The Elite 8 is here, and the choices have been very interesting. No dynasty Super Bowl moments remain, arguably a generational result of the voting. But there is still a lot of variety. Troy and Ben both appear twice, but there’s a Willie Parker run, a Randle El throw, and of course, a James Harrison interception. Let’s see who’s knocking on the door of the Final Four.
1 - The Immaculate Reception - 12/23/72 AFC Divisional Round
Tourney recap: Won its 1st round match with 94.7% of the twitter vote & 93% of website vote. Won its 2nd round match with 98% of the vote. Won the Sweet 16 round with 98% of the vote.
The Play: Nuff Said
Not Vikings, but a piece of NFL History here. With Franco Harris passing, we wanted to show you the 4k enhanced coaches film of the Immaculate Reception. Did the ball hit off Jack Tatum (required then for Franco to catch it)? Did Franco catch the ball B4 it hit the ground? pic.twitter.com/9Cd4Kg5tnK— VikeFans (@VikeFans) December 28, 2022
3 - “The Tackle” - 1/15/06 AFC Divisional
Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 91% of the website vote and 87% of the twitter vote. Won round 2 with 94% of the vote. Won the Sweet 16 round with 91% of the vote.
The play: A shoestring tackle that saved the entire season. One of Ben’s greatest plays is one of the ugliest.
17 years ago today during the AFC Divisional playoff game at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Jerome Bettis fumbled on the Colts 2 yard line. 6'5" Ben Roethlisberger made the Immaculate Tackle on Colts DB Nick Harper with 1:11 left in the game and the Steelers won 21-18. pic.twitter.com/1x2d8nPW7c— Billy Hartford (@DevinBushFan) January 15, 2023
Bonus Commentary: Surprisingly, Franco has the last remaining play from the Dynasty era. But I’d argue this play is more symbolic than actual. Take away the Immaculate Reception, and we lose a lot of mythos, but the dynasty probably still happens. Take away The Tackle, and Ben doesn’t get his first Super Bowl, and probably takes a lot longer before he has Hall of Fame consideration.
This poll is closed
1: Immaculate Reception
3: The Tackle
1 - Ben to Santonio for the Win - 2/1/09 Super Bowl XLIII
Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 98% of the website vote and 91% of the twitter vote. Won round 2 with 95% of the vote. Won the Sweet 16 round with 91% of the vote.
The Play: What’s better, the catch or the throw? With 35 seconds left, the Steelers retake the lead, 27-23, after giving up 16 unanswered 4th-quarter points to the Cardinals.
On this day 14 years ago, Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes gave us one of the best finishes in Super Bowl history pic.twitter.com/vIRbQ5t2YE— NFL on ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsNFL) February 1, 2023
3 - Fast Willie Takes it to the House - 2/5/06 Super Bowl XL
Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 85% of the website vote and 77.3% of the twitter vote. Defeated the Polamalu Plunge in round 2, 54%-46%. Beat the Levitating Leap in the Sweet 16, 60%-40%
The play: The longest TD run in Super Bowl history. It gave the Steelers a 14-3 lead in the third quarter against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
February 5, 2006 SB XL. Steelers RB Willie Parker set a record for the longest rushing TD in SB history with this 75 yard run. HOF guard Alan Faneca made a great block on Seattle LB Leroy Hill. "Fast Willie" outran Seahawks safety Eric Pruitt and took it all the way to the house. pic.twitter.com/alqcA44Jf6— Billy Hartford (@DevinBushFan) February 5, 2023
Bonus Commentary: Ben in the fourth. I think that’s all that needs to be said, all due respect to the Willie play.
This poll is closed
1: Ben to Holmes
3: Fast Willie TD
CHIPPED HAM BRACKET
2 - Randle El’s Reverse Pass - 2/5/06 Super Bowl XL
Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 100% of the twitter vote and 89% of the website vote. Won round 2 with 85% of the vote. Won the Sweet 16 round, beating Swann’s Flying Circus catch 67%-33%.
The play: Willie Parker takes the pitch and hands off to Antwaan Randle El on the reverse, who throws it to Hines Ward for the 43-yd touchdown. It gives the Steelers a 21-10 lead against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
Randel El to Ward in Super Bowl 40. Such an iconic play! #steelers pic.twitter.com/hGFHrmfjjN— Steelercrew (@Steelercrew6x) July 21, 2019
13 - Troy’s Strip Sack - 12/5/10 Week 13
Tourney recap: The Cinderella story continues. This upset Jack Ham’s pick of Stabler with 74% of the website vote and 75% of the twitter vote in the first round. Then it upset the Maddox Wildcard Comeback in the 2nd round with 78% of the vote. In the Sweet 16, it upset Stallworth’s Super Bowl 14 TD with 54% of the vote.
The play: The Division title and a 1st round bye were on the line. Baltimore was winning 10-6 and had 3 and change left on the clock. They just needed a couple first downs to end the game. With a 2nd and 5 at their own 43, Pittsburgh blitzed Timmons and Troy. Ray Rice could only pick one.
2010 Troy Polamalu Strip Sack that led to division title. 3 Minutes left on the clock and counting, all the Ravens had to do was pick up a couple first downs and this game was over. NOPE. Troy off the edge untouched. Solid game plan. pic.twitter.com/ulRZUzBRFE— Tone Digs (@ToneDigz) November 4, 2018
Bonus commentary: Wow. I didn’t see the Troy play going this far. At this point, maybe even Franco should watch his back.
This poll is closed
2: Randle El to Ward
13: Troy’s Strip Sack
BANANA SPLIT BRACKET
1 - Harrison’s Hundred-Yard INT - 2/1/09 Super Bowl XLIII
Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 95.6% of the twitter vote and 97% of the website vote. Won round two with 96% of the vote. Won the Sweet 16 round with 96% of the vote.
The play: 1st and goal at the 1 with 18 seconds left in the first half. James Harrison steps in front of Anquan Boldin and makes his way 100 yards for a touchdown. Instead of trailing at the half, the Steelers lead 17-7.
#Steelers linebacker James Harrison's coast-to-coast pick-six to end the first half of Super Bowl XLIII— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) February 1, 2023
The longest interception return in #SuperBowl history — 100 yards
14 years ago today pic.twitter.com/oya6ENNZF6
2 - Troy’s Pick 6 - 1/18/09 AFC Championship
Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 95.2% of the twitter vote and 94% of the website vote. Defeated Lambert’s shove of Cliff Harris in the 2nd round by a 60%-40% margin. Won the Sweet 16 round with 88% of the vote.
The play: The Steelers had a 16-14 lead in the 4th, but Flacco 4:38 to drive down the field. Instead, Deebo applied the pressure, and Troy took it to the house.
Troy Polamalu's 40 yard pick six against the Ravens in the 2008 AFC Championship is one the greatest plays in Steelers franchise history. James Harrison doesn't get enough credit for pressuring Joe Flacco on this play. pic.twitter.com/Mdk45JuPm0— Billy Hartford (@DevinBushFan) January 19, 2023
Bonus Commentary: Deebo is gonna have to defeat arguably the best moment ever from Heinz Field to move on.
This poll is closed
1: Deebo’s INT
2: Troy’s Pick-6
We’ll unveil the Final Four next week!
Kyle Chrise is the host of the Steel Curtain Network podcast “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout.” New episodes are released every Thursday.