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Old 12-22-2009, 04:19 PM   #1
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Default An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_658476.html#
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sports writer Joe Starkey breaks down the best and worst moments of the decade for the Steelers:

FIVE BIGGEST STORIES

1. Feb. 1, 2009: Santonio Holmes makes spectacular catch in back of end zone to provide winning margin and give Steelers record sixth title, a 27-23 victory over Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

2. Feb. 5, 2006: After a 25-year drought, Steelers win "One for the Thumb," defeating the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in Detroit in Super Bowl XL.

3. June 12, 2006: City comes to standstill as Ben Roethlisberger seriously injured in motorcycle accident near 10th Street Bridge.

4. Feb. 27, 2008: Beloved Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope, creator of the Terrible Towel, dies at age 79.

5. Jan. 22, 2007: Mike Tomlin named 16th coach in Steelers history, replacing Bill Cowher and becoming only the third Steelers coach since 1969.

TEAM OF THE DECADE

OFFENSE

QB — Ben Roethlisberger ('04-present): Youngest QB to win two Super Bowls.

RB — Jerome Bettis ('00-05): Battering ram, team leader.

RB — Willie Parker ('04-present): Only Steeler with three straight 1,200-yard seasons.

WR — Hines Ward ('00-present): All-time team leader in most receiving categories.

WR — Santonio Holmes ('06-present): Clutch plays give him edge over Plaxico.

TE — Heath Miller ('05-present): Made Steelers use a tight end (sometimes).

T — Marvel Smith ('00-08): Team's first Pro-Bowl tackle since Tunch Ilkin.

T — Max Starks ('04-08): Started on right and left for two Super Bowl winners.

G — Alan Faneca ('00-07): Greatest guard in Steelers history.

G — Kendall Simmons ('02-08): Injuries stalled promising career.

C — Jeff Hartings ('01-06): Free-agent signing furthered tradition at position.

DEFENSE

DE — Aaron Smith ('00-08): One of underrated players of his generation.

NT — Casey Hampton ('01-08): Smack in middle of suffocating run 'D'

DE — Kimo von Oelhoffen ('00-05): Solid six-year starter had 20.5 sacks.

LB — Joey Porter ('00-06): The mouth that roared went to three Pro Bowls.

LB — James Farrior ('02-08): One of NFL's top free-agent signings of decade.

LB — James Harrison ('02, '04-08): Two-time team MVP, Super Bowl hero.

LB — Jason Gildon ('00-03): Pro Bowl selection from 2001-03.

CB — Ike Taylor ('03-08) : Best of a weak position; if only he could catch.

CB — Deshea Townsend ('00-08): Solid, versatile player for much of decade.

SS — Troy Polamalu ('03-08): Only health could keep him out of Hall of Fame.

FS — Chris Hope ('02-05): Led team in picks (three) in super year of '05.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K — Jeff Reed ('02-08): Conquered tough conditions at Heinz Field.

P — Chris Gardocki ('04-06): Key factor in amazing run to Super Bowl XL.

PR/KR — Antwaan Randle-El ('02-05): Five returns for touchdowns.

BEST PLAY

Steelers linebacker James Harrison returns an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII, on the last play of the first half. Not much debate here, although Big Ben’s tackle came up, as did Santonio’s catch (and Ben’s throw) in Super Bowl XLIII.

BEST PLAYER

Hines Ward, WR — Alan Faneca made more Pro Bowls, Ben Roethlisberger played a higher-profile position and Troy Polamalu was more spectacular, but Ward was consistently productive, hugely clutch and as tough as any player in the league. Ask Ed Reed or Keith Rivers.

BEST GAME

Super Bowl XLIII — Steelers 27, Cardinals 23: Featured two of the best plays in Super Bowl history and a dramatic game-winning drive that began on the Steelers' 12.

HITS THAT REVERBERATED

1. James Harrison body slams unruly Browns fan.

2. Kimo von Oelhoffen crashes into Carson Palmer's knee.

3. Gary Baxter injures Tommy Maddox, paving way for rookie Roethlisberger.

4. Hines Ward busts Keith Rivers' jaw.

5. Bart Scott nearly decapitates Big Ben.

SIGHTS FOR SORE EYES

1. The 2009 Steelers

2. Ricardo Colclough catching a punt

3. Mitch Berger attempting a punt.

4. Ike Taylor trying to catch the ball (except in Super Bowl XL)

5. Tommy Maddox, circa 2003

BLUNDERS

1. Dewayne Washington runs into Joe Nedney to lose playoff game.

2. Ty Carter whiffs on David Garrard to lose playoff game.

3. Limas Sweed drops sure TD in AFC title game (and fakes an injury), drops another another the next season at Cinci.

4. Pain-killing shot misses Jerome Bettis' nerve, causing leg to go numb before playoff game vs. Ravens.

5. Plax spikes live ball against Jacksonville.

NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D SEE

1. The '09 Steelers lose to Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland (happened in a span of 18 days).

2. Terry Bradshaw make up with Steelers fans (happened at halftime of a Monday Night game in '02).

3. A punt stick in the mud like a javelin (happened on "Muddy Night Football" game vs. Dolphins).

4. A team try 38 passes in a blizzard (happened in the Meadowlands, courtesy of O-coordinator Mike Mularkey).

5. One team outgain another, 422-47, and lose (happened to the Steelers, against the expansion Texans, in 2002).

PRIZED CATCHES

1. Polamalu scoops one off the grass vs. Chargers.

2. Big Ben corrals Nick Harper by a shoestring

3. Polamalu delivers leaping one-hander vs. Titans

4. Larry Johnson comes up with a fistful of Polamalu's pony tail.

HIDEOUS COACHING DECISIONS

1. Bruce Arians sends Big Ben around left end on designed run late in playoff game vs. Jags, forcing punt that leads to loss.

2. Bill Cowher insists on putting shaky Ricardo Colclough under punts, including one Colclough muffs in critical loss to Bengals.

3. Mike Tomlin goes for two-point conversion from 12-yard line, down by five with more than 10 minutes left in what would become a two-point playoff loss to Jags.

4. Bruce Arians orders 42 pass plays — including shotgun on third-and-1 on the first series — and only 22 running plays on a viciously cold and windy night in Cleveland, against a banged-up defense that couldn't stop the run when all its guys were healthy.

VILLAINS

1. Joe Nedney (nice acting job)

2. Bill Belichick (nice video work)

3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Keith Bulluck, LenDale White and anyone else who dared defile the Terrible Towel

4. Troy Brown

5. Josh Cribbs
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

BEST DRAFT PICKS

1. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, 11th overall, 2004; For first time in nearly a quarter-century Steelers take QB with first pick.

2. Troy Polamalu, S, 16th overall in 2003.

3. LaMarr Woodley, LB, 2nd round, 2007.

WORST DRAFT PICKS

1. Alonzo Jackson, LB, 2nd round, 59th, overall, 2003; No sacks in NFL career.

2. Ricardo Colclough, CB, 2nd round, 2004

3. Willie Reid, WR, 3rd round, 2006

Monitoring: Limas Sweed (2nd round, 2008)

CONTROVERSIES

1. Bill Cowher replaces Kordell Stewart with Tommy Maddox, sparking '02 comeback against Cleveland, then names Maddox the starter.

2. Hines Ward, in interview with Bob Costas, questions why concussed Ben Roethlisberger will not play vs. Ravens.

3. Cowher benches Jerome Bettis in favor of Amos Zereoue.

RUNS TO GLORY

1. Fast Willie goes 75 yards in the Super Bowl

2. Troy Polamalu takes interception 40 yards to clinch AFC title game vs. Ravens.

3. The Bus steamrolls Brian Urlacher for a TD

4. Wild interception return ends with Polamalu trucking former college housemate Carson Palmer at goal line.

5. Hines Ward loses a shoe but outruns DeAngelo Hall to end zone.

TOUGHEST LOSSES

1. Patriots ruin Steelers' 15-1 season in '04 AFC title game

2. Patriots ruin Steelers' 13-3 season in '01 AFC title game

3. Titans escape with 34-31 win in '02 playoff game.

4. Jaguars score late to win '07 Wild Card game, 31-29.

5. Browns humiliate defending Super Bowl champs in '09, 13-6.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES

1. Dan Rooney names son Art new team president (summer, 2003)

2. Mike Tomlin replaces Bill Cowher (winter 2007)

3. Tommy Maddox replaces Kordell Stewart (fall, 2002)

4. Four Rooney brothers transfer majority ownership to an investment group led by eldest brother Dan (summer, 2009).

5. Heinz Field replaces Three Rivers Stadium (fall, 2001)

A FINAL GOODBYE ...

Dwight White, "Arrowhead" Ernie Holmes, Myron Cope, Steve Courson, Theo Bell, Justin Strzelczyk, Mike Webster, David Little, Terry Long, Steve Furness, Jim Clack, Ray Oldham, Joe Gilliam, Ron Shanklin, Dave Brown

TRICKS AND TREATS

1. Antwaan Randle El hits Hines Ward with 43-yard TD pass on fake reverse in Super Bowl XL.

2. Jerome Bettis throws 10-yard TD pass to Jerame Tuman vs. Jets, clinching '04 division title.

3. Punter Josh Miller and safety Chris Hope hook up on 81-yard TD pass in '03 season-finale vs. Ravens.

BAD NEWS

· Joey Porter shot in buttocks as innocent bystander outside Denver bar

· Richard Huntley and Earl Holmes ignite chair-swinging minicamp brawl at Three Rivers Stadium in 2000.

· O-line coach Larry Zierlein accidentally forwards off-color e-mail to league offices

· Police say they find three marijuana-filled cigars in Santonio Holmes' sport utility vehicle.

· James Harrison and Cedrick Wilson arrested 11 days apart in domestic-violence incidents.

· Jeff Reed attacks Sheetz towel dispenser (and months later, gets in alleged spat with police).

DATES

Dec. 16, 2000 — Steelers beat Redskins, 24-3, in final game at Three Rivers Stadium.

Dec. 21, 2006 — Steelers eliminate Bengals from playoffs, 23-17, in Bill Cowher's final game as coach

Oct. 7, 2001 — Steelers beat Bengals, 16-7, in first game at Heinz Field, one that was postponed after 9/11.

WE WROTE IT

"The Steelers' latest millionaire traveled all night from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, stuffed near the back of the airplane like any other passenger. 'Between the two biggest people on the plane,' he said. No first-class ticket for first-round draft choice Troy Polamalu? 'It really doesn't matter,' he said. What matters to Polamalu — even more, he said, than the five-year, $8.275 million contract he signed Monday — is that the sick feeling in his stomach disappeared. Polamalu said he felt ashamed that he was home while his Steelers teammates reported to training camp Friday." — Steelers writer Jerry DiPaola, training camp '03

THEY SAID IT

"Exciting? No, it's not exciting. Do you want to go work with some little young kid who's just out of college?" — Alan Faneca, on rookie Ben Roethlisberger's first start replacing Tommy Maddox.

"We're going to unleash hell here in December." — Mike Tomlin, 2009, just before consecutive losses to Oakland and Cleveland.

"They ain't nothing but paper champions. That's all they are, and that's all they're ever going to be." — Lee Flowers, ripping the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2001.

"You heard me. I called him 'Plexiglass' because he's so fragile." — Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe, ripping Plaxico Burress.

"Ben does not have broken toes. We are unaware of any problems with his toes, OK?" — Bill Cowher, responding to Roethlisberger's assertion that he played with broken toes in AFC title-game loss to Patriots.

"We're going to win. Yeah, I can guarantee a win." — Anthony Smith, four days before he is torched by Tom Brady and Randy Moss in lopsided loss to Patriots.

Joe Starkey can be reached at jstarkey@tribweb.com or 412-320-7810.
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

3. Limas Sweed drops sure TD in AFC title game (and fakes an injury), drops another another the next season at Cinci.

Sweed faked an injury?
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Burgher View Post
3. Limas Sweed drops sure TD in AFC title game (and fakes an injury), drops another another the next season at Cinci.

Sweed faked an injury?
I seem to remember he did but this would not be surprising since he fakes catching the ball.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

he laid on the field (in shame) after the drop costing the steelers a time out (or 10 second run off) near the end of the half.

that 50 yard bomb TD to a WIDE open sweed would have started a blowout (steelers would have led 20-7), instead we were in a dogfight in the second half.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

How I loved the Lee Flowers comment.
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

Bill Cowher stuffs a photo into a refs front pocket of 11 players on the field after the team received an unjust penalty for having 12 men on the field.
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

Fu's game winning Touchdown against Cleveland in the 2002, WILD comeback in the AFC Wild Card game, rallying from 17 points and multiple lead changes in the last 5 minutes to squeak by the Browns and advance to the Divisional round against Tennessee.

Kordell Stewart single handily beating the vaunted and surging Oakland Raiders in a 2000 underdog match up. Janikowski missed a sure FG to seal Oaklands fate while Stewart came back out the 2nd half hurt and breathed new life into his career.

Big Ben going 13-0 as a rookie and reaching the title game. A week before the AFC Title Loss, The Jets squandered and blew a sure win after Doug Brien missed 3 FG's to keep Pittsburgh in the game and to eventually win it in OT.

Being the first EVER 6th seeded team to win the Super Bowl.

Ben guaranteeing the Bus that if he stays one more year that he'd promise to get him back to the Title Game.

2004: Beating two back to back undefeated teams in Pittsburgh, ending N.E's regular season winning streak. (N.E/Philly)

Mike Wallace's Super Bowl 43-like game winning catch against Green Bay with 0:00 left on the clock to keep the 2009 Steelers faint playoff hopes alive and well.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

That was a great read and thanks for sharing it Mesa!
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: An in-depth look at the Steelers' decade

lol loving that we ended the patriots streak and now the colts just beat it :t t04:
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