As the Steelers prepare to take on the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jan. 22, at Gillette Stadium, the organization is no stranger to playing in the AFC Championship Game.
They advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the 16th time in team history, the sixth time since 2000 and the first time since the 2010 season.
Steelers are 8-7 in AFC Championship games, and have won their last three appearances (2005, 2008, 2010).
Here is a look at some of those memorable AFC Championship Games.
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 early, 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. 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.
January 18, 2009AFC Championship Game
Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 14
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 23, 2011AFC Championship Game
Steelers 24, New York Jets 19
Heinz Field It was a cold night at Heinz Field, with game time temperature just 17 degrees and the wind chill 5, but the Steelers heated up fast.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall got the Steelers on the board first with a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Steelers lead grew in the second quarter after a Shaun Suisham field goal, and two-yard touchdown run by Ben Roethlisberger for a 17-0 lead. After cornerback Ike Taylor sacked Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, forcing a fumble that William Gay recovered and returned 19 yards for a touchdown and a 24-0 lead, it looked like the Steelers would be rolling. The Jets got on the board late in the half with a field goal, sending a confident Steelers team into the locker room up 24-3 at the half.
The Jets got the ball to start the second half and drove 90 yards on five plays that was capped by a 45-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to former Steelers' receiver Santonio Holmes to close the gap to 24-10. The Jets got a safety when Roethlisberger fumbled the snap from center Doug Legursky and then had to fall on the ball. The Jets got the ball and Sanchez connected with Jerricho Cotchery for a four-yard touchdown pass and to cut the lead to 24-19.
The Steelers got the ball back with 3:09 on the clock and did what they needed to, moving the chains twice before Roethlisberger was able to end the game by taking a knee three times for the win.* Just the facts:*
A few quick postseason notes for the Steelers.
- With the win over the Chiefs the Steelers have won 12 of their last 17 postseason games.
- Coach Mike Tomlin is now 8-5 in the postseason.
- Ben Roethlisberger is 13-6 as a starter in the postseason.
- Le'Veon Bell set a Steelers postseason record for yards rushing in a single game with 170 yards against the Chiefs. And whose record did he break? His own, set one week prior when he rushed for 167 yards against the Dolphins in the Wild Card Round.
Been there, done that:The Steelers go into the AFC Championship Game with a roster that has been there and done that as far as playing in the postseason.
Ben Roethlisberger leads all players with postseason experience, having played in 19 postseason games in his career, and he is tied with Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris for most playoff game appearances in Steelers' history. William Gay has played in 18 total games, 17 with the Steelers plus one with the Cincinnati Bengals, followed by Greg Warren (14), William Gay and Ryan Shazier (13), Ramon Foster (9), Antonio Brown (8) and Marcus Gilbert, Darrius Heyward-Bey, David Johnson, and Mike Mitchell (6). Heyward-Bey played in five with the Steelers and one with Indianapolis, while Mitchell played in five with the Steelers and one with Carolina.
The team has eight players who have played in five postseason games, including David DeCastro, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Arthur Moats, Maurkice Pouncey, Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt and Vince Williams.
Numbers don't lie:
The Steelers have a strong history in the postseason, and the numbers prove it.
The Steelers are 36-24 all-time in the postseason. The 36 wins are the most postseason wins of any team in NFL history.
The team has 29 playoff berths since the 1970 NFL merger, the most of any other NFL team. The Dallas Cowboys are second to the Steelers with 28.
The Steelers also have won the most division titles of any NFL team, 22, since the 1970 merger. This is the seventh time they have won the AFC North since the divisions were re-aligned in 2002, at which point the Steelers, Bengals, Browns and Ravens were placed in the same division. It's the fifth time since 2007 that the team has won the AFC North (2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2016). Overall the Steelers have won their division 22 times, capturing the AFC Central (Steelers, Houston Oilers, Bengals, and Browns) 15 times.