The shoe string tackle heard 'round the world

Joe Robbins

When a team has a history as rich as the Pittsburgh Steelers, it can be easy to forget some of those moments that are by far unbelievable moments that shaped the organization into what it is today.

"Oh No. Oh my Gosh. Oh my Gosh. Somebody's gotta tackle him. Oh my Gosh."

Those words spoken by former Pittsburgh Steeler turned radio analyst, Tunch Ilkin, will forever be heard when thinking about the Steelers strange, exciting and downright sickening 2005 AFC divisional round victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

I recently did a favor for a friend who was writing a paper on fandom, and asked me to answer six easy questions about my love affair with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Final question: What was the best game you've ever seen your favorite team play?

Hands down it was this game. Some might say a Super Bowl game would trump a divisional round victory, and trust me they have all been great, but this game was different. Just recently while searching the internet, NFL.com listed it's top 5 plays of the 2000s, and it was the tackle made by Ben Roethlisberger that made the list, not the Santonio Holmes touchdown catch or the James Harrison interception return in Super Bowl 43.

This isn't about the list, it is about one of the craziest games in NFL playoff history. In case you forgot the background of the game itself, let me fill you in. The Steelers were't even supposed to make the playoffs. Standing at 7-5 when it was common knowledge they would need 11 wins to get into the playoffs, they simply ran the table to get in.

The 6th seed. Underdogs and on the road for every game gave fans little to be excited about. However, after beating Cincinnati (thank you Kimo Von Oelhoffen) in the wild card round, anything was possible, even against Peyton Manning.

The excitement stemmed from Joey Porter talking about how the Colts don't want to play a physical brand of football early in the week, which started plenty of buzz surrounding the matchup. That snow balled into the game that had the Steelers surprise everyone by having Ben Roethlisberger throw early and often to eventually take a 21-3 second half lead.

When it all looked to be as easy as it comes, it was a crazy and controversial call on a Troy Polamalu interception that gave the Colts new life. Peyton Manning started dissecting the Steelers' defense and made the game 21-18.

After Manning was sacked at his own two yard line on 4th down, it looked as if the game was over. Send in the closer, Jerome Bettis, to finish the game. Then this happened.

The tackle made by Roethlisberger could possibly be one of the more underrated plays in Steelers history. After all, how many times does a quarterback make a game saving tackle? Not very often.

Obviously, Steelers fans that saw the game know what happened next. Colts' kicker, Mike Vanderjagt, trots onto the field and yanks a potential game tying field goal as far right as imaginable. Three weeks later, the Steelers, and beloved Bettis, are hoisting the Lombardi trophy in Detroit.

This is a game that every Steelers fan can tell you where they were while watching. Going from elation to downright nausea in a matter of seconds after Bettis fumbled makes it one of the most memorable games in Steelers history, and one that re-defined an organization for years to come.

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