The Steelers and their fanbase watched as Ben Roethlisberger's final pass clanged to the ground, giving Green Bay a 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV, an odd, momentum-shifting game that turned away from Pittsburgh's favor in the fourth quarter.
Stephon Tuitt was senior in high school in February, 2011, having committed to Notre Dame, where he would play as a true freshman. He experienced the bitterness of defeat in his own right, having been on the receiving end of an Alabama rout in the 2012 National Championship game his sophomore year.
He compared his experience in losing that game, not to the Steelers' loss to the Packers, but the six other championships the franchise has won.
"I am glad to be a part of a city where the city revolves around the football team," Tuitt told Steelers.com reporter Teresa Varley. "I can’t wait to produce. I made it to a championship before with my team and we fell short. I know that feeling. To be here and be a part of a team that won those championships is awesome. To be a part of a team that is a contender every year is awesome and makes you just want to work harder. Being here playing for the Steelers in special."
The Steelers haven't won a playoff game since then, and Tuitt's Fighting Irish never sniffed a national title again. Pittsburgh narrowly missed the playoffs in 2013 after an 0-4 start nearly derailed their season.
Tuitt could contribute early in his career, helping to fill in an overhauled defensive line at various points this offseason. Cam Thomas was signed, Brett Keisel is still a free agent, Ziggy Hood signed with the Jaguars and Al Woods signed with the Titans. The new look - size in particular - gives the Steelers an opportunity to play in multiple alignments and looks.
If they are going to go down that route, Tuitt will play a bunch. And if the Steelers are going to get back to a Super Bowl, players like Tuitt will need to be prepared for it.