Kurt Warner

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Posted by motoman 05/02/2009 @ 08:13

Tags : kurt warner, football players, football, sports

News headlines
Kurt Warner comments on Boldin, Vick, Obama - SI.com
AP The Cardinals' Kurt Warner joined the show after recently meeting President Obama. Here are some of the veteran quarterback's takes. --- Warner thinks Anquan Boldin will come back to the Cardinals. "I feel pretty good he's going to be with us,"...
Kurt Warner back at full participation after hip surgery - USA Today
Two months after having hip surgery, Cardinals QB Kurt Warner returned to full participation in workouts on Wednesday. Warner participated in limited drills earlier this month at the team's minicamp. But Wednesday was his first full practice,...
Kurt Warner Finds his Stride in Practice - Fighting Irish Insider
By Scout.com Quarterback Kurt Warner always had the gait of a cowboy who had just dismounted a horse, but it was more pronounced last year. Looking back on 2008, Cardinals observers remember Warner walking around as if he was John Wayne....
Warner confident Boldin will stay a Card - Rotoworld.com
Kurt Warner told The Dan Patrick Show that he's confident Anquan Boldin will be a Cardinal this season. "I feel pretty good he's going to be with us," Warner said. "(But) is he going to be happy? Are they going to be able to work something out?...
Matt Leinart: Learns, Grows and Reflects - Bleacher Report
He was tabbed the starter for the 2007 season but after being injured early in October of that season Kurt Warner has started 31 consecutive games and led the moribund franchise to the Super Bowl. But then again, Warner is 37 and today's NFL has...
Kurt Warner was taken aback by Giants fans booing - Newsday
"How quickly fans can go from cheering to booing. I don't think I've seen anything like that, before or after." One highlight of the presentation was a sneak preview of the second season of the online-only show, "Mayne Street," in which Kenny Mayne...
President and Kurt Warner talk "hoops" - KTAR.com
by Jim Cross/KTAR (May 14th, 2009 @ 6:19am) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, snubbed by President Barack Obama when he cheered for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLII, has now met the president and hopes to convert him into a...
Warner, Fitz back, but some Cards still out - AZ Central.com
20, 2009 05:48 PM Although Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and wideout Larry Fitzgerald practiced Wednesday along with strong safety Adrian Wilson and a few other veterans that missed Tuesday's workouts, receiver Anquan Boldin and defensive tackle...
Will Daunte Culpepper Be This Year's Kurt Warner? - Bleacher Report
But, if he is truly healthy and in shape as the Lions say he is, the team could be getting similar production out of Culpepper as the Arizona Cardinals have been getting out of Kurt Warner. Now, many Lions fans, who are (sometimes insufferably) cynical...
Arizona Cardinals' Report: What's So Funny About Getting a Running ... - Bleacher Report
Doesn't it kind of get in the way of the strength of the team—that is, the airborne points piled up, often in rapid fashion by quarterback Kurt Warner, receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald—to do anything but put the ball up in the air 40 or 50...

Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner appearing in a Civitan International PSA.

Kurtis Eugene "Kurt" Warner (born June 22, 1971) is an American football quarterback who currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. He was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He played college football at Northern Iowa.

Born in Burlington, Iowa, Warner played football at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and went on to the University of Northern Iowa. At UNI, Warner was third on the Panthers' depth chart until his senior year. When Warner was finally given the chance to start, he was named the Gateway Conference's Offensive Player of the Year.

After completing his college career, he attended the Green Bay Packers training camp in 1994, but was released before the regular season began. It was at this time that Warner famously stocked shelves at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls for $5.50 an hour. He also returned to Northern Iowa and worked as a graduate assistant coach with the football team, all the while still hoping to get a tryout with an NFL team. With no NFL teams willing to give him a chance, Warner turned to the Arena Football League in 1995 and signed with the Iowa Barnstormers. Warner was named to the AFL's All-Arena first team in both 1996 and 1997 as he led the Barnstormers to Arena Bowl appearances in both seasons. He was also named twelfth on a list of the twenty best Arena Football players of all time.

In 1998, Warner was signed by the St. Louis Rams and was allocated to NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals. Warner led NFL Europe in touchdowns and passing yards. His backup was Jake Delhomme, now the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers.

Returning from Europe, Warner was named the backup quarterback for the St. Louis Rams during the 1998 regular season and the 1999 preseason. When starting quarterback Trent Green was injured in a preseason game, Warner took over as the Rams' tentative starter. St. Louis coach Dick Vermeil was initially concerned with the team's situation at quarterback after Green's injury, but with the support of running back Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl, Warner put together one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, throwing for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes and a completion rate of 65.1%. The Rams' high-powered offense was nicknamed "The Greatest Show on Turf" and registered the first in a string of three consecutive 500-point seasons, an NFL record.

Warner threw three touchdown passes in each of the first three NFL starts; he is the only NFL quarterback in history to accomplish that feat. Warner drew more attention in the Rams' fourth game of the season, a home game against the San Francisco 49ers (who had been NFC West division champions for 12 of the previous 13 seasons). The Rams had lost 17 of their previous 18 meetings with the 49ers, but Warner proceeded to throw three touchdown passes on the Rams' first three possessions of the game and four in the first half to propel the Rams to a 28–10 halftime lead on the way to a 42–20 victory. Warner finished the game with five touchdown passes, giving him 14 in four games and the Rams a 4–0 record.

Warner's breakout season from a career in anonymity was so unexpected that Sports Illustrated featured him on their October 18 cover with the caption "Who IS this guy?" He was named the 1999 NFL MVP at the season's end.

In the NFL playoffs, Warner led the Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory against the Tennessee Titans. He threw for two touchdowns and a Super Bowl-record 414 passing yards, including a 73-yard touchdown to Isaac Bruce when the game was tied with just over two minutes to play. Warner also set a Super Bowl record by attempting 45 passes without a single interception. For his performance, Warner was awarded the Super Bowl MVP, becoming the sixth player to win both the league MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards in the same year. The others are Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, and Steve Young.

Warner started the 2000 season well, racking up 300 or more passing yards in each of his first 6 games (tying Steve Young's record) and posting 19 touchdown passes in that stretch. Warner broke his hand and missed the middle of the season, but Trent Green filled in ably and the Warner/Green duo led the Rams to the highest team passing yard total in NFL history, with 5,232 net yards. Warner and Green's combined gross passing yard total was 5,492, which if held by just one player, would surpass the single-season record set by Dan Marino (5,084 yards). In contrast to his previous season, however, Warner's turnover ratio drastically increased in 2000, throwing an interception in 5.2% of his attempts (compare 2.6% in 1999). Due to a very poor defensive unit, the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs in the wild card round by the New Orleans Saints despite one of the most productive offensive years by an NFL team. Nine of the Rams' eleven defensive starters would be cut during the offseason, and Trent Green was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Warner quickly returned to form in 2001. Although this season lagged behind his 1999 performance, he amassed a league-high 36 touchdown passes and 4,830 passing yards, a total third only to Dan Marino and Drew Brees all-time. Warner lacked the consistency he showed in 1999, however, throwing a career-high 22 interceptions despite completing a career-high 68.7% of his passes. Still, he led "The Greatest Show on Turf" to its third consecutive 6–0 start (becoming the first and only NFL team to do so), an NFL-best 14–2 record, and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI. Warner was also named the NFL MVP for the second time in three seasons, giving the Rams their third winner in as many years (running back Marshall Faulk won in 2000).

In Super Bowl XXXVI, Warner threw for 365 yards (the 3rd-highest total in Super Bowl history) and a passing touchdown along with a rushing touchdown, but he also tossed two interceptions which helped stake the heavy-underdog New England Patriots to a 2-touchdown lead. After falling behind to the Patriots 17–3, though, the Rams tied the game late in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard Warner touchdown run on a quarterback sneak and a 26-yard touchdown pass from Warner to Ricky Proehl. The game ended in a loss for Warner and the Rams, however, when Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri booted a game-winning field goal as time expired, giving the Patriots the first of three Super Bowl wins in four years.

The Rams released Warner on June 1, 2004. Two days later, he signed a two-year deal with the Giants.

Warner started the 2004 season as the starting quarterback, winning five of his first seven games, but following several poor performances and a two-game losing streak, rookie quarterback Eli Manning was given the starting job. The Giants had a 5–4 win-loss record at the time of Warner's benching, finishing at 6–10 overall (going only 1–6 under Manning).

In early 2005, Warner signed a one-year, $4-million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, and was quickly named the starter by coach Dennis Green. Warner posted three relatively mediocre performances before injuring his groin and being replaced by former starter Josh McCown. McCown played in two games during Warner's injury, performing well enough that Green named McCown the starter for the remainder of the season.

After McCown struggled in two straight games, Green re-inserted Warner into the starting line-up. After playing fairly well in two consecutive losses (passing for a total of nearly 700 yards), Warner defeated his former team, the Rams, by a score of 38–28. He passed for 285 yards and three touchdowns while posting a quarterback rating of 115.9. Warner's season ended in Week 15 when he partially tore his MCL.

Warner signed a new three-year deal with the Cardinals on February 14, 2006. The deal has a base salary of $18 million and, with performance incentives, could be worth as much as $22 million.

In Week One of the 2006 NFL season, Warner won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a win over San Francisco. Two weeks later Warner passed the 20,000-yards passing milestone in his 76th game, one game more than record holder Dan Marino.

After three subpar games in Weeks 2–4, Warner was replaced at quarterback by rookie Matt Leinart in the fourth quarter of Week 4. Then-coach Dennis Green stated that Warner would be the backup quarterback for the remainder of the season. In Week 16, quarterback Matt Leinart went down with a shoulder injury against the 49ers, forcing Warner to see his first action since Week 4. Warner filled in nicely, as he was able to hang on for the Cardinals win. In Week 17 against the San Diego Chargers, Warner started again in place of the injured Leinart. Warner threw for 365 yards (which led the NFL for that week) and a touchdown, however the Chargers were able to hang on for a 27–20 win.

In the third game of the 2007 NFL season, against the Baltimore Ravens, Warner came off the bench to relieve an ineffective Matt Leinart during the 2nd and 4th quarters (the Ravens were leading 23–6 at the beginning of the 4th quarter). He led a furious comeback as he completed 15 passes out of 20 attempted for 258 yds and 2 TDs. This brought them to a tie game (23–23), but after a Ravens last second field goal, Arizona lost the game 26–23.

On September 30, 2007, during the week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Warner relieved Matt Leinart following another ineffective start by Leinart. Warner finished with 14/21 for 132 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. Leinert re-entered the game in the 4th quarter, and led the Cardinals to their final touchdown. After Leinart was placed on IR Warner was named starter for the remainder of the 2007 season . Warner passed for a career-high 484 yards against the 49ers in a 37–31 loss on November 25, but had a fumble in the end zone in overtime that was recovered by Tully Banta-Cain to lose the game. However, the following week showed an improvement for Warner and the Cardinals, as the above-mentioned victory over the Browns brought his team to 6–6 and kept them in the chase for the NFC Wild Card playoff spot.

Warner finished the 2007 season with 27 passing touchdowns, just one shy of the Cardinals franchise record. Warner's performance earned him a $1 million dollar bonus for the year, and he fell just short of attaining a 90.0+ passer rating, which would have given him an extra $500,000. Nonetheless, Warner's 3,417 passing yards, 27 touchdown passes, and 89.8 passer rating were all his best since the 2001 season.

Matt Leinart was named the Cardinals starter going in to the off-season for 2008, but Ken Whisenhunt stated that it would be very possible for Warner to be the starter before Week 1 of the 2008 NFL season. Indeed, Warner was named the starter on August 30, 2008. That season, Warner had 4,583 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and a completion percentage of almost 70%. Warner also received FedEx Air Player of the Week honors for his performance during weeks 9 and 11 of the season.

On December 7, 2008, Warner led the Cardinals to a 34–10 win over his former team, the Rams, securing for the Cardinals the NFC West Division title and their first playoff berth since 1998. It was the Cardinals' first division title since 1975 and third of the post-merger era. As a result, the Cardinals would play only their second home playoff game ever, as they had never played a home playoff game in St. Louis despite winning two division titles. On December 16, 2008 Warner was named the starting quarterback for the NFC team in the 2009 Pro Bowl.

On January 3, 2009, Warner led the Cardinals in their defeat of the Atlanta Falcons 30–24 at home in the first round of the playoffs. During the game Warner went 19 for 32, a completion percentage of 59.4%, for 271 yards. He threw two touchdowns and one interception. This win represented the first time the Cardinals had won a post-season home game since the 1947 NFL Championship Game.

On January 10, 2009, Warner led the Cardinals in their 20-point defeat of the Carolina Panthers 33–13 in Charlotte, North Carolina in the second round of the playoffs. During the game Warner went 22 for 32, a completion percentage of 65.6%, for 220 yards. He threw 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. This win represented the first time the Cardinals won a game on the East Coast that entire season.

On January 18, 2009, Warner threw for 279 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles to help lead the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in history. Warner is the second quarterback to make Super Bowl starts with two different teams joining Craig Morton (1970 Dallas Cowboys and 1977 Denver Broncos). He also became the third quarterback in NFL history to win a conference championship with two different teams, following Craig Morton and Earl Morrall.

In Warner's third career Super Bowl appearance, on February 1, 2009, the Cardinals lost Super Bowl XLIII 27–23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Warner now has a career 1–2 record as a starter in Super Bowls. Despite losing, Kurt Warner still managed to throw for 377 yards (the 2nd-highest total in Super Bowl history), completed 72% of his passes, and had a quarterback rating of 112.3. Warner has now recorded the three highest single-game passing yardage totals in the history of the Super Bowl.

Warner announced his desire to return to the Cardinals for the 2009 season. The Cardinals offered him a two-year contract worth around $20 million but Warner was looking for a contract that would pay him about $14 million a year and the two sides could not come to an agreement. On February 27, 2009 Warner became a free agent and went on to have talks with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers offered Warner a contract worth more than that offered by the Cardinals. On March 4, Warner re-signed with the Cardinals to a two-year deal worth $23 million total, $4 million for each of the next two years, with a $15 million signing bonus. Warner underwent arthroscopic hip surgery to repair a torn labrum on March 17, 2009, but is expected to return for organized team activities.

Kurt Warner was born to parents Gene and Sue Warner on June 22, 1971, and has a brother, Matt Warner. Warner's parents divorced when he was 6. His father, Gene Warner remarried a year later. Warner's stepmother, Mimi Post Warner, also had a son named Matt. The three boys formed a close relationship soon thereafter. He graduated in 1990 from Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, where he distinguished himself as a quarterback of the school's Class 3A football team.

During college, Warner met his future wife, the former Brenda Carney Meoni; they married on October 11, 1997. Brenda was a United States Marine Corps veteran and a divorcee with two children when she and Kurt wed. She had also recently lost her parents, Larry and Jenny Carney, when their Arkansas home was destroyed by a 1996 tornado. After Kurt was cut from the Packers' training camp in 1994, he got a job working the night shift as a stock boy at a local Hy-Vee grocery store, in addition to his work as an assistant-coach at Northern Iowa. Warner was still hoping to get an NFL tryout, but with that possibility appearing dim and the long hours at the Hy-Vee for minimum wage taking their toll, Warner began his Arena League career.

Warner officially adopted Brenda's two children, son Zachary and daughter Jesse, after their marriage. The Warners also have 5 children of their own: sons Elijah and Kade, daughter Jada, and twin girls Sierra Rose and Sienna Rae.

Both Kurt and his wife are active charismatic Christians.

Warner has also appeared in several public service announcements for Civitan International, promoting their volunteer efforts and their work with the developmentally disabled.

On October 24, 2006, he was featured in a political advertisement opposing a bill supporting embryonic stem cell research in Missouri. The advertisement was in response to a pro-embryonic research ad featuring Michael J. Fox. He appeared in the advertisement with James Caviezel, Patricia Heaton, Jeff Suppan, and Mike Sweeney. The advertisement aired during Game 4 of the 2006 World Series.

Warner has devoted time and money to his First Things First Foundation. The foundation has been involved with numerous projects for causes such as children's hospitals, people with developmental disabilities and assisting single parents. Warner's work both on and off the field resulted in him being awarded the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award 2008.

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Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed

Image:Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed.jpg

Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed is a sports game developed and published by Midway for the Sony PlayStation. It was released in North America on May 18, 2000.

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Steve Young (American football)


Steve Young (born Jon Steven Young on October 11, 1961 in Salt Lake City, Utah), is a former quarterback for the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League, the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the NFL in 1992 and 1994, the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, the first left-handed quarterback to be so honored. He holds the NFL record for highest career passer rating and won six NFL passing titles. He is a notable member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a descendant of one of the church founders, Brigham Young, for whom Steve Young's alma mater Brigham Young University was named.

Young attended Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut. He earned 1978 All-FCIAC West Division First Team honors in his junior year, his first year starting at quarterback for the Cardinals. In 1979, he once again earned All-FCIAC West Division First Team honors, along with CIAC All-State honors, rushing for 13 touchdowns. In two seasons, he ran the ball 267 times for 1,928 yards. In the option offense run by Greenwich, passing was always the second option; he completed only 41 percent of his throws for 1,220 yards. During his senior year he was co-captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. In basketball, he averaged 15 points a game. In baseball, he hit .384 and played center field when he wasn't pitching. He was 5-1 and threw a 3-0 no-hitter against New Canaan High School.

Because Young was such a great runner, he was heavily recruited by North Carolina, who wanted him to play quarterback in the option offense the Tar Heels were using at the time. However, Young ultimately decided to attend Brigham Young University. Initially, he struggled at passing, and BYU's coaching staff considered switching him to defensive back because of his athleticism. However, he worked hard to improve his quarterbacking skills and eventually succeeded record-setting Jim McMahon as the Cougars' starting QB. Young's senior season (1983) was spectacular. He passed for 3,902 yards and 33 touchdowns in the regular season, and his 71.3% completion percentage set an NCAA single-season record. He also added 544 yards rushing. With Young at quarterback, BYU set an NCAA record by averaging 584.2 yards of total offense per game, with 370.5 of those yards coming from Young's passing and rushing. The Cougars finished the year with an impressive 11–1 record; Young was named First Team All-American and finished second in voting for the Heisman Trophy (behind Nebraska running back Mike Rozier). Young's record breaking season was honored when he won the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award which recognizes the nation's best collegiate quarterback. Young capped his college career by scoring the game-winning touchdown in BYU's 21–17 victory over Missouri in the 1983 Holiday Bowl.

Young finished his 3 seasons with 592 pass completions for 7,733 yards and 56 touchdowns, along with 1,048 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. In 2001, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Young signed a record 10-year, $40 million contract with the Los Angeles Express of the now-defunct United States Football League in 1984. He agreed to take his payment in the form of an annuity to help the fledgling team; he would receive 40 million dollars paid out over 40 years. It was with the Express that Young came into contact with coach Russ A. Molzahn. At the time, it was another huge signing by the fledgling league, who had also succeeded in signing the current Heisman Trophy winner, running back Mike Rozier of the University of Nebraska as well as the previous winner, University of Georgia's running back Herschel Walker. Despite being surrounded with some talent, such as future NFL'ers Jojo Townsell, Mel Gray and Kevin Nelson, and making the playoffs in Young's first season, the Express never was able to create a sustaining fan base in Los Angeles. Young missed the first six games of his rookie season because he took some college classes so he could graduate on time. However, he started the final 12 games and had a decent year. His most notable accomplishment was becoming the first pro football player ever to pass for 300 yards and rush for another 100 in a single game.

In Young's second and final season with the USFL's Express, team owner William Oldenburg went bankrupt, and was forced to turn the team over to the league after being unable to find a buyer. The season rapidly became a fiasco. Before one game, the team bus driver refused to drive the Express to the Coliseum after his paycheck bounced. Young contributed a lot of money, as did some of his teammates, and the driver got them to their game. Young then lined up in the tailback position and took snaps from the shotgun formation because the Express were left with no healthy running backs.

The league ceased operations in 1986 after losing most of its claims in an antitrust suit against the NFL. Young continues to receive his annuity. Payments started at $200,000 per year in 1990 and will continue to increase annually. In 2027, the final year of the contract, Young should receive $3.173 million.

Young signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985 after being the first player selected in the year's supplemental draft. However, the Buccaneers posted 2–14 win-loss records in each of Young's two seasons with them, and Young's record as starter was 3–16. In his 19 games, he threw for only 11 touchdowns with 21 interceptions while completing fewer than 55% of his passes. Although his time in Tampa Bay was miserable, San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh was impressed by Young's natural abilities and felt that his problems were due to the struggling Bucs organization.

When the Buccaneers selected University of Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde first overall in the 1987 NFL Draft, Young was deemed a bust and traded to the San Francisco 49ers on April 24, 1987, to serve as a backup to Joe Montana. The Buccaneers received 2nd and 4th round draft picks in the trade, which they used to draft Miami linebacker Winston Moss, and Arizona State wide receiver Bruce Hill, respectively. Young would spend the final 13 years of his career with the 49ers, a stint which would help him become one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, and earn membership in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2005.

Steve Young played behind Montana his first several years, but shone as a backup. Subbing for an injured Montana early in the first quarter of a 1987 game against the Chicago Bears, he threw 4 touchdown passes in a 41–0 victory. On October 30, 1988, Young ran through the Minnesota Vikings for a 49-yard, game-winning touchdown run. He started the game out with a 73-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor, after Montana went down with an injury. The play earned the 49ers a 24–21 victory and a bit of revenge on the Vikings, who had defeated them in the 1987 playoffs.

In 1989, he displayed his potential to become the team's starter in the future. While Montana won the NFL MVP award and led the team to victory in Super Bowl XXIV, Young still had a good season, completing 69% of his passes for 1,001 yards and 8 touchdowns, with only 3 interceptions. On October 22, 1989, he posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when he completed 11 of 12 passes for 188 yards and three touchdown passes in a 37–20 victory over the New England Patriots. In his four seasons as a backup, Young had thrown 23 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Little did he know that he would take over for Montana sooner than he thought.

He rushed for a career high 102 yards on just 8 carries vs. the New Orleans Saints on December 23, 1990, making him only the second 49ers quarterback to rush for at least 100 yards in a single game. The 49ers lost the game 13-10.

Following an injury to Montana in the 1990 playoffs which forced him to miss the entire 1991 season, Young got his chance to lead the 49ers. It was a rough start for Young. Midway through the season, the 49ers found themselves struggling with a 4–4 record. In the ninth game of the season, after throwing a franchise record 97-yard touchdown pass to Taylor, Young suffered a knee injury and was replaced by backup quarterback Steve Bono. After a loss in that game, Bono led the 49ers to five consecutive victories, playing so well that coach George Seifert decided to keep him in the starting lineup after Young had recovered. It wasn't until the 15th game of the season that Young got to play again, after Bono went down with an injury of his own. Young finished the game by leading the 49ers to victory and then closed out the season by throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns and also rushing for 63 yards and another touchdown in a 52–14 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football at Candlestick Park.

Young finished the season with an NFL best 101.8 passer rating. Despite missing five full games and most of a sixth, he still threw for 2,517 yards and 17 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions. But despite Young's strong season, the season for the team was widely regarded as a disappointment. The 49ers had slipped from a 14–2 record in the previous season to a 10–6 record in 1991. While 10 wins is usually enough to make the playoffs, this time it wasn't, and San Francisco ended up not playing in the postseason for the first time since 1982. It was thought by many that Young's days as the 49ers starter were numbered due to the impending return of Montana from the injury to his right elbow, and some observers said the 49ers should trade Young and keep Montana and Bono. However, this wasn't the case.

By the start of the 1992 season, it appeared that Young's starting job was in serious peril. In addition to having to compete with Bono, Montana appeared to be close to recovering from his injury caused by the 1990 playoff game. San Francisco came close to trading Young to the Los Angeles Raiders, but no deal was finalized and it turned out that Montana would not recover in time to start in the opening game. Young ended up as San Francisco's starting quarterback, but once again got off to a rough start. On the fifth play of the opening game, he suffered a concussion and was replaced by Bono, who threw two touchdown passes while leading the 49ers to a 31–14 win. The following week, San Francisco lost 34–31 to the Buffalo Bills, despite a career high 449 passing yards and three touchdowns from Young, in a game that featured a rarity; zero punts from either team. However, Young recovered and led the 49ers on a five game winning streak, capped off by a 56-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons in which Young passed for 399 yards and three touchdowns. After missing most of the next game (a 24-14 loss to the Cardinals) with the flu, Young led San Francisco to victory in all of their remaining games of the season, giving the team a 14–2 record. Young finished the season with 3,456 passing yards and 537 rushing yards, along with an NFL best 25 touchdown passes and 107.0 passer rating, earning him the Most Valuable Player award. Young was the first quarterback ever to record a triple digit rating in consecutive seasons. Many credit Young's turnaround to the arrival of then 49ers Offensive Coordinator Mike Shanahan, who mentored Young just as he did John Elway in the years before. Shanahan worked with Young on combining his running skill with on-the-move passing decisions. He went on to throw for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns, and rush for 73 yards, in a 20–13 divisional playoff win over the Washington Redskins before losing the NFC title game 30–20 against the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. Despite the disappointment, Young was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

Young's performance was so impressive that before the start of the 1993 season, San Francisco traded Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs. Young was now the 49ers' undisputed starter, and would remain so for the rest of his career. But once again, he had a rough start to the season. Over the first four games of 1993, Young, who was hindered by a swollen thumb on his throwing hand, threw eight interceptions, more than he had thrown during the entire 1992 season. But after his thumb healed, Young went on an incredible streak over a span of seven games, throwing 16 touchdown passes with only 2 interceptions and a 122.2 passer rating. By the end of the year, Young set franchise records for most passing yards (4,023), and consecutive passes thrown without an interception (189), while leading the NFL in touchdown passes (29) and passer rating (101.5). The team slipped to a 10–6 record, but advanced to the NFC championship game again by blowing out the New York Giants 44–3 in the divisional round. However, once again they were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys, this time 38–21.

After several key free agent signings including All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders and NFL Draft selections, the 49ers looked to win their first Super Bowl since 1989. They started fast, beating the Los Angeles Raiders 44–14 on the strength of four touchdown passes from Young, one of four games during the regular season in which he had at least four. After a loss in a much anticipated game to Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs, the 49ers won their next two games before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 40–8 at Candlestick Park, a game in which Young was eventually benched in the middle of an offensive series. Although head coach George Seifert later said he only pulled Young because he was getting manhandled by the Eagles' defense, Young had had enough of being scapegoated for 49er shortfalls and loudly (and visibly) lambasted Seifert over his decision. But the game was considered a turning point in the season; from there, Young led the team to wins in 10 of their last 11 games and they finished an NFL best 13–3, securing home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The 49ers had the number one offense in the NFL, and were so dominant that Seifert often took Young out of games early if he felt that the 49ers had an insurmountable lead at the time.

After an easy 44-15 victory over the Chicago Bears in the first round of the playoffs, the 49ers jumped out to a 31-14 halftime lead over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game, holding on to win 38-28 as Young threw for two touchdowns and added 47 yards and another touchdown on the ground. As a result, Young would head to his first Super Bowl as a starting quarterback. The 49ers were heavy favorites to become the first team with five Super Bowl victories.

On the strength of a six touchdown performance that surpassed the previous Super Bowl record of five, owned by the man Young replaced, Joe Montana, Steve Young was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX as the 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26. Young also threw for 325 yards and rushed for 49 yards, making him the first player ever to finish a Super Bowl as the game's leader in both rushing and passing yards. The victory capped off an incredible year for Young, who had one of the best seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. He threw for 3,969 yards, a then franchise record 35 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions, completed a franchise record 70.28 percent of his passes, and broke Montana's single season mark with a then record 112.8 passer rating. He was named NFL MVP for the second time.

In the three years following Super Bowl XXIX, the 49ers would be eliminated each year by Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, twice in San Francisco. In additon to the early playoff exits, Young suffered a series of injuries that forced him to miss several games from 1995 to 1997. Young entered the 1998 season at age 37 and many believed his skills had diminished because of his history of injuries and a general decline in his game due to age. However he silenced all critics once again, putting up career numbers in passing yards (4,170) and passing touchdowns (36). He finally beat Favre and the Packers in the NFC wild card game that year, as he threw the winning touchdown to wide receiver Terrell Owens with three seconds remaining to win the game 30–27. In deference to Dwight Clark's legendary catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC championship game, Owens' grab was called "The Catch II." However, a week later, 3 critical interceptions thrown by Young plagued the 49ers throughout the game as they were defeated by the Atlanta Falcons, 20-18, in the divisional playoffs. Over that span of seasons from 1995 to 1998, Young led the NFL in passer rating twice (in 1996 and 1997), and led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes in 1998.

The 1999 season would turn out to be Steve Young's last. Young was plagued by concussions throughout his career; officially, Young had suffered seven concussions, but many believe the number to be higher. During a Week 3 Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Young was violently sacked by Cardinals' cornerback Aeneas Williams due to a missed blocking assignment by 49ers' running back Lawrence Phillips. Young was knocked out of the game and did not return to that game, or any game the rest of the season, suffering from symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. Young was forced to retire at the end of the season.

Though he did not become the 49ers' starter until his 8th NFL season, and though he played a full season only 3 times during his 15-year career, Young compiled impressive career numbers. He completed 2,667 of 4,149 passes for 33,124 yards and 232 touchdowns, with 107 interceptions. His 43 rushing touchdowns were more than legendary hall of fame running back Gale Sayers. His 96.8 career passer rating is the highest in NFL history; his 4,239 rushing yards are the second most ever gained by a quarterback, behind Randall Cunningham.

Steve Young played in one of the five greatest NFL passing games. Below is a list of every game where two quarterbacks passed for 400 or more yards.

A left-handed thrower, Young was famous for his ability to "scramble" away from the pass rush. He has the third-highest single-season passer rating at 112.8 (set in the 1994 season), next to Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning (121.1 QB rating in 2004), and New England Patriots' Tom Brady (117.2 QB rating in 2007). However, among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 passing attempts, Young's career passer rating of 96.8 is the highest of any quarterback in NFL history. Peyton Manning is second at 94.4; Kurt Warner is third at 93.8. Young's career completion percentage (64.3%) is the third-highest ever for qualifying quarterbacks, behind Miami Dolphins' Chad Pennington (65.3%) and Arizona Cardinals' Kurt Warner (65.2%).

In 1999, he was ranked #63 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Young was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 5, 2005; he was the first left-handed Quarterback to be so honored. He was enshrined August 7, 2005. His induction speech was given by his father, LeGrande "Grit" Young.

The San Francisco 49ers had his #8 jersey retired during a halftime ceremony against the New England Patriots on October 5, 2008. He was the 11th player in team history to receive this honor.

He appeared in All Sport, Visa, and Gatorade commercials with Jerry Rice while the two played for the 49ers. His 1988 scramble against the Minnesota Vikings was featured in a 2006 Burger King commercial with the Burger King "King" digitally superimposed over the young quarterback.

He appeared in the football video game All-Pro Football 2K8, along with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.

Young is the great-great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for whom Brigham Young University is named. His father, LeGrande "Grit" Young, played football at BYU in the late 1950s. He led the school in scoring in 1955 and in rushing and total offense in 1959. Steve Young's younger brothers Mike and Tom both played quarterback at BYU after Steve, but neither received much playing time.

He married former model Barbara Graham, on March 15, 2000, in a ceremony at the Kona Hawaii Temple in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. They have two sons and two daughters together.

On October 31, 2008, campaign signs opposing Proposition 8 (a ballot measure in California, publicly supported by officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which would reserve marriage exclusively to one man and one woman) were observed at the Youngs' home. After initial reports concluded that both Youngs were openly opposing Proposition 8, later statements asserted that Steve was not taking a public stand on this measure, (though the couple did write a $50,000 check to a group opposing Prop 8) and that the public opposition to the proposition was coming solely from his wife Barbara, whose brother is gay.

Steve Young received his law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. In the 1994 and 1995 seasons, Young received snaps from center Bart Oates who, like Young, is now also a lawyer. This marks the only time in NFL history one future lawyer has snapped a football to another. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Utah Valley State College for speaking at its graduation ceremonies in 2005.

He has been involved in business ventures including a stint with private equity firm H&G Capital Partners, which was founded by billionaire industrialist Jon M. Huntsman and former Bain Capital executive Robert C. Gay and was a co-founder of the private equity firm, Sorenson Capital, in Lehi, Utah. He currently sits on the board of Foundry Networks.

When Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995, Young was the first volunteer. During the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, Young carried the placard for Great Britain. Additionally, Young was among the contingent at Salt Lake City in February 1998 to receive the Olympic Flag after the 1998 Winter Olympics closed in Nagano, Japan at Salt Lake City International Airport.

He has also maintained involvement with football. He can been seen alongside Stuart Scott and Emmitt Smith on the pre- and post-game shows for ESPN's Monday Night Football. He also co-hosts a radio show on KNBR at 5 pm on Wednesdays during football season along with The Razor and Mr.T, Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert. Despite having the 2nd highest rushing yardage total of any quarterback in NFL history, as a football analyst Young surprisingly is not a strong supporter of modern "running/scrambling" quarterbacks such as Vince Young.

Young spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2000, leading some to speculate that he might be interested in entering politics in the future.

Steve serves as a National Advisor to ASCEND, a Humanitarian Alliance. This non-profit organization plans expeditions to African and South American countries to provide life skills mentoring with sustainable solutions in education, enterprise, health and simple technology.

In 1993, Steve founded a charitable foundation known as the Forever Young Foundation, which serves children facing significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges by providing academic, athletic, and therapeutic opportunities otherwise unavailable to them.

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Marshall Faulk

Marshall Faulk's game ball from the September 14, 1991 game when he ran for a NCAA-record 386 yards and scored 44 points. Faulk did this in his second game as a true freshman for San Diego State.

Marshall William Faulk (born February 26, 1973 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a former American football running back who played in the National Football League. He is currently an analyst for NFL Total Access on the NFL Network. He played football in college for San Diego State University, before drafted to the Indianapolis Colts in the 1994 NFL Draft. Following the 1998 season Faulk was traded to the St. Louis Rams. Marshall is one of the few players to reach at least 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in his career. His seven two-point conversions are an NFL record. Marshall Faulk is the only player to have 100+ rushing touchdowns and 30+ receiving touchdowns. Due to a knee injury, Faulk did not play in the 2006 season. During the season he became an analyst for the NFL Network. Faulk announced on March 26, 2007 that he had officially retired from football at the annual NFL Owners meeting. Faulk had his #28 jersey retired by the St. Louis Rams on December 20, 2007, during a halftime ceremony with NBC anchor Bob Costas.

Marshall Faulk was a stand-out back at San Diego State University, compared to Gale Sayers, Roger Craig and Thurman Thomas with his ability to rush and receive. In one of the most prolific performances of his entire career, he ran all over the University of the Pacific in just his second collegiate game. In 37 carries, he racked up 386 yards and scored seven touchdowns, both NCAA records for freshmen, and built on this performance throughout the year. He compiled one of the greatest freshman seasons in NCAA history, gaining 1,429 yards rushing, with 23 total touchdowns (21 rushing), and 140 points scored. Although in the next two seasons, he would not replicate the success of his freshman year, he showed in his final season at SDSU he was still an all-purpose back, catching 47 passes for 640 yards, which aided him in ranking 3rd in all-purpose yardage that year and 2nd in scoring. Faulk left San Diego State University with many of the school's offensive records, amongst them 62 career touchdowns, which is the 8th most in NCAA history. Many experts still consider Faulk one of the greatest all around athletes in Professional Sports.

Faulk was drafted 2nd overall in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, who were in desperate need of a running game. Faulk ran a 4.28 forty-yard dash time at the combine. On March 31, 1994, Faulk ran a 4.35 forty-yard time at the San Diego State Pro Day. Faulk responded by rushing for 1,282 yards, 11 touchdowns, and one receiving touchdown. The Colts improved to 8-8. The next season Faulk rushed for 1,078 yards and 14 total touchdowns.The Colts made the postseason, going 9-7, and narrowly missed the Super Bowl after a close loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game which Faulk missed due to a nagging toe injury.

The next year was a miserable one for Faulk. Because of a toe injury he suffered earlier in the season, he only rushed for 587 yards, with a paltry 3 yards-per-carry average. He recovered from the injury and rushed for 1,000+ yards in each of the next two seasons, setting a new personal high with 1,319 in 1998. He also caught 86 passes for 906 yards that year and was the NFL's leader in total yards from scrimmage with an astounding 2,227, beating out Denver's MVP running back Terrell Davis by 2 yards, while also finishing 4th in the league in receptions. It would also be the first of an NFL-record 4 consecutive 2,000+ total-yard seasons.

Faulk was traded to the St. Louis Rams the following season due to problems he referred to as "misunderstandings."Faulk had missed practices and was considered holding out for a new contract. Colts president Bill Polian did not want his young team's chemistry damaged, so he traded Faulk for second- and fifth-round picks in the upcoming draft (used to draft LB Mike Peterson and DE Brad Scioli). The Colts moved on at the position, drafting Edgerrin James in the first round.

In his first year in St. Louis, Faulk was the catalyst for "The Greatest Show on Turf", a nickname given to the Rams' spread offense formation, innovated by Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz.In this offense he put up some of the best all-purpose numbers in the history of the NFL. Faulk's patience and diligence in learning the Rams' offense paid off when he totaled an NFL record 2,429 yards from scrimmage, eclipsing Barry Sanders's record of 2,358 yards set in 1997. With 1,381 yards rushing (5.5 yards-per-carry average), 1,048 receiving yards, and scoring 12 touchdowns, Faulk joined Roger Craig as the only men to total 1,000+ yards in each category in a season. The Rams eventually went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV. In the game, Faulk was contained on the ground by Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher's defensive scheme, limiting him to just 17 rushing yards. This was perhaps due to the Titans' inability to stop the Rams' passing game, of which Faulk was a major part, recording 5 receptions for 90 yards. His 90 receiving yards were the second highest total by a running back in Super Bowl history. At the end of the season, he received the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award and also the leading rusher in NFL, with 1,389 yards and starter for the NFC squad in the 1999 Pro Bowl.

The following year, Faulk became the first running back in NFL history to lead his team in receptions five separate seasons (three in Indianapolis and twice in St. Louis). In addition, he was the NFL MVP and again the Offensive Player of the Year in 2000. He had 1,359 yards rushing in fourteen games and set a new NFL record with 26 total touchdowns, (a record that would soon be broken by Priest Holmes and then later by Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson), despite missing two games due to injury. He also averaged 5+ yards per carry again, this time with 5.4. The Rams, however were not able to replicate the record they had the year prior. Even with the offense scoring the most points and yards during the "The Greatest Show on Turf" era, the defense gave up 470 points.

The Rams returned to the Super Bowl the next year against the New England Patriots (to whom they lost), 20-17, in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history, as their defense returned to form, allowing only 273 points, and the offense once again scored over 500 points, with 503. Faulk had another excellent season, rushing 260 times for a career-high 1,382 yards (5.3 yards per carry), and catching 83 passes for 765 yards, for an NFC-leading total of 2,147 yards from scrimmage (second in the NFL only to Priest Holmes, who totaled 2,169 yards) and scoring 21 touchdowns despite once again missing 2 games to injuries. Faulk won, for the third year in a row, the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year award, but finished second in a close vote to teammate Kurt Warner in the MVP vote. These years would be the climax of Faulk's career.

Faulk's injuries and age would soon catch up to him; 2001 was the last of his 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and though he was still employed as the Rams' primary running back for several years following the 2001 season, he was no longer the player he had been in his prime, despite remaining a respected and effective player.

On July 21, the Rams announced the Faulk would undergo reconstructive knee surgery and miss the entire 2006 NFL season. During the season Faulk served as an analyst for the NFL Network's NFL Total Access.

On an edition of CBS's "NFL Gamecenter" on November 20, 2006, Faulk was the center of controversy when he stated that a "quarterback 'makes' the offensive line" and that he could pass-rush against his former teammate Orlando Pace, one of the league's premier pass-protectors, with success given enough attempts, belittling the importance of a good offensive line to a team. Immediately after the commercial break that ensued, he was nowhere to be found on the set.

During an NBC Sunday Night Football halftime show, Faulk was asked by one of the announcers, "So are you retired or not?" Faulk said that he was still a Ram, and would be a Ram for the rest of his life. He then said that if the Rams would have him back, he would play next year, as he was able to run full speed on his re-built knees, however on March 26, 2007, Faulk announced his retirement from football.

On November 29, 2007, the Rams announced that they would be retiring Faulk's number. The ceremony was during halftime of the Thursday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 20, 2007.

Marshall Faulk is an analyst for NFL Total Access on the NFL Network. He is also an analyst for Sprint Exclusive Entertainment, where he breaks down basketball, baseball and NASCAR, in addition to football for viewers. In 2008, Faulk joined as a spokesman for a sports website OPENSports.com, the brainchild of Mike Levy founder and former CEO of CBS Sportsline.com. Faulk also writes a NFL blog and occasionally answers members' questions for OPEN Sports.

Faulk currently resides in San Diego, California and has also moved his charitable foundation there.

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Eli Manning

Eli Manning US govt.jpg

Elisha Nelson Manning (born January 3, 1981 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American football quarterback for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He is the younger brother of Peyton Manning and Cooper Manning and the son of Archie Manning and Olivia Manning. He played college football at the University of Mississippi after attending prep school at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. Manning won the most valuable player award in Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. He was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, but Manning had previously stated that he did not want to play for San Diego. Manning was soon sent to the New York Giants in return the Chargers received the Giants fourth overall pick Philip Rivers, a third round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft and the Giants' first–and fifth–round picks in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Prior to deciding which college to attend, Manning received a call from David Cutcliffe, formerly the offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. Cutcliffe had been hired as the head coach at Ole Miss and had previously helped Eli's older brother Peyton improve his game. Upon learning Cutcliffe was now in charge of the Rebel program, the 18-year-old followed his father’s footsteps, and made his way to Oxford, Mississippi.

During his football career at Ole Miss, Eli set or tied 45 single-game, season, and career records. His career numbers include 10,119 passing yards (fifth on the SEC career list), 81 touchdown passes (third on the SEC career list), and a passer rating of 137.7 (tied for sixth on the SEC career list). Manning also led the Rebels to a 10-3 record and a 31-28 SBC Cotton Bowl victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2003. He was invited to play in the 2004 Senior Bowl, but chose not to play.

As his senior year came to a close, Eli won many awards including the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best all-around player, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award, the Sporting News Radio Socrates Award, and the SEC Player of the Year. He was also a candidate for the Heisman Trophy but voters chose Oklahoma's quarterback Jason White (1,481 voting points) to win the award. Eli had 710 voting points making him third behind White and Pittsburgh's sophomore wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Manning graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Marketing and a GPA of 3.44.

The San Diego Chargers originally held the rights to the overall first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. With Manning being the most highly coveted player in the draft, it appeared that the Chargers' intentions were to draft Manning first overall. However, Manning expressed his refusal to play for the Chargers if drafted by them. The Chargers selected him with the first pick overall anyway, however unknown to Manning, the Chargers had a deal in place with the New York Giants, where the Giants would draft and then trade Philip Rivers and draft picks (used to pick future Pro Bowlers Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding) to the Chargers for Manning.

Following 2004, Kurt Warner voided the last year of his contract and Eli was named the starter for 2005. Manning led the Giants to a 2-0 record with victories against the Cardinals and Saints, before traveling to the west coast for a test in San Diego. Chargers fans did not forget the snub, and on September 25, 2005 when Eli and the Giants made their first trip to San Diego for a game since that draft day, the crowd booed Manning loudly every time he touched the ball. San Diego defeated the Giants, 45-23, but Eli displayed what may have been his most impressive performance of his young career, going 24-41 for 352 yards and two touchdowns.

Following his performance at San Diego, Manning returned home to throw for almost 300 yards and a career high four touchdowns against the Rams at Giants stadium in a 44-24 romp. Two games later, he led a brilliant last-minute drive against the Broncos to secure a 24-23 victory for the Giants. The drive culminated in a two yard touchdown to Amani Toomer with 8 seconds remaining. The following week, Manning overcame a weak first half at San Francisco to help his team secure their first official road victory of the season, 24–6. Despite a poor performance at home against the Vikings, throwing four interceptions, he again led his team back to tie the game in the final minutes before the Vikings won on a late field goal.

Eli's second season was largely a success. He finished in the top 5 in both passing yards and touchdown passes, while leading an offense that finished 3rd in the NFL in scoring, with a total of 422 points. It was the most points the Giants scored in a single season since 1963. The Giants won the NFC East with an 11–5 record, and went to the postseason.

The one knock on Eli during his first full season was his efficiency. Even though the Giants finished at the top of the NFC East, Manning himself struggled during his first full year as starting quarterback. Eli completed just 52.8% of his passes with a modest 6.8 yards per attempt, producing an unimpressive quarterback efficiency rating of 75.9 (23rd in the league), leading many sports commentators to question his abilities. Manning visibly wore down late in the season. His play fell off, culminating in a poor performance in the playoffs against Carolina.

Manning's second full season was reminiscent of his 2005 campaign. He started off playing well and completed over 65 percent of his passes through the first four games. However, he struggled in the second half of the season and his production diminished towards the end of the regular season. After losing a tough game to his brother Peyton and the Colts on opening day, Eli and the Giants rebounded from a 24-7 4th-quarter deficit en route to a 30-24 overtime victory over the division rival Eagles in week two.Manning threw for a career high 371 yards in the win with three touchdowns including a game winning pass to Plaxico Burress in overtime. Following a poor performance against Seattle the next week, Manning and the Giants responded by winning five straight games including wins over the Redskins, Cowboys and Falcons to push their record to 6-2.

Following this winning streak, key injuries including one to receiver Amani Toomer pushed Eli Manning and the Giants into a downward slide. Playing against the Chicago Bears, Manning started well, but the Giant's offense was derailed by the loss of left tackle Luke Petitgout to a broken leg. Manning was held to only 141 yards passing with two interceptions. Petigout's loss left a gaping hole at the crucial left tackle position, and Manning was unable to repeat his first half success. Manning struggled the next week at Jacksonville and the week after that, a costly interception helped to culminate a huge collapse at Tennessee, with the Giants seeing a 21-point fourth quarter lead simply evaporate. Manning improved the following week, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, but the Giants lost again. Finally regaining momentum, Manning threw three touchdowns in a win at Carolina, but then he stumbled badly in the final three games. He threw two interceptions against the Eagles and tallied only 73 passing yards in a game against the Saints. Although the Giants battled back to 8-8 the following week at Washington, Manning completed only 12 of 26 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown. The Giants qualified for the postseason and met the Eagles again. Although he did significantly better in this game than the 2005 playoff matchup, completing 16 of 27 passes and two touchdowns, the Giants lost to a last second field goal by the Eagles.

For the year, Manning threw for 3,244 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He completed 57.7 percent of his passes, a five point improvement from 2005, but he again struggled badly in the second half of the season. Manning finished the season with a mediocre quarterback efficiency rating of 77.0 (18th in the league) thanks to a lackluster 6.2 yards per attempt. He was generally perceived to be a solid quarterback, but he lacked the more notable successes of fellow 2004 draftees Phillip Rivers (for whom he was traded) and Ben Roethlisberger.

Eli Manning trained in the Meadowlands with Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride and new Quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer. For the first time ever, Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey practiced in the off-season with Eli to perfect their timing and chemistry rather than training alone in Miami as they did in previous years.

Manning opened the 2007 season with an outstanding personal performance against the Dallas Cowboys, completing 28 of 41 passing attempts for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception, but suffered a shoulder sprain and was removed from the game late in the second half. Although he did play against Green Bay in week 2 while throwing for 211 yards with one touchdown, the Giants defense performed poorly again and the team dropped to 0-2 with Green Bay winning, 35-13. In week 3 Manning got a come-from-behind victory as the Giants defense improved, pitching a shutout in the second half and stopping the Washington Redskins on a fourth and goal situation, winning the game 24-17. The Giants defense then shut down the Philadelphia Eagles with an NFL record-tying 12 sacks, holding the Eagles offense to one field goal. The Giants won with a score of 16-3. The following week, Manning overcame a dismal first half to throw for two second-half scores in a 35-24 win over their in-city rivals, the New York Jets.

Following two straight home victories, Manning and the Giants obtained their fourth consecutive victory with a 31-10 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Monday Night Football. Manning performed well, completing 27 of 39 passes for 303 yards along with a pair of touchdowns while giving away two intereceptions. Behind a dominant defensive effort, the Giants improved to 5-2 the next week with a 33-15 win over the 49ers. Manning played well again, throwing for two touchdowns in the effort. In week eight of the season, the Giants played a road game against the Miami Dolphins on October 28, 2007, in London's Wembley Stadium. Manning only threw for 59 yards in the rain and mud, but he scored the Giants' only touchdown on a 10-yard run. This touchdown was the first in an NFL regular season game that was played outside of North America. The Giants defeated the Dolphins, 13–10, bringing the Giants to a 6–2 record at the mid-way point of the 2007 season.

After a week of criticism in the New York media and being outplayed by Tony Romo, Manning had a bounce-back victory versus their conference wildcard competitors the Detroit Lions. Manning managed to throw for 283 yards and 1 touchdown but most importantly, no interceptions in a critical road game.

The following week in a 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Manning threw four interceptions and had three of them returned for touchdowns. He continued to struggle until the last game of the season, against the 15-0 New England Patriots. With a playoff spot secured, the Giants could have rested their starters for the playoffs, but they instead chose to keep in the regulars and attempt to stop New England's quest for an undefeated regular season. The Giants lost 38-35, but Manning played exceptionally well, completing 22 of 32 passes for 251 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.

On January 6, 2008, Manning went 20-of-27 for 185 yards playing on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The underdog Giants won 24-14, and Manning had two touchdown passes.

On January 13, 2008, Manning led the Giants to an upset victory over the heavily favored Dallas Cowboys, the number one seed in the NFC. For the third straight game, Manning played well, completing 12 of 18 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. The Giants were the first team to beat an NFC number one seed in the divisional round since the start of the 12-team format in 1990. . This victory secured an NFC Championship berth against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, January 20, 2008. In the championship game, the Giants beat the Packers in overtime, with a score of 23-20. The dramatic victory secured Manning and the Giants a trip to Super Bowl XLII. This was the first Super Bowl appearance for the New York Giants since 2000, and their first Super Bowl victory since Super Bowl XXV.

In front of a record-setting American television audience and on the strength of a late fourth-quarter drive led by Manning, the Giants beat the 12.5 point favored, undefeated New England Patriots 17–14. After a pass to David Tyree early in the fourth quarter, the Giants were forced to similarly concede a score to New England with two and a half minutes remaining in the game.

On the following drive, however, after Asante Samuel dropped a possible game winning interception, Manning again connected with David Tyree on a play in which he avoided several near-sacks and Tyree caught the ball off his helmet for a large gain. Shortly after, Plaxico Burress caught a short touchdown pass with just thirty seconds remaining, and the upset victory was sealed. Manning became only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw two go-ahead fourth quarter touchdowns in a Super Bowl (Joe Montana being the first). Following the Giants' monumental victory, Eli and the coaching staff spoke briefly with President George W. Bush.

For his efforts, Manning was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLII. He and his brother Peyton are the only brother combination to play at quarterback in the Super Bowl and the only set of brothers to win Super Bowl MVP, doing so in successive years.

For winning Super Bowl MVP he was given his choice of any 2008 model Cadillac, and Manning chose an Escalade Hybrid. The Wednesday following the Super Bowl he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Eli and the Giants opened the 2008 season with a win over their division rivals, the Washington Redskins, 16–7. “It was a great opening to the season,” said Manning, who completed 19 passes of 35 for 216 yards, and had one rushing touchdown against one interception. “There was a lot of emotion, a lot of excitement. You could feel it in the crowd." In the Giants' second game of the year against the St. Louis Rams, they won again, 41–13, behind a stellar Manning performance. Manning finished the game with 20 completions, 260 yards passing and threw three touchdowns to three different receivers. The victory also marked the team's fourth straight victory over the Rams. The following week, Manning rallied the Giants to more fourth quarter magic, overcoming a late deficit to throw the go-ahead touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss and then in overtime, throwing a clutch 31-yard pass to Amani Toomer in the Giants' 26–23 win over Cincinnati. The fourth week of the season saw the Giants score on each of their first six possession and dominate the Seattle Seahawks, 44–6. Manning threw for two touchdowns, completing 19 of 25 passes for 267 yards as the Giants totaled 523 yards on offense, their most since 2002.

Following a poor team performance in a 35–14 loss at Cleveland, Manning and the Giants responded with a 29–17 win over the 49ers and battled to a hard earned 21–14 win at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. Manning completed 19 of 32 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown in the crucial win, which pushed the Giants to a 6–1 record. The following week, the Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys at home 35-14 to get to 7–1 at the midway point of the regular season. Manning threw three touchdowns in the game. New York improved to 8–1 with a 36–31 win at Philadelphia. Manning threw two touchdowns in the victory, but the crucial play occurred in the third quarter. With the Giants trailing by four, Manning appeared to make an illegal forward pass to tight end Kevin Boss. After review, it was determined that the pass was legal. The Giants scored a touchdown two plays later, which helped to re-establish momentum. Week 9 pitted the Giants in a battle with the visiting Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens had come into the game with the league's third-ranked defense; nevertheless, Manning led the Giants to a decisive 30–10 victory, improving to 9–1, which included a 200 yard rushing effort by running backs Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. Eli played perhaps his best game of the season in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLII. Against the Cardinals, he completed 26 of 33 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the 37-29 win.

The following week the Giants faced the Redskins at Washington in their second encounter this season. Prior to the game it was clear that the Redskins were going to focus on stopping the Giants run game whose Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw had proven to be a dangerous offensive weapon for New York. The Redskins decided to put the game in Manning's hands. Manning threw his first 300 yard game of the season going 21/34 with an INT and a 40 yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer. The Giants beat the Redskins 23–7.

In November, Manning was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month. For the month, Manning threw for 1,036 yards and 10 touchdowns, and compiled a 94.9 passer rating while leading the Giants to a perfect 5–0 record.

Manning was named to his first Pro Bowl on December 16th, making him the first Giants quarterback to earn the honor since Phil Simms in 1993..

In week 16 against the Carolina Panthers with NFC homefield advantage on the line, Manning had a passing day of 17 of 27 for 181 yards and no interceptions. Manning led the Giants back from deficits of 21–10 and 28–20 to tie the game with just over three minutes left, including a bullet pass to Domenik Hixon for a key 2 point conversion to tie the game at 28. The game was played in adverse freezing conditions.

After becoming the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Giants had a first playoff round bye week and home field advantage through the rest of the playoffs. In the Divisional Round, they faced the Philadelphia Eagles in Giants stadium with its signature windy conditions. Philadelphia went on to win the game 23–11. Manning just barely made a 50% percentage completion, completing 15 out of 29 passes for 169 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

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Super Bowl XLIII

Super Bowl XLIII Logo

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game which featured the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Arizona Cardinals to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 season. The Steelers (15–4) defeated the Cardinals (12–8) by a score of 27-23, earning their sixth Super Bowl win, and thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins. This broke the three-way, five-victory tie the Steelers themselves achieved alongside the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XL. They also joined the New England Patriots (who won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX) as the second team of the decade to win multiple Super Bowls.

The game, played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, was a contest between one of the NFL's most successul franchises (Pittsburgh) and a historically unsuccessful franchise (Arizona). The Cardinals entered the game seeking their first NFL title since 1947, the longest championship drought in the league. The club became an unexpected winner during the season and the playoffs with the aid of head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was the Steelers offensive coordinator during Super Bowl XL, and the re-emergence of quarterback Kurt Warner, who was the Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XXXIV with the St. Louis Rams.

Pittsburgh outgained Arizona 158 to 102 yards in the first half of Super Bowl XLIII, jumping to a 17–7 lead at halftime, aided by linebacker James Harrison's Super Bowl record 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. However, trailing 20–7 at the start of the fourth quarter, Arizona scored 16 unanswered points, including wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald's 64-yard touchdown reception, to take the lead with 2:37 remaining in the game. But then the Steelers marched 78 yards to score on wide receiver Santonio Holmes' 6-yard game-winning touchdown catch with 35 seconds left. Holmes, who caught nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, including four receptions for 71 yards on that final game-winning drive, was named Super Bowl MVP. He became the sixth wide receiver to win the award, and also was the third Pittsburgh receiver to win the award, following Lynn Swann and Hines Ward.

Despite the global financial crisis and limited amount of ancillary festivities that are normally held before the game, approximately 98.7 million American viewers watched the game on the NBC television network, making it the most-watched Super Bowl in history.

Tampa was selected for the game site on May 25, 2005, beating out three other finalists: Atlanta, Houston, and Miami. Super Bowl XLIII was the second Super Bowl at this venue and the fourth overall in that city.

In February 2008, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee unveiled the Super Bowl XLIII logo, featuring an abstract representation of a football stadium, with blue and green colors representing the regional waterways and landscapes of Tampa Bay. Eight yards of playing field are shown, alluding to the game's status as the championship of the 2008 NFL season. In a tradition starting with the Super Bowl XL logo, two stars — one red, representing the AFC, and one blue, representing the NFC — are flanked on either side of the Super Bowl XLIII logo. The tagline for Super Bowl XLIII as well as the 2008 NFL season is "Believe In Now".

The seeds of Super Bowl XLIII can be traced back to the end of the 2006 season. After winning Super Bowl XL in 2005, the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to an 8–8 record the following year. At the end of 2006, Bill Cowher ended his 15-year tenure as their head coach, leaving with a 149–90–1 record and a 12–9 record in the playoffs. Both offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and assistant head coach Russ Grimm were widely considered the front-runners to succeed Cowher in Pittsburgh.

However, without waiting to see if Pittsburgh would hire him, Whisenhunt accepted the head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals, a team that held the second longest championship drought in U.S. sports (1947, with only the Chicago Cubs last winning their championship in 1908) and had never advanced to the Super Bowl in their franchise history. The Steelers then passed over Grimm and instead hired Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin. Once Tomlin was hired by the Steelers, Grimm joined Whisenhunt in Arizona in the same position as assistant head coach as he had in Pittsburgh, and the two of them began to remodel the perennial losing club into a winner like the Steelers.

Of historical note, the game matched up two franchises previously merged into a single team, "Card-Pitt", for the 1944 season in response to the depleted rosters during World War II. Pittsburgh was going for its sixth Super Bowl win, which would place it in sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins, while the Cardinals were seeking their first league title since 1947 and only the second undisputed league championship in their history. (The then-Chicago Cardinals were named the NFL champions in 1925 for finishing with the best record, but also because the Pottsville Maroons had been fined and suspended for playing a game against the Notre Dame football team in another NFL franchise's territory.) It was the third Super Bowl in history to feature two pre-expansion era (pre-1960) teams, joining Super Bowl XIV (Steelers vs. Los Angeles Rams, the latter of which coincidentally also went 9-7 in the regular season) and Super Bowl XLI (Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears). The Cardinals and Steelers played each other twice per season from 1960 through 1969, first in the Eastern Division (1960-66), then in the Century Division of the Eastern Conference (1967-69).

It was also the first time that two quarterbacks who previously started for a Super Bowl winning team (Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger) opposed one another since Jim Plunkett's Los Angeles Raiders defeated Joe Theisman's Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. Warner started for the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowls XXXIV and Super Bowl XXXVI, winning the first and losing the second one, while Roethlisberger was the winning quarterback in Super Bowl XL.

Under Tomlin's first season as head coach, the Steelers improved to a 10–6 record in 2007. Pittsburgh then finished the 2008 season with the second best record in the AFC at 12–4, making the playoffs for the 6th time in the last eight seasons, and went on to earn their seventh Super Bowl trip in franchise history, breaking a three-way tie with the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos for second most Super Bowl appearances. The Steelers are now one Super Bowl behind the Dallas Cowboys, who currently hold the record for most appearances with eight.

The Steelers excelled on defense, leading the NFL in fewest points (13.9) and yards (237.2) per game allowed, while also ranking second in sacks with 51. Up front, their line was anchored by defensive end Aaron Smith, who recorded 60 tackles and six sacks. Behind him, two of the Steelers starting linebackers ranked among the top ten sack leaders in the NFL, LaMarr Woodley (11.5 sacks) and pro bowler/NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison (16 sacks). Pro Bowl linebacker James Farrior was also a big contributor, recording 4 sacks and leading the team with 133 tackles. The Steelers secondary was led by pro bowl safety Troy Polamalu, who ranked second in the NFL with a career high seven interceptions.

For the fifth year in a row, the Steelers offense was led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who finished the season with 3,301 passing yards and 17 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions. His top target was the Steelers all-time receiving leader Hines Ward, who recorded his fifth 1,000-yard season with 81 receptions for 1,043 yards and seven touchdowns. Other reliable receiving options included Santonio Holmes (55 receptions for 821 yards), Nate Washington (40 receptions for 631 yards), and tight end Heath Miller (48 receptions for 514 yards). The Steelers ground game was led by two-time pro bowl running back Willie Parker, who had rushed for over 1,200 yards in each of his last three seasons. Injuries in 2008 limited him to 791 yards in 11 games, but running back Mewelde Moore proved to be a solid replacement, rushing for 588 yards and catching 40 passes for 320.

For their efforts, Tomlin won the 2008 Motorola Coach Of The Year Award and Harrison was awarded with the 2008 GMC Sierra Defensive Player Of The Year.

Under Whisenhunt's first season as head coach, the Cardinals finished with an 8–8 record in 2007. Arizona then finished the 2008 season with a 9–7 record and went on to earn their first trip to the Super Bowl in franchise history, becoming only the second NFL team to do so with nine wins.

One reason for Arizona's success was the re-emergence of 37-year old quarterback Kurt Warner. Warner, after he was not selected in the NFL draft, went to work in a grocery store for a short period of time before getting his first professional break in the Arena Football League. Warner became a member of the Iowa Barnstormers and led them to two Arena Bowl appearances. After four AFL seasons, he signed on as a backup quarterback with the St. Louis Rams, being allocated for the 1998 season in NFL Europe with the Amsterdam Admirals. In 1999, he earned a chance to play in the NFL following a preseason injury to starter Trent Green. Warner ended up taking full advantage of that chance, not only securing a spot as the Rams full-time starter, but also leading them to two Super Bowls and one Super Bowl win (in which Warner was named MVP), while also winning two NFL MVP awards.

However, in 2002, Warner's production was drastically reduced by injuries and he soon lost his starting job to Marc Bulger. He eventually left the team to join the New York Giants, but once again he lost his starting job (beaten out by their #1 draft pick of 2004, future Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning) and signed on with the Cardinals in 2005. For the third time, Warner lost his starting job due to mediocre performances and injuries. After the season, Arizona selected Heisman winner Matt Leinart with their first round draft pick. This, combined with another mediocre performance in the 2006 season, appeared to severely limit Warner's chances of ever being a permanent starter on the team. However, early in the 2007 season, Warner was thrust into the starting lineup to replace an injured Leinart, and by the end of the team's season, he had emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the league, throwing 27 touchdown passes with a passer rating of 89.8.

With his starting job on the team more secure, Warner posted one of his best seasons in 2008, throwing for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns, with only 14 interceptions, giving him an NFC best 96.9 rating. His top targets were receivers Larry Fitzgerald (96 receptions, 1,431 yards, 12 touchdowns), Anquan Boldin (89 receptions, 1,038 yards, 11 touchdowns), and Steve Breaston (77 receptions, 1,006 yards, three touchdowns, 900 special teams return yards), who made the Cardinals the fifth team ever to feature three players with over 1,000 receiving yards. The Cardinals ground game was led by veteran running back Edgerrin James and rookie Tim Hightower. James led the team with 514 yards, while Hightower rushed for 399 and scored 10 touchdowns. He was also a reliable target out of the backfield, catching 34 passes for another 237 yards. Overall, Arizona's offense ranked fourth in yards per game (365.8) and third in scoring (422 points).

However, their defense had played inconsistently during the regular season, ranking just 28th in points allowed. Up front, their line was anchored by defensive lineman Bertrand Berry, who recorded five sacks and forced two fumbles. Linebacker Karlos Dansby was also a solid contributor, recording four sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles, while also leading the team with 119 tackles. The Cardinals secondary was led by rookie cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (who led the team with four interceptions) and Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson (fourth on the team in tackles, 75).

Arizona advanced to the Super Bowl by beating the fifth-seeded Atlanta Falcons 30–24, the second-seeded Carolina Panthers, 33–13, and the sixth-seeded Philadelphia Eagles, 32–25. Warner played exceptionally well in those games, throwing for a total of 661 yards and eight touchdowns, with only two interceptions, giving him a rating of 112.1. The Cardinals also got a big performance out of Larry Fitzgerald, who caught 23 passes for a postseason record 419 yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, Arizona's 28th-ranked defense showed major improvement in the postseason, forcing twelve turnovers in their three games. This included five interceptions and one fumble from Carolina's pro bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme in the divisional round.

Pittsburgh began their Super Bowl run with a 35–24 win over the fourth-seeded San Diego Chargers, gaining 342 yards, avoiding any turnovers, holding the ball for 36:30 (including for 14:43 in the third quarter alone, an NFL record for a single quarter), and scoring a touchdown in every quarter. Also, Parker appeared to be fully recovered from his regular season injuries, as evidenced by his career postseason high 147-yard, two–touchdown performance against the Chargers. Pittsburgh then went on to beat, for the third time in the season, their AFC North division arch rivals, the sixth-seeded Baltimore Ravens, 23–14, holding them to 184 yards and forcing five turnovers.

The AFC Champion Steelers stayed at the InterContinental Tampa and held their pre-game practices at the training facility of the University of South Florida Bulls. The NFC Champion Cardinals were based at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and held their practices at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training facility. Both teams arrived in the Tampa area on Monday, January 26.

Also on January 26, the NFL announced that the Super Bowl game would be one of the safest places in the United States during game time. Personnel from over 20 different federal agencies were on site to assist in protecting players and fans.

Pittsburgh entered the game as seven-point favorites over Arizona. Major factors for this included the view that the Steelers' defense was better compared to the that of the Cardinals and the feeling that the AFC was an overall better conference than the NFC.

The Cardinals were the designated "home team," as was the case for all NFC champions in odd numbered Super Bowls. Arizona wore their red jerseys, which it has done at home since moving into University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006 after predominantly wearing their white jerseys at home for their first 18 years in Arizona to combat the intense heat of September and October. As a result, the Steelers wore white jerseys for their second consecutive Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh improved to 3–0 lifetime wearing white jerseys in the Super Bowl after the victory in Super Bowl XLIII. The other two times the team wore white was as the "visiting team" against the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX (during a time when the designated "home" team was required to wear their team colored jerseys) and against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL despite being the "home team" that season but having road success in the playoffs. In addition, teams wearing white jerseys in the Super Bowl extended their winning streak to five games, dating back to Super Bowl XXXIX, currently the longest such streak between white and team colored jerseys in Super Bowl history. Pittsburgh also improved to 3-0 lifetime against NFC West Division teams in the Super Bowl, having previously beaten the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV and the Seahawks in XL.

Another pre-game storyline involved backup Steelers tight end/fullback Sean McHugh. McHugh, who spent the past three seasons with the Detroit Lions, made that team's 53-man roster at the end of the preseason, only to later be released 24 hours later alongside linebacker Anthony Cannon in order for the Lions to make room for linebacker Ryan Nece and running back Marcus Thomas. The Steelers promptly signed McHugh after the team traded center Sean Mahan back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a draft pick before the start of the season. The subsequent media attention surrounding McHugh had to do with him being deemed not good enough for the Lions (a team that would finish 0-16, the NFL's first imperfect season since the expansion 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers), but good enough for a Super Bowl team such as the Steelers and being a valuable blocker for Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Parker. McHugh himself had mixed feelings about the situation, feeling bad for his former Lions teammates, but also feeling it's a little payback for the Lions for releasing him in the first place. McHugh would play in the Super Bowl as a blocker, much like his regular season role.

The Cardinals became the second team to have their city/state location painted in their end zone for a Super Bowl, as their end zone read Arizona Cardinals. In Super Bowl XL, the Seattle Seahawks became the first team to have this, as their end zone read Seattle Seahawks. For all other Super Bowl teams, end zones have just featured the team nickname.

With all the cutbacks resulting from the severe economic downturn in the United States, the game was dubbed "The Recession Bowl." Restaurants were slow in business and many parties, including parties hosted by Playboy and Sports Illustrated were canceled. There were also 200 fewer sports journalists covering the game than at Super Bowl XLII the previous year. According to the online broker StubHub, tickets with a face value of $500 changed hands the week of the Super Bowl for an average $2,500 – a 40% drop from Super Bowl XLII in 2008 and 16% lower than Super Bowl XL in 2006. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, the Big Three automobile makers, decided not to purchase television advertisements following the three companies' business struggles in 2008 and early 2009.

The game was televised live in the United States on NBC, the network's first Super Bowl broadcast since Super Bowl XXXII at the end of the 1997 season, and was available in 1080i high definition. Play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and color commentator John Madden were in the booth, with Andrea Kremer and Alex Flanagan serving as sideline reporters. The pre-game show – a record five hours long – was hosted by the Football Night in America team headed by Bob Costas, and preceded by a two-hour special edition of Today hosted by the regular weekday team live from Tampa and the NFL Films – produced Road to the Super Bowl. Matt Millen was part of the coverage as a studio analyst. The Today contribution included portions of a taped interview with President Obama and pictures of troops viewing the proceedings in Iraq.

John Madden was the first person to have announced a Super Bowl for each of the four major U.S. television networks, having called five Super Bowls for CBS, three for FOX, and two for ABC prior to joining NBC in 2006. Meanwhile, Al Michaels was the third man to do play-by-play for a Super Bowl on NBC television (following in the footsteps of Curt Gowdy and Dick Enberg). Also, Michaels became the second person (after Pat Summerall on CBS and FOX) to be the lead Super Bowl play-by-play announcer for two different major U.S. networks (ABC and NBC). This would also be the final game Madden would call, as he announced his retirement on April 16, 2009.

Super Bowl XLIII was the final Super Bowl to air in the analog television format in the United States before the nationwide digital television transition. The transition, originally scheduled for February 17 was pushed back to June 12.

With an average U.S. audience of 98.7 million viewers, this was the most-watched Super Bowl in history, and the second-most-watched U.S. television program of any kind (trailing only the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983). However, the national Nielsen rating of 42.1 was lower than the 43.3 rating for the previous year's game. The telecast drew a 53.6 rating in Pittsburgh and a 47.5 rating in Phoenix, first and ninth respectively among local markets.

In Tucson, Arizona and surrounding areas, the analog but not digital feed of the Comcast cable service was interrupted by an unknown party, when 30 seconds from Playboy Enterprises-owned adult cable television channel Shorteez was broadcast to homes just after Larry Fitzgerald scored his fourth quarter touchdown to take the Cardinals to a 23-20 lead. Minutes before this occurred, 10 seconds of an end credit segment from ClubJenna, another Playboy-owned channel, was shown. Comcast offered a $10 credit for customers who claimed to have seen the incident, and the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would investigate the cause of the incident.

The telecast was also carried to U.S. service personnel stationed around the globe via the American Forces Network.

Super Bowl XLIII also marked the first time that a 30-second commercial time slot cost up to US $3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs. Many traditional advertisers, such as Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo, bought multiple ads at discounted rates. Each of the "Big Three" U.S. automakers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) passed on advertising during the game. A short trailer for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen premiered during the Super Bowl, a debut which director Michael Bay first revealed would occur in January. A preview of the upcoming Star Trek film also premiered during the game. However, with the weak economy, NBC was thought to have turned to companies already buying ad time for an additional purchase or two as set by the Los Angeles-based Forza Migliozzi agency, which would have eight advertisers simultaneously in one 30-second ad. SoBe and DreamWorks Animation aired a 3-D trailer for the upcoming film Monsters vs. Aliens, along with a 3-D ad for Sobe Life Water that featured Ray Lewis and Todd Light dancing Swan Lake (renamed Lizard Lake for this ad), as well as the promo for the upcoming episode of Chuck in 3D. About 150 million “ColorCode 3-D” glasses were given away at grocery stores across the country for the ad. Hyundai also advertised its new Genesis Coupe in two 30-second commercials. All advertising slots were sold out one day before the game, resulting in sales of $206 million.

YouTube's top five in "Ad Blitz 2009" also saw the two Doritos ads finish first and fifth. The middle three featured E*Trade's Singing Baby ad, CareerBuilder.com's "The Official 2009 Super Bowl Commercial" and Pepsi Max's "I'm Good" finish second through fourth respectively.

An international feed featured Bob Papa and Sterling Sharpe announcing, and was seen in 230 countries (including Antarctica) over 61 networks and 34 languages. ESPN Latin America also broadcasted across Latin America.

On radio, Westwood One had the national broadcast rights to the game in the United States and Canada. It was only made available to local affiliates as part of a 57-game package of regular season and post-season games. Stations were not allowed to stream the broadcast on their web sites.

FieldPass, the subscription Internet radio service provided by the league at NFL.com, carried most of these feeds, with select international feeds for free. Due to contractual restrictions, only WDVE, WBGG, KTAR-AM and FM, Sirius XM, and FieldPass were permitted to carry the teams' local broadcasts, with the teams' network affiliates instead carrying the Westwood One feed.

Journey performed during the pre-game show, and Jennifer Hudson sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" in her first public appearance since the murder of her nephew, brother and mother. Hudson became the second consecutive alumna from the American Idol television series to perform the national anthem at a Super Bowl (Jordin Sparks sang the anthem at Super Bowl XLII). The national anthem was translated into American Sign Language by Kristen Santos. Following the anthem, the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed a fly-over. John Legend performed a short concert several hours before the game, while Faith Hill performed "America the Beautiful" prior to Hudson's performance of the national anthem. Also, the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 were recognized on field for their actions.

The NFL saluted four decades of champions during the coin toss ceremony and the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation. The coin toss featured Roger Craig (Super Bowl XXIII, 1989), John Elway (Super Bowl XXXIII, 1999) and Lynn Swann (Super Bowl XIII, 1979). Roger Craig followed last year's participants and fellow San Francisco 49ers Craig Walsh (son of Bill Walsh), Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Steve Young. General David Petraeus performed the actual coin toss. The Steelers called tails, but it landed on heads, so the Cardinals won the toss. Arizona deferred their choice to the second half, and the Steelers chose to receive, making it the first time in Super Bowl history that the coin toss winner kicked off to start the game. (The NFL had just changed the rule before the start of the season allowing the team that wins the coin toss to defer the choice to the second half, similar to that in college football and Canadian football.) By winning the toss, the Arizona Cardinals were the twelfth consecutive coin toss winner from the NFC, dating back to Super Bowl XXXII. Joe Namath (Super Bowl III, 1969) participated in the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation and he previously participated in the coin toss in Super Bowl XXVIII. Coincidentally, Namath—a native of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh—ultimately handed the trophy to his hometown team.

Each of the numbers had at least one verse removed, in order to fit the overall performance in the intended 12-minute time limit. Springsteen had turned down numerous invitations to play at the Super Bowl before this one, unsure of its legitimacy, but finally accepted after realizing the prestige value.

Bruce Springsteen stated in an interview with Bob Costas, he would like Coldplay to perform the halftime show next year.

The Steelers 2008 season/Super Bowl XLIII championship home video went on sale on DVD on February 24, 2009. One week later on March 3, it was released on Blu-ray Disc, making it the first NFL Films home video release to be on Blu-ray Disc. The Blu-ray copy is "officially" sold exclusively through Amazon.com, though it is also available through the Sports Illustrated Super Bowl offer, as well as eBay and a few retail stores that ordered copies from Amazon.com. The New York Giants 2007 season/Super Bowl video was only released on DVD the previous year despite the fact that Toshiba dropped support of HD DVD (the primary rival of Blu-ray) just two weeks after Super Bowl XLII.

Pittsburgh took the opening kickoff and moved down the field on a 71-yard scoring drive, with Ben Roethlisberger completing a 38-yard pass to Hines Ward and a 21-yard strike to Heath Miller, putting the ball at the Arizona 1-yard line. On third down, Roethlisberger appeared to score on a quarterback scramble, but it was overruled by a replay challenge, which determined that he was down before the ball crossed the goal line. Rather than make another attempt at a touchdown, Pittsburgh settled for a Jeff Reed 18-yard field goal to take the 3–0 lead. It was the second straight year a team took the opening kickoff down for a score as the Giants did the same in Super Bowl XLII (the last time before that was the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII). The Steelers quickly forced an Arizona punt and then drove back down the field for what would turn into more points. On the first play of their drive, Roethlisberger completed a 25-yard pass to Santonio Holmes. Following three more completions to Miller for 26 yards and another one to Holmes for 7, reserve running back Gary Russell went into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 10–0 on the second play of the second quarter. They became the first team to score on its first two drives since the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII. On defense, Pittsburgh held Arizona to just one drive and one first down in the first quarter, while gaining 135 yards.

The Cardinals got going for the first time midway through the second quarter as a 45-yard completion from Kurt Warner to Anquan Boldin moved the ball to the Steelers' 1-yard line. On the next play, Warner nearly fell over after taking the snap, but he regained his balance and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ben Patrick. After an exchange of punts, Roethlisberger threw a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by linebacker Karlos Dansby at the Steelers 34-yard line with 2:46 left in the half. Seven plays later, the Cardinals drove to a first down on the Pittsburgh 1-yard line. But with 18 seconds left, Warner's pass was intercepted in the end zone by linebacker James Harrison, who then took off down the sideline for the longest play in Super Bowl history, a 100-yard return for a touchdown, increasing the Steelers' lead to 17–7 at halftime. A booth review was called to verify that Harrison had broken the plane, as he was tackled at the goal line, and the ruling stood.

After forcing a punt, the Steelers started off the third quarter with another long scoring drive. Aided by three personal foul penalties against Arizona, they moved the ball 79 yards in 14 plays and took 8:39 off the clock. However, they were unable to get into the end zone, despite two first downs inside the Cardinals 10 (a penalty against Arizona on a Steelers field goal attempt gave them another chance), and they had to settle for another Reed field goal to give them a 13-point lead, 20–7. After a few more punts, Warner led the Cardinals down the field on an eight-play, 87-yard scoring drive that took 3:57 off the clock, utilizing a no huddle offense. With 7:33 left in the game, Warner threw a high floating pass to Larry Fitzgerald, who made a leaping catch through tight coverage by Ike Taylor for a touchdown, making the score 20–14.

Later on, Ben Graham's 34-yard punt pinned the Steelers back at their own 1-yard line. Two plays later on third down and 10, Roethlisberger threw a 20-yard pass to Holmes, but center Justin Hartwig was called for holding in the end zone, which not only nullified the catch, but gave the Cardinals a safety, raising the score to 20–16. Taking over on their own 36 after the free kick, Arizona took two plays to score, as Warner threw a pass to Fitzgerald on a post route. Fitzgerald caught the ball without breaking stride and took off down the middle of the field past the Steelers secondary for a 64-yard touchdown reception, giving Arizona their first lead of the game, 23–20.

Pittsburgh got the ball back on their own 22-yard line with 2:37 left in the game and two timeouts remaining. On their first play, a holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards. Roethlisberger then completed two passes to Holmes for 27 yards. After an 11-yard reception by Nate Washington and a 4-yard run by Roethlisberger, he completed a 40-yard pass to Holmes at the Cardinals 6-yard line. Two plays later, Holmes caught a pass in the corner of the end zone and managed to land his toes down right before falling out of bounds for a touchdown. After a booth review, the touchdown pass stood. Reed's ensuing extra point made the score 27–23 with 35 seconds remaining. Following the ensuing kickoff, Warner completed a 20-yard pass to Fitzgerald and a 13-yarder to J. J. Arrington, moving the ball to the Steelers 44. With 18 seconds left, Warner prepared to attempt a Hail Mary pass, but linebacker LaMarr Woodley forced a fumble while sacking Warner, which defensive end Brett Keisel recovered, sealing Pittsburgh's NFL record sixth Super Bowl title.

In Super Bowl XLIII, Arizona and Pittsburgh combined for the fewest rushing attempts (38) and the fewest rushing yards (91) in Super Bowl history. The Cardinals outgained the Steelers in both passing yards (374 to 234) and total yards (407 to 292), but committed 11 penalties for 106 yards. Arizona's safety in the fourth quarter was only the sixth one scored in Super Bowl history, the first since Super Bowl XXV.

Warner completed 31 of 43 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. His 377 yards was the second most in Super Bowl history behind his own record of 414 yards in Super Bowl XXXIV (Warner also holds the third place record with 365 yards in Super Bowl XXXVI). With the three highest totals in Super Bowl history, he passed Joe Montana for most career yards in Super Bowl history with 1,156 (Montana threw for 1,142 yards in four games). He became the fifth quarterback in Super Bowl history to throw three touchdown passes in defeat (the others being Roger Staubach, Brett Favre, Jake Delhomme, and Donovan McNabb). He also became the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to have a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in two different Super Bowls and is also the second quarterback to throw a fourth-quarter touchdown in three different Super Bowls (Terry Bradshaw threw a fourth-quarter touchdown in all four of his Super Bowls).

Warner's top target was Fitzgerald, who caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald set a single postseason record with seven touchdown receptions, passing Jerry Rice, who had six in the 1988 postseason. Roethlisberger completed 21 of 30 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown, with one interception. Woodley had two sacks and a forced fumble, thus he continued setting NFL play-off records for consecutive multiple sack games by a player with 4. Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett had all of Arizona's three sacks. Harrison's 100-yard interception return was the longest play of any kind in a Super Bowl.

In Pittsburgh, mostly in the Oakland neighborhood, riots broke out on the streets after the Steelers' victory. Rioters—mostly college students—caused about $150,000 in estimated damages. More than 60 people were arrested during and after the rioting, and at least two students were suspended. Two of the Steelers' former homes, Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium, were in the Oakland neighborhood before moving to Three Rivers Stadium in 1970.

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