By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com Everyone in Raymond James Stadium was holding their collective breath as the ball was snapped. Those on the Cardinals side hoping for one thing while Steelers fans were hoping for a different outcome.
There was just 18 ticks left on the clock in the first half and the Cardinals were on the verge of either going ahead with a touchdown at the half or at the worst tying the game at 10-10 with a field goal.
With the ball on the one-yard line, Kurt Warner took the shotgun snap and looked for Anquan Boldin. As he tossed the ball towards Boldin, linebacker James Harrison appeared out of nowhere, picking him off at the goal line.
"I got the pick," said Harrison. You know we had them matched up and it was kind of like, give it time, and I slid over to the right and he threw it right to my hands, and I took off."
The immediate reaction was a sigh of relief from the Steelers faithful knowing they would go into the half up by three. Then, the stadium came to life as Harrison plowed his way down the field like a bull in a china shop, knocking over everyone that got in his way en route to a 100-yard touchdown return, the longest play in Super Bowl history.
When he finally went down in the end zone he could barely get up, part of it from hitting off the ground and the other from sheer exhaustion.
"I kinked my neck a little bit and air was a problem too," said Harrison. "It was very tiring, but it was all worth it," said Harrison. "I was just thinking that I had to do whatever I could to get to the other end zone and get seven. I just wanted to help my team win, that was it. That was all I was thinking about."
And as he was running down the field, he had to have been thinking 'Are we there yet?'
"I was going to make it. I'm not going to lie, it was a quarter tank,' said Harrison. "But I ended up making it. You know (the field) got short when I first started and then it got long again and then it got a little shorter towards the middle and then the end I was just, I am already here there is no need to try and stop," said Harrison. "You just got to keep going."
Harrison got help along the way from teammates blocking and delivering hits on the Cardinals, but they stayed hot on his trail until the very end.
"I was seeing jerseys that were friendly and jersey's that weren't," said Harrison. "That is really about it. I saw two jerseys that weren't friendly at the end, and that was it."
By that point, it was too late.