On this day in Steelers history the team won their fifth Super Bowl and Jerome Bettis retired on football's biggest stage.
February 5, 2006
Super Bowl XL
Ford Field, Detroit Michigan
Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10
The setting was Detroit, Michigan, but you never would have known by the crowd as Steelers fans packed Ford Field and Terrible Towels were all the eye could see.
It was a homecoming for Jerome Bettis, the beloved running back who thought about retiring the year before, but was convinced to play another season by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who promised he would get him to the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit.
The Seahawks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but it would be the only lead they would see. After a slow start the Steelers got on the board late in the first half when Ben Roethlisberger capped an 11-play, 59-yard drive with a one-yard dive for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead heading into halftime.
The Steelers offense caught fire to start the second half when Willie Parker broke free for a 75-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 14-3. The Seahawks kept it close after Kelly Herndon intercepted Roethlisberger at the four-yard line and returned it 76 yards to the Steelers 20-yard line. Matt Hasselbeck hit Jerramy Stevens for a 16-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-10.
Ike Taylor thwarted a go-ahead effort by the Seahawks when he intercepted Hasselbeck in the fourth quarter and a sweet gadget play sealed the game for the Steelers. Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El took a reverse handoff and hit Hines Ward for a 43-yard scoring strike, Ward finishing the game with five catches for 123 yards and MVP honors.
The Steelers had a tough road to get to Super Bowl XL, winning the last four games of the season and three road playoff games, but for Coach Bill Cowher it was a ride he will always remember.
"We did a Thursday night game in Detroit this year with CBS and it was the first time I stepped on that field since the Super Bowl," said Cowher a few weeks ago while in Denver for the AFC Championship game. "It was special. It was a really special team. It might not have been our best team during my time there, but it was our closest team. I think you realize in this business that the chemistry that you have on the team is more important than the talent that you have. We had good players, we had great players. We had a very special team. They were close to one another, they played for one another.
"Nothing was more evident of that than what they were able to do with Jerome at the forefront of that journey to Detroit. It was a great year. Our backs were against the wall with four games to go in the season and we go on to win eight straight games and win the championship. It was a very special journey."
February 5, 2006
Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis retires
Jerome Bettis accomplished what he set out to do when he started playing football, win a Super Bowl championship, and just moments after the final gun sounded in Super Bowl XL he called it quits.
Bettis stood on the stage in the middle of Ford Field with the Lombardi Trophy in his hand, and brought his playing career to a triumphant end after the Steelers defeated the Seahawks to become champions.
"It's been an incredible ride," said Bettis. "There is always a time you have to call it quits. I played this game to win a championship. I am a champion and I think The Bus' last stop is here in Detroit."
Bettis began his career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1993 but had his best days once he was traded to the Steelers on draft day in 1996. Bettis rushed for 10,571 yards with the Steelers, and amassed 13,662 career yards, which puts him sixth overall in NFL history. Bettis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2015.
Take a look at former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis during one of his most memorable performances.