Steelers Win With XL Effort
The Steelers tried to answer in the second quarter, but Michael Boulware's interception of Ben Roethlisberger stalled Pittsburgh. After a defensive stand by Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a 12 play, 59 yard drive including a one yard TD run by the Pittsburgh quarterback. Seattle drove the ball back down the field, with time winding down in the first half, but Josh Brown missed a 54 yard field goal with two seconds remaining.
Willie Parker and the Steelers took charge in the second half with a 75 yard TD run on Pittsburgh's second play from scrimmage. The run by Parker was the longest in Super Bowl history, surpassing Oakland Raiders running back Marcus Allen's 74 yard rumble against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. Pittsburgh tried to go for the kill with the ball deep in Seattle territory, but Roethlisberger threw his second interception to Seahawks cornerback Kelly Herndon. Herndon returned the ball 76 yards to the Steelers' 20 yard line. Three plays later, Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck connected with outspoken tight end Jerramy Stevens for a 16 yard touchdown pass to cut the Steelers lead to 14-10.
Hasselbeck lead the Seahawks again into Steelers' territory, but threw an interception to Pittsburgh's Ike Taylor that was returned 24 yards. A 15 yard penalty for a low cut block on Hasselbeck moved the Steelers into prime scoring position. Steelers' coach Bill Cowher then dipped into his bag of tricks, and pulled out a 43 yard wide receiver reverse pass from Antwaan Randle El to Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward. The veteran Ward had five catches for 123 yards, and was part of the only touchdown pass in Super Bowl history thrown by a wide receiver.
Ben Roethlisberger finished with 9 pass completions in 21 attempts, for 123 yards with two interceptions. It was the work with his feet that helped the Steelers though, his seven rushes for 25 yards, including the touchdown, kept the Steelers in the game. Matt Hasselbeck went 26/49 for 273 yards, with the lone Ike Taylor interception. NFL MVP Seahawks' running back Shaun Alexander had 20 carries for 95 yards, his longest run being 21 yards. Pittsburgh's famed ground attack was led by Willie Parker's 10 carries for 93 yards, including the record-setting 75 yard scamper. Short-yardage threat and Detroit native Jerome Bettis carried the ball 14 times for 43 yards. Seattle wide receiver Darrell Jackson tied a Super Bowl record with five receptions in the first quarter for 50 yards, but was denied any catches for the rest of the game.
This Super Bowl win marks the fifth in franchise history for the Pittsburgh Steelers, tying them with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys for the most overall. It was also the first Super Bowl victory for a number six seed, and a wild card team, since the NFL established a wild card playoff round in 1978. The Steelers also became the first team to win three straight playoff games on the road, and go on to win the Super Bowl as well. The 1985 New England Patriots won all road games in the postseason only to lose to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX. This victory gave Pittsburgh eight wins overall to close out the season. The Super victory was the first for Cowher, the only coach known to Pittsburgh other than Chuck Knoll, who led the Steelers to four Super Bowls in the '70s. Cowher's Steelers appeared in Super Bowl XXX, but lost to the Cowboys 27-17. There was only experience on the Steelers' coaching staff, however, none of the 45 active players for Pittsburgh had ever played in the NFL's championship game. Bettis had a meeting with Pittsburgh owner Dan Rooney to announce his retirement. A Super Bowl victory for Pittsburgh ended a career that spanned 13 years and two NFL teams, ending with his crowning jewel, hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy after Super Bowl XL.