For the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLIII, journalists and expert football analysts across the United States believed the game would be a battle of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ league-best defense, and the Arizona Cardinal’s high scoring aerial attack. Whatever unit performed better would mean a Super Bowl win. But all of these analysts and journalists overlooked the real key to the game, Pittsburgh’s offense. And when the game came to an end, it was the Steelers’ offense that won the game.
With 2:37 remaining in the game, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ went onto the field trailing 23-20. They would have to go 78 yards down the field to score the game-winning touchdown. The team looked to Big Ben to carry them to a Super Bowl victory and Roethlisberger responded with one of the best game-winning drives in Super Bowl history. Roethlisberger did his best John Elway imitation, by driving 88 yards down the field, after a first-down holding penalty, and eventually throwing the game winning six-yard touchdown to Santonio Holmes. On that final drive, Roethlisberger completed five of his seven pass attempts, throwing for 84 yards, including the game-deciding touchdown.
Holmes was Roethlisberger’s main target throughout the game, catching nine passes while accumulating a total of 131 yards while also catching the most important pass of the game, which was his only touchdown. His amazing performance allowed Holmes to deservingly win the Super Bowl MVP trophy. With Hines Ward slowed by injury, Holmes stepped his game up and carried the passing game on his shoulders.
Although this game had an amazing finish to it, it would have been a completely different game had the Arizona Cardinals not come back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals entered the fourth quarter trailing by 13 points. They went onto to score 16 unanswered points in the quarter, largely because of the tandem of Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald. The tandem was one of the largest reasons why the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl, as both players had a fantastic post-season. Warner connected with Fitzgerald on back to back drives, with two huge touchdowns. The second touchdown was a play of beauty as Warner threw a short, in-route to Fitzgerald, who turned up field and ran 64 yards into the end zone. But this play was overshadowed by two great plays by Steelers’ players.
The first play happened at the end of the first, with the Cardinals in the red zone, down by three. Warner dropped back looking to throw a quick slant to Anquan Boldin for the touchdown but James Harrison, the defensive player of the year, stepped in front of the pass and rumbled down the field for a 100 yard touchdown to put the Steelers up by 10 going into halftime. The second play was the game-winner, which was a beautifully thrown ball by Ben Roethlisberger to the back of the end zone, over three defenders and into the out-stretched hands of Santonio Holmes, who barely got both feet in bounds.
The lead the Steelers had accumulated was almost undone by all the penalties they committed. It seemed like on every drive, they committed at least one big penalty that stalled their drive or made it harder for them to score. But some how the Steelers were able to over come the penalties and win the game with a miraculous finish.
This Super Bowl win gives the Pittsburgh Steelers a total of six Super Bowl victories, which allows them to surpass the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys with the most Super Bowl victories in NFL history. The 49ers and Cowboys have five Super Bowl wins each. And they did this in dramatic style, winning one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.
Not only does this Super Bowl put the Steelers on top of the list of most successful organizations in the NFL, it also enhanced Ben Roethlisberger’s legacy, where he will always be remembered for his amazing performance. Ten years from now people will still be talking about this game and that game winning drive. If you missed this game, you missed one of the best football games you will ever see. Hopefully next year’s Super Bowl will match this one in terms of excitement.