619), including a 149-90-1 (.623) mark in the regular season.


January 22, 2007
Mike Tomlin hired

Mike Tomlin became the 16th head coach in Steelers history on this day in 2007, succeeding Bill Cowher, and becoming only the third head coach since 1969.

“Mike’s core values are a good match for our organization,” said Steelers’ President Art Rooney II during Tomlin’s introductory press conference. “Mike wants to play the kind of football that has been the kind of football that the Pittsburgh Steelers have played and he will bring that approach to our team and I think he will play the kind of football that Steelers fans have come to appreciate through the years.”

Tomlin, who is now in his 10th season with the team, was honored to join the Steelers and showed his respect for the organization immediately.

“It is a great honor to be a part of the most storied franchise in all of professional sports,” said Tomlin during the same press conference. “We are coming to grips with what that means, but we are having fun. We intend to make no bold predictions about what we are going to do. What we are going to do is promise to have a first-class blue collar work ethic in how we approach our business.”


January 22, 2006
AFC Championship Game
Steelers 34, Denver Broncos 17
Invesco Field at Mile High

For the third straight week the underdog Steelers had to hit the road for what they knew was going to be a tough test against the AFC’s No. 2 seed Denver Broncos in the conference’s championship game, with a trip to Super Bowl XL hanging in the balance.

Getting off to an early lead was something the Steelers knew was paramount, and they did just that. Both teams exchanged field goals in the first half, but the Steelers scored three second quarter touchdowns, including a 12-yard reception by Cedrick Wilson, three-yard run by Jerome Bettis and 17-yard grab by Hines Ward from Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers went into the locker room at halftime up 24-3, and it was a lead the Broncos couldn’t overcome.

Roethlisberger, in just his second season, completed 21 passes for 275 yards and two touchdown passes, performing with the poise of a seasoned veteran.

When you get around Ben, he's much more mature than his age would indicate,” said Coach Bill Cowher postgame. “He's very much in control. He's a great competitor. He's got a great feel for the game and a lot of self‑confidence, and so this kid has been successful all of his life.  I don't think he knows what not having success is. We'll keep riding his coattails and hopefully there will be more to come.”

The Broncos scored two second half touchdowns, but the Steelers closed the door on any comeback attempt when Roethlisberger scored on a four-yard run for the 34-17 win and a trip to the Super Bowl.