Looking back on the Steelers Super Bowl XLIII offensive linemen

Karl Walter

It isn't going down as the best group in Steelers history, but it took until the offseason before the 2013 season for the final remnants of the Super Bowl XLIII offensive line be cleared off the roster.

In many ways, Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, and not Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, was the rightful MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.

Blasphemy, I know.

No one can deny Dockett's impact on that game. His performance, combined with a Steelers' Week 3 loss when they allowed nine sacks - the Eagles had three players with more than one - launched a revolution among the Steelers' offensive line depth chart.

In fact, that game, a dramatic 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals, was the final game for a few Steelers offensive linemen, and marked the last game in the final season with the Steelers for a few others.

They are all off the roster now. The Steelers starting tackles in Super Bowl XLIII, Max Starks (San Diego) and Willie Colon (N.Y. Jets) signed elsewhere this offseason, officially removing every starter from that team's offensive line.

Rookie Darnell Stapleton took over for Kendall Simmons at right guard in Week 4, starting the remainder of the season. It would be his last season in Pittsburgh, and in the NFL.

The starting right guard in the Super Bowl suffered a knee injury in the following offseason and did not ever play again.

Stapleton was replaced by Trai Essex, who would start 16 games at right guard in 2009. Essex was replaced by Ramon Foster, and ended up in Indianapolis for two games in 2012. He's currently a free agent.

Simmons would technically play four more games in his career with the Buffalo Bills, but that career came to an end after he was waived after three games.

Marvel Smith, the Steelers starting left tackle at the start of the season, was replaced by Starks after five games due to injury, and would not play another NFL game, a back injury finally ending his outstanding career.

Starting center Justin Hartwig started all 16 of the Steelers' games in 2009, but would be unceremoniously (and thankfully) dropped by the Steelers in 2010, after rookie Maurkice Pouncey beat him out for the starting job.

Left guard Chris Kemoeatu would play through the 2011 season, where he battled through injuries and eventually would be replaced by Foster and Colon.

The Steelers' offensive line is one of the big question marks heading into the 2013 season, but the transformation the unit has had since its last championship run has been completed. Some would say thankfully so.

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