I'm only 26 years old, but even in that time I've seen plenty of crazy Pittsburgh Steelers moments. There are so many that even in Jeff Hartman's All-Time Pittsburgh Steelers' Greatest Plays Bracket, sixteen seeds left out so many classic moments that many fans could have argued should have been there. (James Harrison's interception return won by the way. Go modern Steelers fans!)
I guess that's one of the things that happens when you root for the NFL's most successful franchise in the Super Bowl era, you get so many exciting and great moments that you can't fit all of them into a selection of 16 plays to choose from and not feel like you're leaving out some amazing moments that stick with fans throughout their lives.
Part of what have always made those moments for me was the environment I was in at the time, who was around me, and how I reacted. Sometimes those great moments can be shared with family, friends, or even random strangers and the moments of pure joy with whoever you were around become ingrained in your memory along with the great play you just witnessed. In some ways, those moments can add to why a certain Steelers' play might stick out in your head more than the other.
So we here at BTSC want to hear all the different and best reaction stories each of you might have! No matter what the game was, share your stories in the comment section. We are going for intense stories where you've completely lost your mind, when you saw someone else lose their mind and it fired you up, or when you might have had a moment where you stood up gloating in front of a large group of non-Steelers fans, proud over what you just saw. They can be live moments when you're at the game, moments watching on TV, or even listening to the radio while at work or in the car.
The stories that get the most rec's or are just flat-out amazing will be shared in a later article, highlighting the author and the full reaction they provided in the comments in this article. We want to promote the great moments that many of you might have had from watching our favorite football franchise.
To give you an idea of what we're looking for, we've collected a few examples of such stories from our BTSC writers to share.
2010 was a crazy year for me, and the Steelers' success that year was a big part of it. After a long Sunday, I sat down to watch the Steelers' second showdown with the Ravens in Baltimore for what would be a decisive game in the division title chase.
I had been so busy that day that I had not had a chance to eat and the delivery guy for pizza that night ran really late. So when it was late in the fourth quarter, I was tired and hungry, but most importantly, I was WIRED into the game. The defensive slobber-knocker was going back and forth all night and when the Ravens had the ball late, you knew the team needed to make a big play so the offense could get on the board. We all know that this came in the form of Troy Polamalu blitzing off the edge to sack Joe Flacco and force a fumble which LaMarr Woodley would recover.
The truth is though, I can't remember seeing Woodley being tackled after he recovered the ball. When Polamalu forced the fumble I jumped out my seat screaming like I had caught the Holy Ghost. When Woodley scooped the ball, the last thing I remember was screaming "GOOOOOOO!"
But the next thing I knew, my friends were waking me up as I laid face flat on the floor. I had screamed so loud and jumped up so quickly that I blacked out from the rush of blood to my head, but according to my friends, I didn't care, because when I fully recovered they said the first thing I said when I opened my eyes was something to the affect of, "IT'S GOTTA BE THE HAIRRRR!" I know, I have issues.
Sequencing into how this helped me save my sister a year later, we were both in University of Phoenix Stadium watching the Steelers taking on the Cardinals. The entire day we were amazed by how many more Steelers fans there were than Cardinals fans in Glendale, Arizona. In the 2nd quarter when Mike Wallace caught a bomb from Roethlisberger that would result in a 95 yard touchdown pass, both of us jumped to our feet, screaming out of excitement of the play.
Knowing that Wallace was not going to be caught I looked at my sister to high five her, but I saw her face and it was the same exact description from my friends of what I looked like when I passed out a year ago. Right as she started to unconsciously fall forward into the rows in front of us, I was able to catch her and sit her down gently into her chair.
When she recovered, the first thing she said was, "HE'S JUST TOO FAST! WOOO!!!"
Being a Steelers fan since January of 1980, there are several great seasons and moments I can think back on and remember as truly magical. However, the one year filled with several magical moments that never grows old for me was 1995--the Steelers ride to their first Super Bowl in 16 seasons.
Entering the '95 season, the Steelers were true Super Bowl contenders. However, you might say the psyche of the team may have been reeling just a tad after Pittsburgh's upset loss to the Chargers in the AFC Championship game at old Three Rivers Stadium that ended what had been an awesome 1994 campaign, the best Steelers season in 15 years. Leading up to the showdown with the Chargers, the only question seemed to be, who would Pittsburgh face in the Super Bowl--the 49ers or Cowboys? And the thought of a loss was the furthest thing from my mind.
However, the Steelers did lose, and it was another in a long-line of heartbreaking defeats for Pittsburgh sports teams I had witnessed in a very short period of time. (For example, the Pirates lost three straight times in the National League Championship Series, from 1990-1992.)
Back to the start of the '95 season and that reeling psyche. I guess you could say I was reeling a bit, too, or at least that's how it probably felt after a 3-4 start that included blow-out home losses to the Vikings and Bengals and a road defeat to the expansion Jaguars in Week 6. Also included in that miserable two-month stretch was the torn ACL injury suffered by Rod Woodson in Week 1 against the Lions, an injury that could have had a detrimental effect on the defense, and it did--at least initially.
Maybe nobody was too excited right away when the Steelers got back to .500 with a 24-7 victory over Jacksonville in Week 9. However, that turned out to be the start of an eight-game winning-streak that also included an exciting overtime victory over the Bears at Soldier Field in Week 10 and a 49-31 "blow-out" over the Bengals in Cincinnati in Week 12--Pittsburgh trailed 31-13 in the second-half before rallying with 36-unanswered points.
Kordell "Slash" Stewart was one of the stars of the comeback, as the rookie quarterback (well, jack of all trades) recorded 101 yards from scrimmage, including a 71-yard touchdown pass from Neil O'Donnell in the fourth quarter that put Pittsburgh ahead for good.
Often employing a five-receiver set, the Steelers averaged over 30-points a game during those eight-straight wins. As for that defense that struggled initially after the injury to Woodson, it rebounded quite nicely to finish third, overall. Maybe it was the switch of accomplished safety Carnell Lake to corner that did the trick. That's right, despite finding a home as a strong safety during his first six seasons, Lake made the switch to corner in Woodson's absence, and he, along with Willie Williams, became vital contributors down-the-stretch. Williams, a sixth round pick in 1993, started 15 games in '95 and led the defense with seven interceptions.
The Steelers finished the regular season at 11-5 and clinched their third AFC Central crown in a four-year span.
Pittsburgh entered the playoffs as a number two seed. However, the day after a satisfying 40-21 victory over the Bills in a divisional round playoff game at Three Rivers, the Steelers would learn they would be hosting the AFC Title game for a second-straight year, thanks to Indianapolis's upset victory over the Chiefs.
The Cinderella Colts were 9-7 and entered the playoffs as a fifth seed before winning back-to-back road playoff games and were perhaps a fitting prize for a Pittsburgh team looking for a do-over after the previous year's upset in the same game.
However, it would be far from an easy day for Pittsburgh. I won't get into too much detail about that AFC Championship game (one of the most exciting in NFL history and certainly the most thrilling in Steelers history) because it has been chronicled countless times. But I will say that it came down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter, minutes that were both gut-wrenching and pulsating.
The Steelers trailed 16-13 with less than three minutes remaining, before O'Donnell found receiver Ernie Mills on a 37-yard strike down to the one-yard line. Just two plays later, running back Bam Morris scored to put Pittsburgh up by four-points with less than two-minutes to play.
Another thing I won't go into too much detail on is the game's most famous play. I'm talking about Jim Harbaugh's Hail Mary Pass on the final play that was nearly corralled by receiver Aaron Bailey in the end zone. I will say that when Phil Simms, who was part of NBC's broadcast crew covering the game, screamed, "He caught the ball!" I just about died. I can still picture that split-second when I looked down at my uncle who was sitting in a chair in front of me and the memories of all those aforementioned heartbreaking losses by Pittsburgh sports teams--the defeat at the hands of the Chargers the previous season was first and foremost--came flooding back into my mind.
However, a split-second later, when the closest official signaled incomplete, I was never so happy. The NFL didn't have instant replay in those days, so I knew the game was over, and I ran into the kitchen and slid belly first on the floor. My other uncle, who, for some reason, was cooking something on the stove at that pivotal moment, looked down at me and said, "Grow up."
Anyway, it had finally happened. The Steelers were going to the Super Bowl for the first time since I was seven years old, and that's when I realized there were two awesome parts to your favorite team going to that heavenly game: The game itself and the two week build-up.
I immediately hopped in my uncle's car and drove around my neighborhood honking the horn at people in the streets (the first and only time I've ever done that). As the two weeks progressed, I soaked it all in. I remember the controversy that ensued after Greg Lloyd, the Steelers menacing right outside linebacker of those days, used profanity on live network television in the aftermath of the thrilling AFC Championship victory. I also remember how quickly Pittsburgh was written-off as soon as the Cowboys, a team that had just won two of the three most recent Super Bowls--and also hailed from what was a very dominant NFC in those days--were quickly installed as 13.5 point favorites for Super Bowl XXX to be played in Tempe, Arizona, on January 28, 1996.
I didn't care.
I was just happy that my Steelers had finally made it. And, again, during those two weeks, I took at all in. I read every article I could find; I bought every piece of Super Bowl XXX memorabilia I could afford; I watched every second of coverage that I could; and I talked about the game with anyone who would listen. That last part wasn't too difficult, as most of Pittsburgh was about as excited as I was for the game.
Again, I won't go into much detail about that game. As a long-time Steelers fan, I realize how many fellow faithful get depressed just thinking about Super Bowl XXX and what could have been.
After Dallas jumped out to a 13-0 first half lead, the Steelers thoroughly dominated play the rest of the way, save for two very ill-timed O'Donnell second-half interceptions that led directly to 14-Cowboys points. Pittsburgh lost, 27-17.
I should have been depressed, but I wasn't. Super Bowl XXX and the two or three months that led up to it rank pretty high on my list of all-time fan moments.
I'll never forget that 1995 season.
My story starts and ends with one game. After the Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round of the 2005 playoffs as the No. 6 seed, I was excited for who the Steelers would draw in the divisional round. The announcement was made. Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts stood in the Steelers' way of trying the first No. 6 seed to ever make it to the Super Bowl.
The Colts had shellacked the Steelers on Monday Night Football earlier that season, and talk among SteelerNation was bleak. I can still remember the deep pass from Manning to Marvin Harrison over Ike Taylor in the regular season on the first play from scrimmage. Memories of that game remained in my mind, but as the only optimist in my family, I kept the faith.
Speaking of family, my parents had announced since the game would be played on a Saturday, they were making the trip from Wheeling, WV to northern Virginia to watch the game with their two sons and their significant others. The week leading up to the game was seemingly endless. Finally, the day came and we drove from Maryland to Virginia early to get ready for the contest.
When we got to my brother's house, my brother told me there was something wrong with his satellite dish. My brother is known for his sarcastic jokes, so I brushed it off. Then he looked at me and said, "Jeff, I'm not joking." You would have thought a 4-alarm fire had been ignited. Immediately we started calling DirecTV to see what we could have done, but there was nothing which could be done until Monday. At this point it wasn't just our family who had arrived. Several fraternity brothers and their girlfriends and other friends who were Steelers fans had arrived too. All to find out the game wasn't able to be watched there.
There was no way I wasn't going to see this game, so I picked up the phone and called one of my closest friends in our fraternity (shout out to the Phi Iota chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha) and asked what he was doing for the game. He said he and his girlfriend were watching in their small Shepherdstown, WV apartment. I asked him if our large party could come over, and of course he said yes.
We load up and drive to the Eastern panhandle of West Virignia and make it about 20 minutes before kickoff. My father is a man of tradition and owns a Terrible Towel which only sees the light of day during the playoffs. He took the towel and put it under the small TV and declared, "No one touches this towel until the game ends."
The game was a back-and-forth affair, as you know, with the Steelers throwing their way to success, Troy Polamalu's incredible interception was reversed and then the infamous Joey Porter sack of Manning. The game was on the line and the Steelers' defense smothered Manning on 4th down. Everyone in this crammed apartment - there weren't enough seats for everyone to sit so most stood the entire game - jumped up and we all embraced which turned into a giant gang tackle. My father stood up and snatched the towel off the TV stand and started whirling it over his head as if he was on the 50-yard line at Heinz Field.
However, the game wasn't over. I was in tears with joy over what I was watching, and as Roethlisberger handed the ball to Jerome Bettis I was waiting for the final fist pump which would send the team to the 2005 AFC Championship game. Instead, the fumble. I went from tears of joy to a punch in the gut and felt like vomiting - literally. Roethlisberger's shoe string tackle and the missed field goal, and all was well with the world.
It was the happiest of times, the saddest of times and then the happiest of times. I was thoroughly exhausted after that game, and to this day I blame my father for the fumble as he broke his own rule of touching the hallowed playoff terrible towel before the game was over. The last thing I remember is walking out of the small apartment and my dad putting his arm around me and saying, "Son, I think we have a chance." and I said, "I like our chances. I smell one for the thumb."
And the team delivered a few weeks later. I'm exhausted just reliving that memory.
What are your cool Steelers stories? Submit your own below and comment on each other's stories!