It’s Super Bowl time once again and Steelers fans that sit down to watch the extravaganza including former players and coaches that donned black-and-gold will feel somewhat left out of the excitement. But there were days when that wasn’t the case through six Super Bowl championships. Nobody can forget the five men whose MVP performances made those victories possible. Guys with monikers like Franco, Swanny, TB, Hines and Tone have been immortalized in Steeler Nation for winning Best in Show honors. But many more men to don the hypocycloids on their domes besides Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes were responsible for those six rings. BTSC has prepared a ranking of the best-of-the-best not to be awarded the MVP trophies on those six championship teams.
Franco Harris - Super Bowl XIV
Franco, the MVP of Super Bowl IX, was paramount in every big game of the 70s. Two of Harris’ 46-yards on the grounds led No. 32 to pay dirt, the first and last scores of the contest. Franco also added three receptions for 66-vital yards.
Lynn Swann Super Bowl XIV
Swanny was knocked out of the game in Pasadena by Pat Thomas in the third quarter of this game, but his contributions were considerable. No. 88 battled double coverage for an acrobatic 47-yard score and left with five grabs for 79 total yards.
Larry Anderson - Super Bowl XIV
The return specialist was far down the list of names of the Steelers’ Dynasty of the 1970s, but his performance in Super Bowl XIV was phenomenal. No. 30 had five kick returns for 162 yards and an average of 32.4 ypr.
Jack Lambert - Super Bowl XIV
With 5:24 remaining in the game, the Rams were trailing by five and drove all the way down to the Steeler 32. When a touchdown could have been lethal, “Jack Splat” went airborne to snag a Vince Ferragamo pass and essentially put the champagne on ice for the team’s fourth championship of the decade.
Ike Taylor - Super Bowl XL
Ike was never known to have the best hands, he only had 17 career picks in 12 NFL seasons. But one of those rare interceptions came with the Steelers clinging to a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Matt Hasselbeck heaved a third-down pass towards Darrell Jackson near the Steelers’ end zone. Ike pulled the pigskin out of the air and raced 24 yards. Less than two minutes later, Antwaan Randle-El tossed the legendary TD pass to Hines Ward and the final score of the first Steeler SB victory in 26 years.
LaMarr Woodley - Super Bowl XLIII
Woodley was usually a force in the post season. His first sack of Kurt Warner in Tampa was big. But his second, a strip sack, was recovered by Brett Keisel to secure Lombardi #6.
The Top Ten
10) Willie Parker and Alan Faneca - Super Bowl XL
Typically a Steeler running play in 2005 consisted of FB Dan Kreider blasting a hole for Willie Parker to run through. But on second-and-ten at their own 25, the Steelers called for the 34 Counter Pike. This play was mostly a short-yardage, one-back set run used for Jerome Bettis on the goal line. But on the second play of the second half, Alan Faneca pulled and blasted Seattle LB Leroy Hill to free “Fast Willie”. Parker would sprint 75 (of his 93 yards on the day) to give Pittsburgh a 14-3 lead and own the longest TD run in the history of the Super Bowl. It was quite possibly the greatest combo of block and run in Steeler history.
9) Dwight White - Super Bowl IX
“Mad Dog” holds the distinction of being the first Pittsburgh Steeler to score in a Super Bowl. His safety, the result of tackling the ultra-mobile Fran Tarkenton in the end zone after a fumble, was impressive on it’s own. So was his batted-pass that resulted in a Joe Greene interception. But doing those things hours after losing 20 pounds and just having been released from the hospital shortly following a bout of viral pneumonia at a rainy Tulane Stadium in New Orleans is stuff of legend. No. 78 spent the week after the Super Bowl back in the hospital.
8) Lynn Swann - Super Bowl XIII
The balletic Swann loved playing the Cowboys. Three years after an MVP performance over Tom Landry’s club, No. 88 hauled-in seven passes for 124 yards and the decisive 18-yarder with 6:57 left to play.
7) Joe Greene - Super Bowl IX
On a rainy and muddy day in Louisiana, “Mean Joe” led a dominating defense that shut out the Minnesota offenses do held them to 17 yards rushing and 119 total. If it wasn’t for a blocked punt, the Vikings would have been the only team to be held scoreless with the Lombardi on the line. No. 75 had both a crucial interception and a fumble recovery on his stat line as well.
6) L.C. Greenwood - Super Bowl X
“Hollywood Bags” had a glamorous day in Miami in 1976. In a tight game that didn’t feature a lot of scoring, the man with the golden shoes set up a time share in Roger Staubach’s real estate. Although sacks were not an official stat, Greenwood tallied four that day.
5) John Stallworth - Super Bowl XIII
Had the Alabama A&M star not been injured to miss the second half of football, his stat line could have been legendary. Stallworth caught only three balls, but they garnered 115 yards and two scores - one 75 yards and another for 28.
4) Jack Lambert - Super Bowl X
Lambert had 14 tackles at the Orange Bowl that day, but his biggest one was the tone setter. Kicker Roy Gerela made a TD saving tackle on the opening kickoff that badly bruised his ribs and affected his kicking. With the Steelers down 10-7 in the third, Cliff Harris mocked Gerela for missing his second FG attempt by patting him on the head, Lambert reacted and threw Harris to the ground to show Dallas that the Steelers couldn’t and wouldn’t be intimidated. The action by No. 58 spearheaded the turnaround and the Steelers won 21-17.
3) Ben Roethlisberger - Super Bowl XLIII
Ben’s Super Bowl debut in February of 2006 wasn’t great at all, but it helped bring back Lombardi to Pittsburgh. His second foray could have netted him the last Cadillac Escalade to be awarded to an MVP, but the ride went to Santonio Holmes who caught Ben’s game-winning TD pass with :35 left. To get there, Big Ben engineered an 88-yard drive that culminated in one of the greatest plays in the history of the big game. On the day, Roethlisberger completed 21-of-30 for 256 yards and that one score for six yards to put the Steelers ahead for good.
2) James Harrison - Super Bowl XLIII
James Harrison had four tackles and two quarterback hits in Super Bowl 43, but the big story was his decision to drop into coverage at the end of the first half. The Steelers worked on this scenario in practice a few days before and it paid off. Kurt Warner had led the Cardinals to the two-yard line and was on the verge of taking a 14-10 lead into the half. With the Steelers on an all-out blitz, Warner looked for Anquan Boldin who should have been all alone. But Harrison started his blitz and then dropped back to intercept the ball. Thwarting the drive wasn’t good enough for Deebo as he followed a convoy of blockers for 100 swerve and lung-collapsing yards and a 17-7 lead at the half. It would become one of the greatest defensive plays and the longest score in Super Bowl lore.
1) John Stallworth - Super Bowl XIV
Terry Bradshaw was once again the MVP of the Super Bowl, but Stallworth very well could have won the distinction for his epic performance at the Rose Bowl in January of 1980. No. 82 only had three catches on the day, but they were huge. With 12:15 remaining in the game, the original TB12 found Stallworth for a 73-yard score on a third-and-eight on their own 27. This gave the Steelers the lead back. But on third-and-seven at their own 33, the duo put the game away with a 45-yard collaboration. Stallworth’s Non-MVP day ended with 121 yards and a fourth Lombardi for the Steel City.