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Under-the-radar plays in Super Bowl lore

Posted Feb 10, 2016

Super Bowl plays that have their place in Steelers’ history.

There are unforgettable plays that have become plays for the ages because of the stage, because of their spectacular nature and because of their impact on what is annually the NFL’s biggest game.

But Super Bowls are filled with game-influencing plays as well as game-changing efforts.

They might not be remembered as vividly or revisited with as much gusto each season while pouring over the highlights, but such plays still have their place in Steelers’ history.

Following are eight under-the-radar Super Bowl moments:

Super Bowl IX -
Vikings’ first-and-goal from the Steelers’ 5-yard line, 12:52 left in the fourth quarter: The Vikings trail, 9-0, but have an opportunity to cut into the deficit after a pass interference penalty against Steelers S Mike Wagner. But the defense digs in and Steelers DT Joe Greene forces and recovers a fumble by Minnesota RB Chuck Foreman to end the threat.

Although the Vikings would subsequently score a touchdown on a blocked punt, Greene’s effort symbolized what he and the defense were capable of when backed into a corner and why they were a driving force throughout what became a 16-6 victory.

Super Bowl X -
Cowboys’ fourth-and-13 from the Steelers’ 16, 11:56 left in the fourth quarter: The Cowboys lead, 10-7, but the Steelers get a huge boost in momentum when RB Reggie Harrison blocks Mitch Hoops’ punt and the ball bounces out of the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing possession the Steelers add a field goal for a 12-10 lead. They never trailed again on the way to a 21-17 triumph.

Super Bowl XIII -
Steelers’ kickoff, 7:10 left in the fourth quarter: Everyone, presumably, remembers Dallas DT Randy White’s fumble on the return of K Roy Gerela’s bouncing boot. But the nature of LB Dirt Winston’s recovery is worth revisiting. RB Sidney Thornton had a shot at the ball but missed, as did G Steve Courson. Eventually, DB Tony Dungy reached for it before getting buried by a pile of bodies.

Winston was standing next to the pile but wasn’t a part of it initially. As WR Theo Bell jumped up out of the pile and signaled Steelers’ ball, Winston jumped in, just ahead of the arrival of a couple of officials to sort the mess out. Winston made it all the way to the bottom and somehow got to the ball. When the officials finally officially signaled Steelers’ ball, it was Winston who was in possession of it.

A touchdown pass on the next play from QB Terry Bradshaw to WR Lynn Swann gave the Steelers a 35-17 lead. They’d eventually win it, 35-31.

Super Bowl XIV -
Rams’ third-and-10 from the Steelers’ 13, 49 seconds left in the second quarter: The game was tied at 10-10 and Los Angeles was threatening to head into the locker room at halftime with a seven-point lead. But DE John Banaszak’s sack of QB Vince Ferragamo resulted in a 14-yard loss. A field goal on fourth down provided a 13-10 advantage for the Rams and some much-needed momentum for the Steelers, who would go on to win, 31-19.

Super Bowl XL - Steelers’ third-and-goal from the Seahawks’ 1, 2:00 left in the second quarter: A roll left by QB Ben Roethlisberger and a lunge at the goal line resulted in a touchdown and a 7-3 lead. The Steelers, who hadn’t managed a first down in the first quarter, also gained some much-needed traction on the way to a 21-10 victory.

Super Bowl XLIII -
Cardinals’ first-and-10 from the Steelers’ 44, 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter: The perspective on the Arizona sideline was the game wasn’t over after Roethlisberger’s 6-yard pass to WR Santonio Holmes had given the Steelers a 27-23 lead with 35 seconds left in regulation. The hope there was to get to the Steelers’ side of the 50 and then have QB Kurt Warner heave one deep for WR Larry Fitzgerald. Would Fitzgerald have actually come down with such a last-second attempt and stolen the game back for Arizona? We’ll never know.

LB LaMarr Woodley sacked Warner and forced a fumble and DE Brett Keisel recovered and after that it was over.