The fine folks at SB Nation asked each website to think about a moment in their favorite team’s history where everyone would remember if they asked, “Where were you then?”
For the Pittsburgh Steelers’ faithful, a lot of crucial moments on the gridiron might be given as answers — the classic games of the 1970s — the Super Bowl wins. But I wanted to find a moment which was relatively recent, not only to include our younger readers, but also a moment when fans experienced both extremes of the emotional spectrum.
The first play that came to mind was the Jerome Bettis fumble in the 2005-2006 AFC Divisional playoff game vs. the Colts.
Let’s set the stage:
Joey Porter had just sacked Peyton Manning to seemingly seal the victory for the Black-and-gold. Out onto the field trots the closer, Bettis, and the goal-line offense. With Dan Kreider in the backfield, Jerame Tuman goes in motion and it’s a classic lead play for Bettis. Then, this happened...
We all know how the play and the game ended, but to bring things back full-circle, the question is “Where were you?”
For me, due to satellite issues, myself, my brother, his wife, my parents, and my wife (girlfriend at the time) were forced to cram into a small two-bedroom apartment in Shepherdstown, WV, with a fraternity brother and a slew of other Steelers fans to watch the game.
There were so many people in this small space it was very hot — not enough seats for everyone and tension was high. The exultation that erupted when Porter sacked Manning is something hard to describe. Grown men tackling each other, hugging and even shedding a tear over the upset no one thought was possible.
But when Bettis coughed up the football, the swing from ecstasy to nearly vomiting is something I’ll never forget. The small apartment was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. We were all in disbelief at what happened. Other than a few expletives and continued anger regarding the overturned Troy Polamalu interception earlier in the game, everyone expected the worst as Peyton Manning took over around midfield.
When Mike Vanderjagt missed the kick, the celebration was awesome, but not as unbridled as after the sack when everyone assumed the game was in hand.
It was one of the best — and worst — Steelers moments of my life and one which I’ll never forget.
So, where were you when ‘The Bus’ fumbled? And what was the scene like where you were? Let us know in the comment section below!