Santonio Holmes

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Posted by sonny 04/15/2009 @ 01:07

Tags : santonio holmes, football players, football, sports

News headlines
Fantasy Info: Can Santonio Holmes be a Consistent Fantasy Producer? - Bleacher Report
by Fantasy-Info .com (Contributor) Last season I thought Santonio Holmes was primed for star dome in Pittsburgh. By the end of the super bowl, I suppose that prediction was an accurate one, as he won the MVP title in the big game....
Marijuana charge against Holmes dropped - Tribune Review
By Bobby Kerlik Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who collected the MVP trophy in Super Bowl XLIII, still could be punished by the NFL for violating league policy. Prosecutors Wednesday dropped a marijuana charge against Steelers wide receiver...
Don't be shocked if Washington is the WR who makes the game ... - Pro Football Weekly
Sure, their corners have played well in the postseason, but the Cards' top CBs will be busy covering Ward and Santonio Holmes. That could leave Washington with a lot of one-on-one situations, in which his speed would give him a definite advantage....
2009 Fantasy outlooks: Pittsburgh Steelers - CBSSports.com
Santonio Holmes, who scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, is boom or bust every week. And in the running game, Parker can still start some weeks, but we expect Rashard Mendenhall and even Mewelde Moore to steal touches....
Gyorko is Pro-Line Athletic/NCBWA All-American - Daily Mail - Charleston
PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh prosecutors have dropped a misdemeanor drug charge against Steelers wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Rachel Newman announced the decision at a court hearing Wednesday...
UPI NewsTrack Sports - United Press International
PITTSBURGH, June 10 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh prosecutors dropped the marijuana charges against Steelers wide receive Santonio Holmes, saying they lacked probable cause in the case. Assistant District Attorney Rachel Newman said at a Wednesday hearing the...
Jones-Drew has clear path to stardom - ESPN
By John Clayton US Presswire Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew, left, Pittsburgh WR Santonio Holmes and Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers head an impressive list of ascending offensive players. Last season, as is the case just about every year, several young...
NFL notebook: June 11 - Daily Camera
Pittsburgh prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor drug charge against Steelers wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Police pulled Holmes over because they were looking for a car similar to the one he was driving. Holmes alerted police to the...
(BPRW) NBA and NFL Professionals Making History in 2009 - Black PR Wire (press release)
Then his star wide receiver Santonio Holmes captured the game-winning pass and was selected as the Super Bowl MVP. A couple of months later, the Los Angeles Lakers, led by their star player Kobe Bryant, defeated the Orlando Magic to capture their 15th...
Steelers receive Super Bowl XLIII rings - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By John Harris Super Bowl XLIII Most Valuable Player Santonio Holmes proudly displayed his new ring following a much-anticipated ceremony Tuesday night at Heinz Field honoring the players, coaches and executives who made it possible....

Santonio Holmes

Santonio Holmes 2006.jpg

Santonio Holmes, Jr. (born March 3, 1984, in Belle Glade, Florida) is an American football wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He previously played college football with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Holmes attended Glades Central High School in Belle Glade and was a letterman in football, basketball, and track. In football, he helped lead his team to two state titles and a 12-1 record as a senior. In basketball, he helped lead his team to a state runner-up finish as a senior. In track, his team won the state title during his junior year, and he was the member of a 4x400 meter relay team that won two state titles. Santonio graduated from Glades Central Community High School in 2002 with a 3.4 GPA.

Holmes starred at receiver for The Ohio State University from 2003 to 2005, catching 245 passes for 2,295 yards and 25 touchdowns, while gaining 3,123 all-purpose yards. His 240 career receptions and 3,496 yards ranked were the fifth totals highest in school history at the time he left the Buckeyes in 2005. His 25 touchdown catches ranked him third. He majored in general studies.

Holmes left college a year early and was taken in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. The 25th pick overall, he was the first and only receiver taken in the first round by the Steelers. Holmes, who wore number 4 at The Ohio State (a number that isn't issued to wide receivers in the NFL), was issued number 10, previously worn in Pittsburgh by former kicker Roy Gerela and quarterback Kordell Stewart.

Early on in the Steelers' disappointing 2006 season, Holmes was criticized for his poor performance on special teams as a returner, a role in which he fumbled frequently. However, Holmes had better success as a receiver, displaying his athleticism and skill in several of the Steelers' games. He earned Week 6 Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week honors for his performance October 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs, totaling 58 yards receiving and 13 yards rushing.

Late in the season, Holmes replaced Cedrick Wilson in the starting lineup and finished the 2006 regular season with 49 receptions for 824 yards and 2 touchdowns. His best play of the season was also the last, when, in overtime of the Steelers' final game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals, Holmes caught a pass from Ben Roethlisberger on a slant route and ran for a 67-yard touchdown to secure a win for the Steelers. He also returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown on December 17 against the Carolina Panthers.

Holmes was named the Steelers' starting split end coming into training camp. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2007 as he led the Steelers in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and emerged as one of the better known deep threats in the NFL. In Week 1 of the season against the Cleveland Browns, Holmes caught a 40 yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger as they went on to defeat the Browns 34–7. Week 4 in a loss against the Arizona Cardinals, he enjoyed one of the best games in his young pro career as he finished the game with 6 receptions, 128 yards, and 2 touchdown catches. In week 9, he enjoyed another two touchdown game against the Baltimore Ravens, in a game which both touchdowns came in the first half. He finished the game with 4 catches, 110 yards, and two touchdowns. In week 16, Santonio Holmes amassed the most yards receiving in a game in his career, as he finished the game with 133 yards receiving against the St. Louis Rams. He finished the year with 942 yards receiving and 8 touchdown catches. He led the league in yards per catch.

In his first career playoff game, a 31–29 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, he finished the game with 3 catches, 49 yards, and a touchdown.

Despite returning no punts throughout the 2007 season, Holmes explored returning again for the 2008 season. Holmes has set a goal to play in all 16 games throughout the season, increasing his weight by 11 pounds through workouts in the offseason.

Holmes began the season with 2 receptions for 19 yards in a win against the Houston Texans. In the following 10-6 win over the Cleveland Browns, Holmes totaled 94 yards on 5 receptions and had a carry for 10 yards. In the following loss to the Eagles, he recorded 3 receptions for 32 yards. Holmes saw his first score the following week in an overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens, finishing with 61 yards on 3 receptions for a touchdown. Following a bye week, Holmes totaled 89 yards on 5 receptions in the win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, Holmes was benched following being arrested for possession of marijuana. Holmes was benched by coach Tomlin twice. He was forced to miss the following loss to the New York Giants, but was activated again for the Monday Night game against the Washington Redskins.

In Super Bowl XLIII, Holmes secured the Steeler's NFL-record 6th Super Bowl win after catching a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 36 seconds left in regulation. The play was reviewed by the booth within seconds and cleared for a touchdown. He was named the game's MVP after finishing with nine receptions for 131 yards and one touchdown.

Holmes has acknowledged selling drugs on the street corner of his hometown of Belle Glade, Florida as a teenager; he says that his mother's influence and a desire to play professional football made him decide to stop.

Holmes was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida on May 27, 2006 for disorderly conduct. Charges were subsequently dropped after Holmes paid a fine. Holmes was arrested for a second time on June 18, 2006 for domestic violence and assault in Columbus, Ohio.

On July 7, 2006, Holmes appeared in Franklin County Court in Columbus, Ohio for both a pre-trial regarding the domestic case and hearing regarding the traffic ticket. He plead no contest to the traffic ticket and agreed to pay a fine. While Lashae Boone, the mother of Holmes' daughter and the victim in the assault case, requested that the domestic violence and assault charges be dropped, the prosecutor refused. Boone and their daughter accompanied Holmes to court. The charges were later dropped.

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2008 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The Steelers have won 14 consecutive Monday night games at home.[133]

The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 76th season in the National Football League (NFL). The season concluded with the team winning Super Bowl XLIII to become the first franchise in the NFL with six Super Bowl titles.

The Steelers entered the season as defending champions of the AFC North Division, coming off a 10–6 record in 2007. Based on the previous season's results, the team faced the most difficult schedule in the league, however, they were called Super Bowl contenders by ESPN. The Steelers opened their regular season on September 7, with a win over the Houston Texans en route to a 12–4 record, and a second straight AFC North Division title. In his second season as head coach Mike Tomlin was selected in fan balloting as the Motorola Coach of the Year. Linebacker James Harrison was named the NFL's defensive player of the year after leading a defense which set the standard for the league as measured by scoring as well as total yardage. The playoffs began on January 11, 2009, with a win over the San Diego Chargers. The following week saw the third victory of the season over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game and the advancement to Super Bowl XLIII where the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals on February 1, 2009.

Entering the 2008 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost ten-year lineman Alan Faneca, after his contract expired, and he signed with the New York Jets. Allen Rossum, Jerame Tuman, and Clint Kriewaldt were released on February 22. The team also lost Dan Kreider, Verron Haynes, Brian St. Pierre, and eight-year veteran Clark Haggans to free agency.

The Steelers renewed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's contract with an eight year, $102 million agreement, the largest in franchise history. The team re-signed Max Starks to the largest single-year deal in franchise history, despite him not being a starter during the 2007 season. Nate Washington, Chris Kemoeatu, and Trai Essex also agreed to one-year deals. Seven-year center Justin Hartwig and running back Mewelde Moore were signed to multi-year deals, and linebacker Keyaron Fox agreed to a one-year deal. Entering the season, 14 players were in the final year of their contracts.

The 2008 NFL Draft was held on April 26 and April 27, 2008, at Radio City Music Hall. In the first round, the Steelers selected running back Rashard Mendenhall, from the University of Illinois, with the 23rd overall pick. He was the first running back selected in the first round by the franchise since 1989. The Steelers selected Limas Sweed, from the University of Texas, in the second round. Sweed was ranked by the Steelers as one of the top three receivers in the draft. The drafting of Sweed came after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's suggestion of acquiring a tall wide receiver; Sweed is 6-feet 4-inches in height. In round three, the Steelers selected Bruce Davis, of UCLA. Davis primarily played defensive end at his alma mater, however, he is expected to switch to linebacker at the pro level. The Steelers traded their fourth-round pick (123rd overall) to the New York Giants for the Giants' fourth and sixth-round selections, 130th and 194th overall, respectively. The Steelers selected offensive tackle Tony Hills with the 130th overall selection, in the fourth round. Like second-round pick Sweed, Hills came out of the University of Texas where he had been elected a captain of the football team during his senior season. With their fifth-round selection, the Steelers chose quarterback Dennis Dixon. Prior to an injury in 2007, Dixon was a Heisman Trophy candidate. The sixth round selection was the Steelers' second linebacker of the draft, Mike Humpal out of the University of Iowa. Also in the sixth round, the final selection of the team was safety Ryan Mundy, a Pittsburgh native. The Steelers did not pick in the seventh round, due to a 2007 trade with the Atlanta Falcons. Kevin Colbert, Director of Football Operations, said of the draft, "we’re happy with the way things turned out." Also stating that the first and second-round selections were players who the team expected to have already been chosen. Coach Mike Tomlin said that the Steelers tried to select skilled offensive "weapons" over a strong offensive line, which struggled the previous season. The following day, the Steelers signed twelve free-agent rookies. All draft picks agreed to terms by July 25, two days prior to the start of training camp.

A mandatory three-day mini-camp was held in early May. Hines Ward, Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu attended the camp, but did not fully participate because of injuries. First round draft pick, Rashard Mendenhall was welcomed by Steelers current running back Willie Parker. Parker was "surprised" when he heard a running back was selected in the first round, but hoped to work with Mendenhall like Jerome Bettis worked with Parker during his rookie season. During the mini-camp, the offense experimented with formations using Parker and Mendenhall in the backfield simultaneously. Receiver Hines Ward took a similar approach to Parker's in welcoming second round draft pick Limas Sweed. As with other receivers in the past, Ward was "very hands-on with Sweed throughout the weekend". Coach Mike Tomlin called the new draft picks "humble", adding that he liked their "spirit and attitude"; however, it was too early to tell how well they will ultimately perform.

The team held two Organized Team Activities (OTAs) prior to the draft, in addition to 12 throughout May and June. The OTAs were voluntary, however, most players did attend. Many players routinely worked on their conditioning and strength together, in addition to "informal" on field training. A week prior to the end of OTAs Mike Tomlin said he was happy with the team's progress during the sessions. Also stating, “We are having a productive off-season and that is what we are here for. We are here to get better individually and collectively and I think we are doing that.” Limas Sweed experimented on special teams play for the first time ever, with a concentration in punt blocking. On the day of the final OTA, June 12, Tomlin stated that while he was pleased with the progress of the team, no positions would be gained or lost based on the voluntary camp. Tomlin added, "it's been teach-oriented, it's been skill-develop-oriented. It's different than playing the game of football." The team was given 44 days off until the beginning of training camp.

In May, ESPN The Magazine released the findings of its annual survey of over 80,000 fans entitled the "Ultimate Standings: Fan Satisfaction Ranking." The Steelers ranked as the 25th best major league sports franchise out of 122 teams from MLB, NFL, NBA, and the NHL. The franchise finished one position behind the cross-town hockey team Pittsburgh Penguins. The Steelers were sixth among all NFL teams. In August, ESPN.com ranked Steelers' fans as the best in the National Football League, citing their "unbelievable" sellout streak of 299 consecutive games.

During the Pittsburgh Penguins run for the Stanley Cup multiple members of the Steelers showed support for the cross-town team. Ben Roethlisberger attended games in Detroit, where he and the Steelers won Super Bowl XL three years prior. Mike Tomlin watched Game Six of the finals outside Mellon Arena, along with 3,000 other fans, on a JumboTron which had been erected for fans unable to acquire tickets to the sold-out game. Kevin Colbert, Charlie Batch, and Tomlin attended many games throughout the regular season. In September, Penguins' coach Michel Therrien attended the Steelers' first game of the season.

On February 17, Ernie Holmes, who played for the Steelers from 1972 to 1977, was killed in a car crash. Ten days later, on February 27, award-winning journalist, Steelers radio announcer of 35 years, and inventor of the Terrible Towel, Myron Cope, died at age 79. On June 6, Dwight White, a defensive end on the Steel Curtain died from a blood clot. Upon his death, Dan Rooney called White, "one of the greatest players to ever wear a Steelers uniform." A pre-game ceremony was held in their honor prior to the first game of the season.

Training camp was held at Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for the 42nd consecutive year. Players reported on July 27, practices commenced the following day and ran through August 17. Throughout the twenty three day span, seventeen included practices; making the camp one of the shortest in Steelers history. The camp was less demanding under Tomlin, who was in his second year as coach. "We are a veteran team in some areas. You have to approach it differently because of that," said Tomlin.

Pittsburgh looked to build on their defense, which was ranked first in the league throughout the 2007 season. At over thirty years in age each, all three starting linemen returned. First round draft pick, Rashard Mendenhall entered camp with expectations to make an impact on the team throughout his rookie season. Pittsburgh's Willie Parker, who returned after suffering a broken leg in the 2007 season, was expected to share the load with Mendenhall. On July 29, punter Daniel Sepulveda tore the ACL in his right leg and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. The Steelers acquired Paul Ernster later in the day as a possible replacement. After concluding practices at St. Vincent's, the Steelers began to practice at their facility on Pittsburgh's South Side. Tomlin called the camp "very productive".

Pittsburgh opened their pre-season schedule with a 16–10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers scored on their first possession, after driving 80 yards on eight plays. Ben Roethlisberger's 19-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes completed the drive. In the first quarter, Charlie Batch was removed from the game after breaking his clavicle. Jeff Reed converted three field goals from 20, 24, and 50 yards. Toronto's Rogers Centre hosted the second pre-season game; it was the first pre-season game Pittsburgh played in Toronto since 1960. Pittsburgh's starting offense played longer in the second game. Willie Parker increased his output over the first game by playing on third downs. However, the team failed run the ball consistently and struggled on defense, losing the game 24–21. "We fell short essentially in all three phases," stated coach Tomlin after the game.

Pittsburgh traveled to Minnesota to play the Vikings for their third pre-season game. The Steelers's defense held the Vikings early, led by Aaron Smith who had three tackles, including one sack, in the first quarter. The offense failed to score a touchdown, with Rashard Mendenhall fumbling twice. Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who was signed to replace the injured Batch, lead the team with 129 yards passing. Jeff Reed accounted for all of the Steelers' points, kicking four field goals—the final with 4 seconds remaining—to give Pittsburgh a 12–10 victory. Entering their final pre-season game the Steelers had selected every starting player except the punter. Carolina tied the game with 1:54 remaining in regulation, but rookie Dennis Dixon lead the Steelers on a 47-yard drive, which was capped with Reed kicking the game winning 43-yard field goal as time expired. After the three point victory, Tomlin stated, "It has been a pleasure working with this group guys, but it is that time of year where we need to make tough decisions." The Steelers cut 22 players on August 30, to bring their roster to the required 53 player total. The following day the Steelers signed nine players from their pre-season team to the practice squad.

Based on 2007 records, the Steelers boasted the NFL's most difficult schedule in 2008, with an opponent winning percentage of .598; ten games were played against teams that finished 2007 with winning records. The Steelers played each of the teams in the AFC North twice, once home and once on the road. The Steelers also faced the teams from the AFC South and NFC East divisions throughout the season. Pittsburgh's matchups included the San Diego and New England, who each won their division in the 2007 season. The Steelers played five nationally televised primetime games, the maximum allowed number by the NFL.

Entering the first week of the season, players voted Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, James Farrior, and Jeff Reed team captains. Farrior, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu were voted to represent the Steelers at the 2009 Pro Bowl. James Harrison set the Steelers' franchise single-season record for sacks, surpassing Mike Merriweather's previous record of 15 sacks in 1984. Harrison also became the first undrafted player to win the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was the fifth Steeler to win the award—the first since Rod Woodson in 1993. Harrison and Polamalu were also voted to the NFL's All-Pro team. The Steelers' defense tied the 1973 Los Angeles Rams record by holding 14 consecutive opponents under 300 yards of total offense. The defense finished ranked first in the league in total and passing yards given up and second in rushing yards. For the fifth time in his career Hines Ward received for over 1,000 yards throughout the season. The team's offense ranked 22nd in overall offense, 17th in passing, and 23rd in rushing. Rashard Mendenhall was the team's only rookie to start a game; the fewest rookie starts of any team in the league.

The 2008 season was the Steelers' seventh as members of the AFC North Division. Pittsburgh defended their division title from the 2007 season, which they obtained by tying the Cleveland Browns' 10–6 record, but holding the tie-breaker with two wins over the Browns. Through 2008, Pittsburgh is the only team to have won the AFC North four times, since its inception prior to the 2002 NFL season. Entering the 2008 season, the Steelers were chosen to win the division by sportswriter Ron Borges, as well as nine of 13 analysts interviewed by ESPN.com. Four NFL.com analysts predicted that the Steelers would finish with a 10–6 record. The Steelers finished the regular season with a record of 12–4, going undefeated against opponents in the AFC North and winning 12 games for the fourth season since 1979. The team clinched the second seed in the AFC for the playoffs and received a bye the first week of the post-season. The Baltimore Ravens finished at second place in the AFC North with an 11–5 record, clinching a playoff seed as an AFC wild card. The Cincinnati Bengals finished 4–11–1, winning their final three games of the season. The Cleveland Browns finished in the AFC North's fourth position at 4–12; the team fired head coach Romeo Crennel after the season.

The Steelers started their regular season, against the Houston Texans, in front of 64,001 spectators at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Steelers drove the ball 52 yards on their opening drive, with their biggest gain coming on a 17-yard run from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Willie Parker scored a touchdown at 5:44 of the opening quarter and added a second touchdown in the following quarter. After a LaMarr Woodley interception the Steelers extended their lead to 21 points when Roethlisberger completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ward. With 4:34 remaining in the half, former-Steelers' kicker Kris Brown converted a 34-yard field goal. Pittsburgh led the game 21–3 as time expired on the first half.

In the second half, Parker scored his third touchdown of the game—surpassing his touchdown total for the entire 2007 season—and was named the AFC offensive player of the week for his performance. Pittsburgh's defense held Houston to six yards on their ensuing drive and the Steelers drove 80 yards to take a 35–3 lead. The Texans scored two touchdowns in the final quarter, but Pittsburgh's James Harrison led the team with three sacks—forcing a fumble on the third—and the Steelers won their first game of the season.

The Steelers entered their first matchup with the Cleveland Browns having won 15 of the last 16 games between the two teams. Ben Roethlisberger started the game despite missing practice time during the week due to a shoulder injury suffered in Week One. The Steelers' defense held the Browns to 16 yards on their first four drives, as the teams played to a scoreless tie after the first quarter. After a Bryant McFadden interception the Steelers drove 70 yards and Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward for their third touchdown combination of the season. Cleveland responded with a 14 play, 71 yard drive, but Troy Polamalu intercepted a Cleveland pass as time expired in the first half solidifying Pittsburgh's seven point halftime lead.

A 48-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes and a 48-yard field goal from Jeff Reed on the team's second drive of the second half brought the score to 10–0. The Browns' Phil Dawson converted two consecutive field goals, to pull Cleveland within four points with 3:21 remaining. After a fourth down stop, Cleveland's offense took over with 26 seconds remaining, but failed to gain yardage as time expired. With the win, the Steelers increased their win streak over the Browns to 10 consecutive games—the longest current winning streak over a single opponent in the NFL.

Pittsburgh's first inter-conference opponent of the season was the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers scored on their first drive, with a Jeff Reed field goal. The Eagles offense drove 85 yards to take the lead on a touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb to Correll Buckhalter. The Eagles defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger eight times throughout the game, two of which resulted in fumbles. Bryant McFadden intercepted his second pass of the season which allowed Reed to add his second field goal of the day—this one from 53-yards. The field goal brought the half time score to 10–6.

Donning their throwback uniforms, the Steelers played the Baltimore Ravens in their first Monday Night game of the season. Multiple Steelers starters did not play in the game, due to various injuries. After a 3–3 first quarter, Baltimore took a ten point lead into half time with a field goal and touchdown pass in the second quarter. Rashard Mendenhall—in his first NFL start—left the game in the third quarter with a season-ending shoulder injury. On Pittsburgh's third drive of the half, Roethlisberger connected with Santonio Holmes for a 38-yard touchdown pass. On the first play of Baltimore's ensuing drive, James Harrison's forced fumble was picked up by LaMarr Woodley and returned 7 yards for a touchdown. The two touchdowns within 15 seconds took the Steelers from ten points behind to four points ahead. In the final quarter, the Steelers' offense was stopped on the one yard line and Reed kicked his second field goal of the night. Baltimore drove 76 yards and tied the game with a touchdown. Neither team was able to score on their final drive as the regulation clock expired.

Baltimore won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. The Ravens started the drive at their own 15 yard line. The Steelers held them for no gain on the first two plays and Lawrence Timmons sacked Flacco on third down. The Steelers took over after a punt and Mewelde Moore caught a 24 yard reception to bring the Steelers to Baltimore's 31-yard line. Jeff Reed converted a 46-yard field goal to win the game for the Steelers. Reed was named the NFL's special teams player of the week. With the win the Steelers passed the Ravens for first place in the AFC North at 3–1, as well as extending their all-time record of 14 consecutive home wins on Monday Night Football.

The Steelers' matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars—their first since the Jaguars knocked the Steelers out of the 2007 playoffs—was featured as the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Throwback Game of the Week. On the Steelers opening drive, Roethlisberger—who missed practice time during the week due to injections for his shoulder—was intercepted by Rashean Mathis who returned the ball 72 yards for a touchdown. Pittsburgh responded by driving 71 yards, with Heath Miller receiving a 1-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Jacksonville re-gained the lead on the next drive when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a touchdown. Pittsburgh took the lead in the second quarter with two field goals and a 48 yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Nate Washington.

Jacksonville scored first in the final quarter with a touchdown pass from David Garrard to Marcedes Lewis. The Steelers drove from their 20 yard line in the fourth quarter, Ward received an 8-yard touchdown pass to put the Steelers up by 5 points with 1:53 remaining in regulation, however, the 2-pt conversion failed. Roethlisberger received the AFC offensive player of the week award for his 309 yard, 3 touchdown pass performance, despite having an injured throwing shoulder. The NFL selected the game as the league's Week Five Game of the Week.

Willie Parker was expected to return after missing two games, but aggravated his knee injury during a weekday practice and missed the game. Pittsburgh received the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards to open the scoring up with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Mewelde Moore to put the Steelers up 7–0. The Steelers' defense forced the Bengals offense into five consecutive three-and-outs, before the Bengals scored on their final possession of the opening half. The 5 yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Chad Johnson brought the Bengals within three points of the Steelers who added a field goal from Jeff Reed.

Pittsburgh added their second touchdown of the game on their opening drive of the second half when Moore rushed to the left side for 13 yards. Cincinnati retaliated on their ensuing drive adding a field goal from Dave Rayner. The Steelers scored three consecutive touchdowns in the final quarter, while holding the Bengals scoreless. At 8:26 of the fourth quarter Roethilisberger connected with Nate Washington for a 50 yard touchdown pass. Pittsburgh's Moore scored his second touchdown of the day—his second rushing—and Hines Ward's 16 yard touchdown reception gave the Steelers 31 points to the Bengal's ten. Moore finished the game with 120 yards rushing, while Santonio Holmes lead the Steelers with 89 receiving yards.

Willie Parker missed his fourth game due to a knee injury. Santonio Holmes also missed the game after a "small quantity of marijuana" was found in his car and the team placed him on the inactive list. Mewelde Moore opened up the game's scoring with a 32-yard touchdown run on the Steelers opening drive. The 5–1 New York Giants responded with a field goal on the ensuing drive. Pittsburgh stopped the Giants on four consecutive plays from inside the Steelers 2-yard line to force a turnover on downs. But were unable to score when two Ben Roethlisberger interceptions and a punt lead to two more field goals in the second quarter for the Giants.

At 10:10 of the third quarter Roethlisberger completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington to give the Steelers a 14–9 lead. Later in the quarter, a Steelers 53-yard touchdown pass was negated due to a holding penalty and Pittsburgh was forced to punt. In the final quarter Pittsburgh kept New York out of the end zone on three plays inside the 10-yard line, however, the Giants connected on a field goal to bring the Giants to within two points. On the next drive, James Harrison—who was called in to replace injured long snapper Greg Warren—snapped the ball out of the end zone to give the Giants a safety and tie the game. The Giants drove after receiving the safety's kickoff to score a touchdown—taking a 21–14 lead with 3:07 remaining. Pittsburgh was unable to convert on their final two drives, as Roethlisberger threw his fourth interception of the day.

The night before the United States presidential election, the Steelers played in the nation's capitol, Washington, D.C.; both major party candidates were interviewed at half-time. The Washington Redskins took a 6–0 lead in the first quarter with two field goals. The Steelers defense shut out the Redskins in the second quarter while the Steelers scored on a field goal to cut the lead in half. A blocked punt with 2:21 remaining in the half led to a Steelers 1-yard touchdown run from Ben Roethlisberger.

Due to an injury to Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich took over as quarterback in the second half. Leftwich completed a 50 yard pass to Nate Washington on the opening drive of the third quarter; the Steelers capped the drive with a Willie Parker touchdown run. Pittsburgh extended their lead in the final quarter with a touchdown pass from Leftwich to Santonio Holmes. The Redskins gained 124 yards in the final quarter, but were unable to score. The Steelers' 17 point win took their record to 6–2 on the season.

Both the Steelers and Indianapolis Colts drove more than 60 yards on their opening offensive drives, each scored a touchdown to bring the score to 7–7 after the first quarter. A Steelers 42-yard flea flicker advanced the ball to the 2 yard line. On the following play Mewelde Moore scored his second touchdown of the game. The Steelers extended their lead to ten, but an interception with 1:30 remaining in the half led to a Colts touchdown—bringing the halftime score to 17–14.

The Colts kicked a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter to tie the game at 17. A Steelers field goal in the final quarter gave them a three point lead. The Colts scored on Peyton Manning's third touchdown pass of the game to take the lead with 3:10 remaining in regulation. The Steelers drove from their own 27 yard line, but were unable to score.

Pittsburgh entered week eleven with starters having missed 31 games due to injuries. The San Diego Chargers scored first, and led 7–0 after the first quarter of play. On the second play of the second quarter, the Steelers' James Harrison forced a fumble in the endzone, then forced a safety by tackling the Marcus McNeill after he had recovered the fumble. Jeff Reed converted on a field goal as time expired on the first half, pulling the Steelers within two points.

Reed kicked his second field goal of the game from 41-yards to give the Steelers the lead going into the final quarter. The Chargers drove 74 yards on 17 plays, converting on a field goal to give them the lead again, with 6:45 remaining. On the Steelers' ensuing drive, the offense drove 73 yards and Reed converted on his third field goal of the day, giving the Steelers an 11–10 lead with 15 seconds remaining in regulation. The Chargers attempted to score on their final play, but Troy Polamalu forced and recovered a fumble, returning it for a touchdown. The call was reversed when the officials ruled that San Diego had made an illegal forward pass. After the game, head referee Scott Green admitted that the touchdown should have been counted. With the touchdown not counted the final score kept Pittsburgh under the 5 point spread by which they were favored, and resulted in over $32 million being lost in bets. The game was the first game in NFL history to end with a final score of 11–10.

The Steelers concluded their primetime schedule with their only Thursday night game of the season. The Cincinnati Bengals took a 7–0 lead in the first quarter after a 62 yard drive. In the second quarter the Steelers tied the game on a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller. Jeff Reed converted a field goal with 1:56 remaining in the first half to give the Steelers a 10–7 halftime lead.

Pittsburgh added another ten points in the third quarter when Gary Russell ran for his first rushing touchdown of the season, after Reed's second field goal. In the final quarter, Roethlisberger rushed for a touchdown to put the Steelers up by a score of 27–10. Roethlisberger passed for 243 yards and one touchdown, while Santonio Holmes led the game with 84 receiving yards. James Farrior led the Steelers with 8 tackles.

The Steelers fell behind the New England Patriots less than three minutes into the first quarter, after an interception of Ben Roethlisberger was driven to the endzone. The Steelers came back with 2:55 remaining in the initial quarter to convert on a 20 yard Jeff Reed field goal. The Patriots extended their lead to seven points with a 29 yard field goal in the second quarter. Pittsburgh drove 63 yards on nine plays, capping their drive with a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to tie the game at ten points at the halfway point.

Pittsburgh took their first lead of the game on their first drive of the second half, after Reed's second field goal put them up by three points. On the ensuing kickoff the Steelers recovered a Patriots' fumble and Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward for an 11-yard touchdown pass. James Harrison forced his first of two fumbles on the Patriots' next drive and the Steelers recovered as Reed added his third field goal of the game—putting the Steelers up 23–10. Gary Russell scored a touchdown after Lawrence Timmons returned an interception 89 yards to the Patriots' one-yard line.

The Dallas Cowboys and the Steelers held each other scoreless in the first quarter. Troy Polamalu intercepted a pass in his fourth consecutive game, overall he led the league with seven interceptions. The Steelers scored first on a 24-yard field goal from Jeff Reed with 2:44 remaining in the second quarter. The Cowboys converted a 44-yard field goal as time expired on the first half to tie the game at 3–3.

A Tony Romo touchdown pass in the third quarter gave the Cowboys their first lead of the game. The lead was extended when Nick Folk converted his second field goal of the day, putting the Cowboys up 13–3 as the game entered the final quarter. Reed converted his second field goal of the game, bringing the Steelers within seven points with 7:20 remaining in regulation. On the Steelers next drive, Ben Roethelisberger threw a touchdown pass to Heath Miller—tying the game with 2:10 remaining. Deshea Townsend intercepted Romo's next pass and returned the ball 25 yards, scoring a touchdown to give the Steelers a seven point lead, which they held to the end of the game.

Entering their second game of the season against Baltimore, the Steelers' defense ranked first in the league, while the Ravens' defense ranked second. "We're going to win by any means necessary. If the defense has to score, if the special teams have to kick in a score, or if the offense has to score 50 points -- whatever it takes to win," stated James Harrison prior to the game.

Both teams were held scoreless before a record crowd at M&T Bank Stadium until a Baltimore field goal gave the Ravens a 3–0 lead at 12:34 of the second quarter. Pittsburgh tied the game on a Jeff Reed field goal; Matt Stover converted a second time to give the Ravens a three point lead at halftime. Stover kicked his third field goal of the game in the third quarter, extending their lead to six points. In the final quarter, Reed kicked his second field goal of the game to put the Steelers within three points. On the Steelers final drive of the game, the offense drove 92 yards over 2:53, with Ben Roethlisberger completing a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 50 seconds remaining. The Ravens embarked on one more drive, but the Steelers second interception of the game prevented them from scoring. With the victory the Steelers won their second consecutive AFC North title and clinched a first round bye and became the first AFC franchise to amass 550 wins.

Pittsburgh entered their final road game of the regular season with a chance to surpass the Tennessee Titans for the top seed in the AFC. The Steelers and the Titans were scoreless after the first quarter, when Tennessee took a 3–0 lead on the second play of the second quarter. Justin Gage's 34-yard reception later in the quarter extended the lead to 10–0. Pittsburgh's Santonio Holmes also received a touchdown pass in the second quarter, bringing the halftime score to 10–7.

In the second half, Ben Roethlisberger threw his second touchdown pass of the game—to Hines Ward—to give the Steelers their only lead of the game. After a 21-yard touchdown run on Tennessee's ensuing drive, the Titans entered the final quarter with a three point lead. The Titans scored two touchdowns in the final quarter, and the Steelers were unable overcome two Roethelisberger fumbles and two interceptions throughout the game.

Although guaranteed the second seed in the AFC Tomlin stated, "It is a big week for us." Willie Parker's 34-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the Steelers longest run of the season. With less than two minutes left in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger was hit by D'Qwell Jackson and Willie McGinist and had to be immobilized and carried off the field after suffering from a concussion. Byron Leftwich replaced Roethlisberger and scored the Steelers second touchdown of the game to give the Steelers a 14–0 lead at halftime.

Pittsburgh scored the only points of the third quarter when Jeff Reed converted his sole field goal attempt of the game. The Steelers added two touchdowns in the final quarter—on a Gary Russell rush and Tyrone Carter's return of his second interception of the game. "We were so upset we had to practice on Christmas, we had to take it out on the Browns," said Larry Foote after the victory.

Their 12–4 regular season record gave the Steelers a second place finish in the AFC. Along with the Tennessee Titans, who finished with the best record in the AFC, the Steelers received a bye during the opening week of the post-season. The 2008 season was the seventh of the past 16 that the Steelers were the first or second seed in the AFC entering the playoffs—never winning the Super Bowl during those seasons. Pittsburgh defeated the San Diego Chargers in the Divisional round, giving up a franchise post-season low of 15 rushing yards. The victory was head coach Mike Tomlin's first in the post-season. The Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. The Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII over the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals on February 1.

Pittsburgh hosted the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field due to the Chargers' overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts during the Wild Card round. The Chargers scored on the game's first drive with a 41-yard pass from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson for a touchdown. After the Steelers defense stopped the Chargers on their next drive, Pittsburgh's Santonio Holmes returned a punt 67 yards to tie the game at seven. With two minutes remaining in the first half Nate Kaeding converted a 42-yard field goal to reclaim the lead for the Chargers. Pittsburgh's offense responded with a 7 play, 66 yard drive in 1:33 to take their first lead of the game after a 3-yard touchdown run from Willie Parker.

The Steelers opened the second half with a 7:56, 13 play drive which concluded with Ben Roethlisberger's sole touchdown pass to Heath Miller. San Diego had one offensive play in the third quarter, which resulted in an interception. The Steelers entered the final quarter with a 21–10 lead. Gary Russell scored on a 1-yard touchdown rush to extend the Steelers lead. The Chargers scored on their next possession, when Legedu Naanee received Rivers' second touchdown pass of the game to conclude a 73 yard drive. With 4:17 remaining Willie Parker scored his second touchdown of the game—with a 16-yard run. The Chargers' Darren Sproles concluded the game's scoring with a 62-yard touchdown reception, bringing the final score to 35–24.

Pittsburgh scored the game's first points, with Jeff Reed converting on field goals from 34 and 42 yards in the first quarter. Santonio Holmes received a pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter and ran for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 13–0 lead. Baltimore's Willis McGahee ran into the endzone for a touchdown with 2:44 remaining in the second quarter—bringing the halftime score to 13–7. Reed converted his third field goal of the game from 46 yards in the third quarter. McGahee scored his second touchdown of the game with 9:32 remaining in the final quarter bringing the Ravens within two points. Troy Polamalu intercepted a pass from Joe Flacco and returned it 40 yards to score the final touchdown of the game, giving Pittsburgh a 23–14 victory.

Jeff Reed concluded the first drive of Super Bowl XLIII with a field goal—giving the Steelers a 3–0 lead over the Arizona Cardinals. Gary Russell scored on a 1 yard touchdown rush on the Steelers' second drive and the Cardinals responded by scoring a touchdown on the ensuing drive. On the final play of the first half James Harrison intercepted a pass from Kurt Warner and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. As he did in the first quarter, Reed scored the sole points of the third quarter giving the Steelers a 20–7 lead entering the final quarter. The Cardinals scored three consecutive times in the fourth quarter—with two Larry Fitzgerald touchdown receptions and a Steelers' holding call in the endzone that resulted in a safety—to give them a 23–20 lead with 2:37 remaining in regulation. Pittsburgh drove 78 yards in 2:02 and scored on a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes. The Steelers four point lead held as time expired and the Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team to win six Super Bowl titles.

Santonio Holmes was voted the game's Most Valuable Player. Mike Tomlin became the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl. Harrison's interception return was the longest play in Super Bowl history. On February 3 a parade was held in Pittsburgh to celebrate the victory, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette an estimated 400,000 people attended. The city's name was ceremonially changed to "the City of Sixburgh" for the duration of 2009.

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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 permanent 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).

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 perfrom 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 attemted a Hail Marry 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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Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger's number being retired before the 2007 Miami-BGSU game. Also pictured Bob Hitchens (far left) and John Pont (2nd from the left)

Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger (born March 2, 1982, in Lima, Ohio), nicknamed Big Ben, is an American football quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Steelers 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).

Roethlisberger earned the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004. He became the youngest Super Bowl–winning quarterback in NFL history, helping lead the Steelers, in his second professional season, to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL at the age of 23. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2007. Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a second Super Bowl title in four seasons as they defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23, after he made a game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in the final 35 seconds. Roethlisberger currently ranks seventh all-time in NFL passer rating (89.4) and yards per attempt (7.86) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1500 career attempts.

Known for playing outside the quarterback pocket in what he calls "backyard football", Roethlisberger is often compared to his childhood idol, former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, due to the similar styles and fourth-quarter comebacks. Roethlisberger, who also grew up idolizing Joe Montana, wears number 7 in Elway's honor.

Roethlisberger resided in Van Wert, Ohio until the age of eight. At Findlay High School, in Findlay, Ohio, he played on the football, basketball, and baseball teams. Roethlisberger did not play quarterback until his senior year, giving way to the coach's son, Ryan Hite. Instead, he played wide receiver because coach Cliff Hite explained to the Toledo Blade, "My son throwing to Ben was a better combination." Ryan Hite was named Great Lakes League Offensive Back of the year, and Roethlisberger received a special mention all-Ohio player as a receiver. They led the Trojans to the team's first league title in 15 years.

Roethlisberger threw for 4,041 yards, 54 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his one season as quarterback at Findlay. The younger Hite threw for 1,732 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in the year preceding Roethlisberger's quarterbacking debut.

In a twist of irony, Roethslisberger played college quarterback at Division I Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, while Ryan Hite played college wide receiver at Division III Denison. At Miami, Roethlisberger got a chance to start as a redshirt freshman and started three years of Division I college football after starting just one year as a high-school quarterback. Roethlisberger holds every major passing record at the school and a number of passing records in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) despite playing just three years before joining the NFL.

As a redshirt freshman, Roethlisberger threw for over 3,100 yards. In 2002, he threw more than 3,200 yards, and in 2003, he threw more than 4,400 yards. In 2003, Roethlisberger led the Miami RedHawks to an unbeaten record in the MAC, a no. 10 ranking in the Associated Press poll and a 49-28 victory over Louisville in the 2003 GMAC Bowl. His number was retired by the RedHawks in 91st annual homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007, with festivities including the RedHawks football game against Bowling Green; Roethlisberger becoming only the third athlete in Miami football history to have his jersey number retired, joining luminaries John Pont and Bob Hitchens. It is the first time in 34 years Miami has retired a football jersey number.

Roethlisberger was selected 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. On August 4, 2004, Roethlisberger signed a six-year contract worth $22.26 million in salaries and bonuses, with an additional $17.73 million available via incentives. He was touted by then Steelers coach Bill Cowher in a press conference as a franchise quarterback.

On March 4, 2008, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Roethlisberger agreed to an eight-year, $102 million contract. Roethlisberger had two years left on the deal he signed with the team as the 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft. He has stated that he wants to retire as a Steeler.

Roethlisberger did not immediately step in as the starting quarterback for the Steelers. He was the no. 3 QB behind Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch. When Batch was injured in the preseason, however, Roethlisberger moved up to no. 2. Maddox started, and won, the season opener against the Raiders and started versus the Ravens. But after an ineffective outing and third-quarter injury, Roethlisberger stepped in for his first NFL action. Despite spurring a mild comeback, the Steelers were down too much to win the game. Maddox's injury changed the Steelers' original plan for Roethlisberger, which was for him to sit on the bench or play very sparingly during the first season or two in order to learn the team's system. Instead, he was starting the third game of the season.

As a rookie, he went 13–0 in the regular season (14-1 including playoffs) as a starting quarterback, helping the Steelers become the first AFC team to have 15 wins (2-1 under Maddox , 13-0 under Roethlisberger) in a single season, surpassing former Steeler Mike Kruczek for the record for the best start by a rookie (6–0) and exceeding the mark for total wins as a rookie, set by Chris Chandler and Joe Ferguson. On January 5, 2005, Roethlisberger was unanimously selected as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, the first quarterback in 34 years to be so honored.

One of Roethlisberger's biggest games was when he led the Steelers to a 34-20 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion and previously undefeated New England Patriots, ending their NFL-record 21-game winning streak. He completed 18 of his 24 pass attempts for 196 yards, two TDs and no turnovers. The week after that game, the Steelers defeated the also previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles 27-3. Roethlisberger was 11 of 18 for 183 yards, with two TDs and one interception.

In his first nationally-televised game on Sunday Night Football, he led the Steelers to a 17-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was near perfect on the night, completing 14 of 17 passes for 226 yards and two TDs. A spike to stop the clock on the game-winning field-goal drive he led was the only thing preventing him from a 158.3 rating on the night. Jeff Reed's 37-yard field goal in the final minute gave the Steelers and Roethlisberger their tenth straight win.

Two weeks later, Roethlisberger faced off against the New York Giants and the no. 1 overall pick of the 2004 draft, Eli Manning. Roethlisberger outshined the QB that went 10 spots ahead of him in the draft, posting his first career 300-yard passing game. He completed 18 of 28 passes for 316 yards and a TD. He led his fifth game-winning drive of the season, capping a drive with a Jerome Bettis TD run for a 33-30 victory. Eli Manning threw an interception to seal the game for Pittsburgh.

In the divisional playoffs against the New York Jets, Roethlisberger threw two interceptions. One interception was returned for a touchdown, and the other was thrown with 2:03 left in the fourth quarter, which set up a potential game-winning field goal by Jets kicker Doug Brien. Brien missed the kick as time expired (his second missed kick in the last two minutes of the game), forcing the game into overtime. In overtime, Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field and put them in position for the game-winning field goal, a 33-yard attempt that was made by Jeff Reed, sending the Steelers into the AFC Championship for the fourth time in 10 years.

On January 23, 2005 in the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger completed 14 of 24 pass attempts for 226 yards and two TDs, but he also threw three costly interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Rodney Harrison. The Steelers lost the game to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, by a score of 41-27.

After losing the 2005 AFC Championship Game, Roethlisberger convinced veteran running back Jerome Bettis to delay retirement, with a tearful promise to him that he would get Bettis to his first Super Bowl. He lived up to his promise.

The following year, Roethlisberger led the Steelers on an improbable run, winning three straight playoff games on the road to put Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL. The Steelers won, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 21–10. What made the run remarkable was that the Steelers began the postseason as the sixth seed in the AFC. Since the NFL's current playoff format began, no sixth seed had even made it to a conference championship game, let alone the Super Bowl.

In the 2005 regular season, the Steelers finished 11-5. After securing an AFC wild card spot en route to victory in the Super Bowl, the Steelers pulled off upsets at Indianapolis and Denver in the AFC playoffs in addition to wins over higher seeds Cincinnati and Seattle. During the course of the regular season, Roethlisberger generally played well when healthy, but missed four games due to various knee injuries. During the regular season, the Steelers were 9-3 with Roethlisberger at quarterback and 2-2 without him. He led the league in Yards Per Attempt with an 8.90, and finished third in passer rating behind Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer with a 98.6.

The Super Bowl run began on Sunday, January 8, 2006 as Roethlisberger helped lead the Steelers to a playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals—an AFC North rival that had beaten the Steelers by seven points in the regular season to win the division championship. The rematch featured two teams with identical records, having split their regular season series since each team won on the road. Early in the game on Carson Palmer's first throw, a tackle by former Steeler Kimo von Oelhoffen resulted in Palmer's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) being completely torn. The Bengals' backup quarterback, Jon Kitna, came in and led the Bengals to leads of 10-0 and 17-7. However, the 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter would be the last time in the 2005 postseason that the Steelers would trail an opponent by more than three points. After Kitna failed to produce, the Steelers took advantage by taking the next 24 straight points, and the win, in a 31-17 victory in Cincinnati.

Their second road win came on Sunday, January 15, 2006. Roethlisberger led the sixth-seeded Steelers against the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL's top team throughout the season and a heavy favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XL. Roethlisberger threw for 197 yards and recorded a game-saving tackle on Colts' defensive back Nick Harper, who had just recovered a Jerome Bettis fumble with less than two minutes left in the game. The tackle saved the season for the Steelers. Pittsburgh led early but had to survive a Colts comeback to win 21-18, after an errant call that the NFL later admitted was a mistake, which overturned a Troy Polamalu interception that would have secured the game for the Steelers. Roethlisberger's tackle on Harper, dubbed by many as The Tackle II or The Immaculate Redemption, was compared by many to "The Immaculate Reception" in 1972, when Franco Harris made a miraculous reception and scored the game-winning touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. The victory marked the first time in playoff history that a sixth-seeded NFL playoff team defeated the top-seeded team.

On January 22, 2006, the Steelers defeated the Broncos 34-17 in Denver to win the AFC Championship and advance to Super Bowl XL. Roethlisberger completed 21 of 29 passes for 275 yards and threw two touchdown passes and scored one TD himself on a four-yard play-action bootleg. His run was the last touchdown of the game, sealing the win for the Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XL 21-10 over the Seattle Seahawks in Detroit on February 5, 2006. Roethlisberger had one of the worst passing games of his career, completing just nine of 21 passes for 123 yards and two interceptions; his passer rating of 22.6 was the lowest in Super Bowl history by a winning quarterback. Though he did convert eight discrete third-down situations in the game to help the Steelers win, none of them was bigger than his 37-yard pass to Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward on a third-and-28 that set up the Steelers' first TD (a one-yard quarterback sneak by Roethlisberger on third and goal). With the victory, Roethlisberger, at 23 years old, became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, a record previously held by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

After an off-season motorcycle crash in which he was seriously injured, Roethlisberger missed the opening game of the 2006 season after having an emergency appendectomy on September 3, 2006. Backup Charlie Batch started and led the Steelers to a victory over Miami. Roethlisberger played the following game against Jacksonville on Monday Night Football. His return resulted in a sub-par performance as he threw two interceptions with no touchdowns in a 9-0 loss. In week three, Roethlisberger completed fewer than half of his passes for three interceptions and no touchdowns in a 28-20 loss to the Bengals. The final interception came in the final seconds of the game, in the end zone, ending Pittsburgh's comeback attempt. In a week-five game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night Football, Roethlisberger looked sharp throughout the first half, leading three scoring drives. However, in the second half, he threw two interceptions, both of which shifted momentum away from the Steelers and led to the Chargers' 23-13 win. In week six against the Kansas City Chiefs, Roethlisberger had his first big game of the season, completing 16 of 19 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns (his first of the year) and no interceptions during a 45-7 rout of the Chiefs.

During week seven in Atlanta, Roethlisberger continued his success, going 16 of 22 for 238 yards and three TDs. But during the third quarter, Roethlisberger was helped off the field after suffering a concussion following a controversial hit by Falcons defensive end Patrick Kerney. Roethlisberger was replaced by Charlie Batch, and the Steelers went on to lose 41-38 in overtime. On October 29 against the Oakland Raiders, Roethlisberger threw four interceptions in a 20-13 upset loss. The loss was his fifth of the season—two more than he had in his first two seasons combined as a starter—and gave him a total of 11 INTs, versus just six TDs, on the season. In a week-nine rematch of the 2005 AFC championship game against Denver, Roethlisberger threw a career-high 433 yards but had three of the six Steelers turnovers in a 31-20 loss. Roethlisberger and the Steelers got back on a winning track in a home game a week later against the New Orleans Saints. He passed for 265 yards and three TDs in a 38-31 win.

In week 11, Roethlisberger overcame three first-half INTs by throwing for 224 yards and two TDs in the fourth quarter, leading the Steelers to score 21 points and come back to beat the Cleveland Browns 24-20. The following week, Roethlisberger and the Steelers were held scoreless in a 27-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Roethlisberger finished 21 of 41 for 214 yards and two INTs. He was sacked nine times, including once by Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, which sent him to the sidelines briefly. He also fumbled once, which the Ravens returned for a TD in the second half.

Roethlisberger bounced back the following game, throwing for 198 yards and two TDs in a 20-3 victory over Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh kept their playoff hopes alive in week 14 with a 27-7 victory against the Browns. Roethlisberger went 11 of 21 for 225 yards with one TD, and rushed for one more. In week 15, Roethlisberger threw for 140 yards and a TD in a 37-3 rout of the Carolina Panthers. The following week, Baltimore eliminated Pittsburgh from the playoffs. In the 31-7 defeat, Roethlisberger was intercepted twice and threw for 156 yards. Roethlisberger ended the season on a good note by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-17 in overtime in what would be Bill Cowher's final game as Steelers coach. He was 19 for 28 passing with 280 yards, one TD, and one INT. In overtime, Roethlisberger completed a slant pass to rookie Santonio Holmes, who went 67 yards for the game-winning TD. This win eliminated the Bengals from playoff contention.

Due to his sub-par '06–'07 season, many questions surrounded Roethlisberger at the start of the season. In the first game of '07–'08 season, Roethlisberger reached a personal milestone: his first career four-touchdown game. The Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 34-7. The four touchdowns went to Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes (a 40-yard strike), Heath Miller, and rookie tight end Matt Spaeth. He followed that up with another solid performance against the Buffalo Bills. Roethlisberger was 21 of 34 passing for 242 yards and a one-yard touchdown pass to Spaeth. He continued his solid season with a decent performance against the 49ers. He was 13 of 20 passing for 160 yards and another touchdown pass to the third TE, Jerame Tuman. In week five, he had a good performance despite having two top wide receivers, Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, out due to injury. Roethlisberger completed 18 of 22 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown pass to Heath Miller in the first quarter.

In week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens, Roethlisberger threw for a career-high five touchdowns, which tied a team record held by Terry Bradshaw and Mark Malone in a 38-7 victory over the Ravens on Monday Night Football. All five touchdowns were thrown in the first half, making Roethlisberger one of two quarterbacks in the 2007 season (the other being Tom Brady), and only the fifth quarterback since the 1970 merger, to accomplish such a feat. He also posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating in that game.

The following Sunday, Roethlisberger continued to shine when he erased a 15-point deficit against the Browns. With the Steelers trailing 21-16 in the fourth quarter and facing a third-and-10 from the Cleveland 30-yard line, Roethlisberger scrambled up the middle of the field for a 30-yard TD run (the longest run of his career at that point). He then completed a two-point conversion pass to Hines Ward. After the Browns returned the ensuing kickoff for a TD, Roethlisberger again had to drive the offense with a four-point deficit. This time he made three crucial plays on third down: an 18-yard pass to Santonio Holmes on third-and-six, a 20-yard pass to Heath Miller on a third-and-18, and a 10-yard scramble on third-and-nine. Roethlisberger capped off the drive with a short TD pass to Heath Miller, which proved to be the game winner.

In week 12, Roethlisberger set a Steelers record, completing 85.7% of his passes (18 of 21) as the Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins 3-0, a feat made all the more remarkable given the weather conditions. Pittsburgh was hit with a torrential storm, delaying the game 30 minutes due to lightning, while turning the new sod on the field, laid earlier that week, into a soggy mess. In many parts of the field, players sunk several inches with each step.

During the week 15 game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, Roethlisberger threw his 29th TD pass of the season, to Nate Washington, breaking the team single-season TD pass record previously held by Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.

During week 16 in St. Louis against the Rams, Roethlisberger posted his second perfect passer rating (158.3) of the season. He was 16 of 20 for 261 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. It was his third career 158.3 rating game, tying Peyton Manning for the most such regular-season games in NFL history. He also became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw two perfect games in a single regular season.

To cap his comeback season, Roethlisberger was named to his first Pro Bowl, joining five other Steelers teammates on the AFC squad. Roethlisberger's 32 touchdown passes ranked third in the NFL, behind Tony Romo and Tom Brady, while his 104.1 passer rating was second only to Brady. On five different occasions during the season, Roethlisberger led the team back from a double-digit deficit to a lead or tie in the fourth quarter. However, the Steelers would lose four of those five games as the defense in the end could not hold off Denver, New York and Jacksonville (twice), respectively. Roethlisberger also set a new Steelers single-season record with 32 touchdown passes in the 2007 season.

In a rematch of the week 15 contest, the Steelers hosted the Jaguars in the AFC Wild Card game on January 5, 2008. With the injury to Willie Parker, the Steelers could never mount a rushing attack; Roethlisberger struggled a great deal in the first half, throwing three interceptions (one being returned for a TD by Rashean Mathis) as the Steelers trailed at the half by a score of 21-7. He pulled himself together and went 17 of 23 for 263 yards and two TDs in the second half alone. The Steelers were trailing 28-10 as the fourth quarter began. When facing a fourth-and-12 at the Jaguar 37, Roethlisberger threw a quick pass against the blitz to Santonio Holmes, who broke one tackle and scored a TD to pull within 11. The Steelers scored two TDs on their next two possessions to take a 29-28 lead, but failed on both attempts at a two-point conversion. That would be costly, as David Garrard would later scramble 32 yards on a fourth-and-two to set up the winning field goal. Jacksonville finally won the game 31-29 after Roethlisberger was sacked for the sixth time that night and fumbled with a drive that started under the 0:30 mark.

Having been sacked 47 times (second most in the NFL), it was speculated that Roethlisberger's performances could have been even better given improved protection. He often showed great skill outside the pocket, as well as being among the top rushing quarterbacks. While the team did not go as far as they would have liked, it was a successful comeback season for Roethlisberger. He finished third in Comeback Player of the Year, behind the Patriots' Randy Moss and the Dallas Cowboys' Greg Ellis, who won the award. In his first Pro Bowl, Roethlisberger played three series in the second quarter, going five of nine for 42 yards and one TD, and he led the AFC team in rushing with an 18-yard scramble. The NFC won the game 42-30.

Week 1 vs. Houston Texans (W 38-17): Completed 13 of 14 passes for a career-high 92.9 completion percentage (min. 10 attempts), and finished with 137 yards passing and two TD passes. Byron Leftwich took over in the fourth quarter when Roethlisberger was on the sideline with a shoulder injury.

Week 2 at Cleveland Browns (W 10-6): Leading the Steelers to their 10th straight win over the Browns on a windy, rainy night in Cleveland, Roethlisberger completed 13 of 20 passes for 179 yards and a TD pass to Hines Ward. He also had the first pass reception of his career, a negative-seven yard completion to himself after a deflected pass in the second quarter. .

Week 3 at Philadelphia Eagles (L 15-6): Behind a relentless pass rush by Philadelphia, Roethlisberger was sacked eight times, fumbled twice, threw one interception, and was called for a safety in the fourth quarter. He did not finish the game, as his throwing hand was injured.

Week 4 vs. Baltimore Ravens (W 23-20 OT): On Monday Night Football against a division rival, the Steelers trailed 13-3 at halftime. Roethlisberger threw a TD pass to Santonio Holmes in the third quarter to start a comeback. He completed two passes Mewelde Moore for 31 yards in overtime, setting up Jeff Reed for the winning 46-yard field goal.

Week 5 at Jacksonville Jaguars (W 26-21): On Sunday Night Football, he completed 26 of 41 passes for 309 yards and three TDs. His 239 yards passing in the first half was a career high. After falling behind 21-20 in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger directed the game-winning drive, passing for an eight-yard TD to Hines Ward to put the Steelers ahead. It was Roethlisberger's 15th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter/overtime. Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. The performance also led him to be selected as the FedEx Air Player of the Week.

Week 7 at Cincinnati Bengals (W 38-10): Off the bye, Roethlisberger passed for 216 yards and two touchdowns. It was the Steelers' eighth straight win in Cincinnati, and Roethlisberger was the quarterback for six of those games (it was his overall 11th win in 11 games in the state of Ohio)..

Week 8 vs. New York Giants (L 21-14): Against the defending champions, Roethlisberger was sacked five times and threw one touchdown and four interceptions, ending the game with a Steelers loss.

Week 9 at Washington Redskins (W 23-6): On Monday Night Football, Roethlisberger had one of the worst performances of his career, posting career lows in passer rating (15.1), completions (5), passing yards (50), yards per attempt (2.94) and completion percentage (29.4%). Overall, he was five of 17 for 50 yards, an interception, three sacks. Before halftime, Roethlisberger re-injured his throwing shoulder in the game when he rushed for a one-yard TD that put the Steelers up 10-6. He never returned in the second half. Byron Leftwich and the defense took the Steelers to a 23-6 victory.

Week 11 vs. San Diego Chargers (W 11-10): Roethlisberger completed 31 of 41 passes for 308 yards and no interceptions. He led his third game-winning drive of the season (16th of his career) as Jeff Reed's 32-yard field goal connected with 0:11 left. It was the first 11-10 game in NFL history.

Week 12 vs. Cincinnati Bengals (W 27-10): Four days later, on Thursday Night Football, Roethlisberger threw for 243 yards and one TD and rushed for his second TD of the season.

Week 13 at New England Patriots (W 33-10): In consistent rain, Roethlisberger completed 17 of 33 passes for 179 yards, two TDs, and one INT. After falling behind 10-3 in the second quarter, Roethlisberger and the fierce Steelers' defense led the Steelers to 30 unanswered points in a 33-10 victory.

Week 14 vs. Dallas Cowboys (W 20-13): Steelers trailed 13-3 in the fourth quarter before tying the game on Roethlisberger's six-yard TD pass to Heath Miller. The Steelers won 20-13 after Deshea Townsend intercepted a Tony Romo pass for a TD. Roethlisberger passed for 204 yards and one TD, and he lost a fumble. It was Roethlisberger's 49th victory as a starting QB, breaking the record for the most ever by a QB in their first five NFL seasons.

Week 15 at Baltimore Ravens (W 13-9): Steelers trailed 9-3 in the fourth quarter. After a FG to make it 9-6, the Steelers took over with 3:38 remaining. Roethlisberger led a 92-yard, game-winning TD drive, culminating in a four-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes for the 13-9 victory. The TD was confirmed by instant replay from a booth review. It was Roethlisberger's 50th victory as a starter and fifth game-winning/tying drive in the fourth quarter/OT of the season, and it clinched the second straight AFC North title for the Steelers. Roethlisberger threw for 246 yards and rushed for 21 more in the game. He completed seven passes for 89 yards on the winning drive.

Week 16 at Tennessee Titans (L 31-14): After falling behind 10-0, Roethlisberger threw two TD passes to take a 14-10 lead in the third quarter. Later, an interception ended a streak of 131 passes without an interception, the longest of his career. After 14 unanswered by the Titans, Roethlisberger threw a second interception, which was returned for an 83-yard TD in the final minute. The Steelers' loss clinched the no. 2 seed. Roethlisberger completed 25 of 39 passes for 329 yards, two TDs, two INTs, and four fumbles (lost two).

Week 17 vs. Cleveland Browns (W 31-0): Roethlisberger suffered simultaneous hard hits from Willie McGinest and D'Qwell Jackson just after the two-minute warning in the first half. He laid on the field for roughly 15 minutes before being carted off on a stretcher and taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. He was diagnosed with a mild concussion, but practiced during the week leading up to the playoff opener.

AFC Divisional Round vs. San Diego Chargers (W 35-24): Roethlisberger shook off past demons of returning from injury to lead the Steelers to a 35-24 victory against the Chargers. After a late TD drive to close the first half with a 14-10 lead, Roethlisberger converted three third-and-long passes on a 7:56 TD drive to start the second half, putting the Steelers up by double-digits for the rest of the game. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 181 yards and a TD while being sacked just once, with no turnovers. After the game, it was revealed that his injury suffered against Cleveland in week 17 was a spinal-cord concussion.

AFC Championship vs. Baltimore Ravens (W 23-14): Roethlisberger threw for 255 yards, one TD no turnovers to help the Steelers beat Baltimore for the third time in the '08–'09 season and return to the Super Bowl. It was Roethlisberger's seventh playoff win in his first five seasons, moving him past Troy Aikman for second most all-time (first is Tom Brady with nine).

Super Bowl 43 vs. Arizona Cardinals (W 27-23): Wanting to atone for his performance in Super Bowl XL, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to one of the more dramatic victories in Super Bowl history. On the first two offensive drives, Roethlisberger passed for 122 yards on seven of eight passing attempts, which is one yard shy of his total amount from his first Super Bowl start. The Steelers led 10-0 and went into halftime up 17-7. The lead grew to 20-7 before Arizona mounted a comeback. Trailing for the first time in the game, 23-20, with 2:30 remaining in the game, Roethlisberger took the field to start the winning drive. After a holding penalty on the first play, Roethlisberger marched the Steelers 88 yards in eight plays, hooking up with game MVP Santonio Holmes four times for 73 yards on the drive, including the six-yard TD pass that put the Steelers ahead with 0:35 remaining. Overall, Roethlisberger finished 21 of 30 for 256 yards, one TD, and one INT. He had a passer rating of 93.2.

In just five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Roethlisberger has become the second most prolific quarterback in franchise history, behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw. As of 2008, sports broadcasters in the Pittsburgh region have been praising Roethlisberger as "the second coming of John Elway" due to his late clutch game-winning drives and the repeated sacks he has taken through out his career, similar to Elway's career. For a list of Roethlisberger's rankings in the Steelers record books, see here.

On Monday, June 12, 2006, at 11:17 a.m. EDT (UTC-4), Roethlisberger was involved in a motorcycle accident near the intersection of 10th Street and Second Avenue near downtown Pittsburgh, in which he was not wearing his helmet. KDKA-TV of Pittsburgh has reported that Roethlisberger did not have a valid Pennsylvania motorcycle license at the time of the accident, only a temporary permit that he had obtained after moving to Pittsburgh. According to KDKA, his permit had expired in March.

Roethlisberger was traveling east on Second Avenue when a Chrysler New Yorker made a left turn in front of the motorcycle and onto the South Tenth Street Bridge when the accident occurred. According to an eyewitness, Roethlisberger went over the handlebars of his bike, a 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa, shattering the windshield of the car with his head. The eyewitness reports claimed Roethlisberger tried to get up but was bleeding from the head. Reports from the scene and news media indicated that the accident was serious but "not life- or career-threatening," though Roethlisberger would later relate in interviews that paramedics on the scene stopped the bleeding in his throat just in time to save his life. After the accident, the shift commander for the Allegheny County emergency service described Roethlisberger as "alert and conscious." He was transported to Mercy Hospital and was described as being in "serious but stable" condition in the operating room.

Upon arriving at Mercy Hospital, he went immediately into surgery, where he remained for more than seven hours. The broken bones in his face were repaired. The subsequent news conference with the Mercy Hospital staff was brief but confirmed early reports that the most serious injuries were to the head and face. There was no neck, spinal, or brain damage found. After surgery, at approximately noon on June 13, 2006, Roethlisberger was upgraded to fair condition.

The most serious injuries to Roethlisberger were a broken upper and lower jaw and a broken nose. Roethlisberger was expected to make a full recovery in time for the opening game of the season.

In the wake of Kellen Winslow II's crashing of his motorcycle in May 2005, Roethlisberger had been criticized by various NFL members and the media for not wearing a helmet while riding. Even Roethlisberger's coach, Bill Cowher, lectured him about motorcycle safety. Former Steeler Terry Bradshaw warned Roethlisberger personally when he visited the Steelers' training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and on television, saying, "Ride it when you retire." In a segment put together by ESPN following Winslow's accident, Roethlisberger had said he didn't wear a helmet because it was not required by law, adding, "You're just more free when you're out there and there's no helmet on." Transcripts of the interview recall Roethlisberger telling Suzy Kolber that he only rides a Harley, or his chopper with friends, not a sport bike (like the one Winslow was on). He also claimed to have his license. Both statements have been proven false since the accident.

On June 19, the Pittsburgh police announced that Roethlisberger would be cited for failure to wear a helmet and failure to operate in his license class. Wearing a helmet is optional in Pennsylvania only for operators who currently possess and have had a motorcycle license for at least two years. The driver of the car was cited for failure to yield the right of way.

Roethlisberger gave his first television interview after the accident on July 13, with ABC's Good Morning America. He said he was told by responding paramedics that he ruptured a major blood vessel in his mouth and was minutes away from dying. Despite the seriousness of the accident, his recovery went so well that he started the first three Steelers 2006 preseason games.

In five seasons, Roethlisberger has many individual accomplishments that are record performances in Steelers history.

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2007 Jacksonville Jaguars season

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The 2007 Jacksonville Jaguars season was the 12th season for the team in the National Football League. They improved upon their 8-8 record in 2006 where they finished third in the AFC South and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

After the 2006 season, the Jaguars announced that offensive coordinator Carl Smith, special teams coordinator Pete Rodriguez, quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, and wide receivers coach Steve Walters would not be returning. Along with these, special teams assistant Mark Michaels' contract had expired and would not be renewed. When hiring, Del Rio created a new position on the staff, assistant wide receivers coach, and so needed to fill six positions. By early February he completed the staff with Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator, Mike Shula as quarterbacks coach, Todd Monken as wide receivers coach, Robert Prince as wide receivers assistant, Joe DeCamillis as special teams coordinator, and Tom Williams as special teams assistant. Along with the new staff, assistant head coach Mike Tice will take over coaching of the tight ends.

After a number of player arrests from the end of 2006 season, cornerback Ahmad Carroll, who was signed by the Jaguars in October after being waived by the Green Bay Packers and played in only one game with the Jaguars, was arrested in May on weapons and drug charges, prompting the Jaguars to release him. Also, in a move that shocked even the Jaguars players, nine year veteran strong safety Donovin Darius was released.

On August 31, 2007 Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio announced in a press conference that Byron Leftwich would be traded or released within the next 72 hours. David Garrard will take over the starting duties. The specific reasons were not disclosed. Del Rio was quoted as saying that he "felt a conviction in his heart that Garrard was the guy for the job and he's earned it". The Jaguars released 19 players, traded one player, and placed two players on injured reserve to meet the 53 man roster requirements for the beginning of the season. Byron Leftwich, Dan Connolly, Jamaal Fudge, Nick Greisen, Seth Payne, Charles Sharon, Bruce Thornton, Dee Webb, Josh Gattis, Joe Anoai, Kevin Coley, Walter Curry, Ryan Gibbons, Tyler King, Jamar Landrom, Roy Manning, Pete McMahon, Rashod Moulton, and Isaac Smolko were released. Alvin Pearman was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for an undisclosed draft choice. James Wyche and Mike Walker were placed on injured reserve for injuries to groin and knee respectively.

The off-season brought the arrival of seven free agents to the Jaguars. On offense, offensive tackle Tony Pashos and tight ends Jermaine Wiggins, Richard Angulo and Isaac Smolko were signed. On defense, safety Kevin McCadam and cornerback Bruce Thornton. Additionally, first-year punter Tony Yelk was signed to the special teams.

In addition to the new signings to the team, Tony Gilbert, Derrick Wimbush , Kenny Pettway, Quinn Gray Ernest Wilford and Josh Scobee signed contract tenders and unrestricted free agent LaBrandon Toefield re-signed.

The Jacksonville Jaguars pre-season schedule was announced on April 11, 2007.

With David Garrard as their starting quarterback, the Jaguars began their season at home against their division rival, the Tennessee Titans. In the first quarter, the Titans struck first with kicker Rob Bironas getting a 20-yard field goal. Afterwards, Jacksonville took the lead with Garrard completing a 47-yard TD pass to rookie WR John Broussard. In the second quarter, the Jags increased their lead with kicker Josh Scobee getting a 22-yard field goal. Afterwards, Tennessee would get closer with Bironas kicking a 31-yard field goal. In the third quarter, the Titans took the lead for good with QB Vince Young running into the end zone from 2 yards out. From there, the defense held both teams' offense at a halt.

With the loss, the Jaguars began the year at 0-1.

Hoping to rebound from their divisional loss to the Titans, the Jaguars stayed at home for a Week 2 interconference fight with the Atlanta Falcons. After a scoreless first quarter, the Jags drew first blood with kicker John Carney getting a 35-yard field goal. Afterwards, Atlanta would get its only score of the game as RB Warrick Dunn got a 4-yard TD run. After a scoreless third quarter, the Jaguars took over in the fourth quarter as QB David Garrard completed a 14-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams, while Carney ended the game with a 27-yard field goal. Defensively, Jacksonville managed to sack Falcons QB Joey Harrington 7 times.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 1-1.

Following their win at home over the Falcons, the Jaguars flew to INVESCO Field at Mile High for a Week 3 intraconference fight with the Denver Broncos. After a scoreless first quarter, the Jags drew first blood with QB David Garrard completing a 3-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams. The Broncos would tie the game with QB Jay Cutler completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Nate Jackson. Fortunately, Jacksonville would start to pull away with FB Greg Jones getting a 4-yard TD run, while kicker John Carney got a 19-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Jaguars increased their lead with Carney kicking a 27-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Denver tried to fight back with RB Travis Henry got a 6-yard TD run. Fortunately, Jacksonville ended the game with Carney kicking a 18-yard field goal.

With the win, the Jaguars entered their bye week at 2-1.

Coming off their bye week, the Jaguars flew to Arrowhead Stadium and continued their intraconference play as they took on the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first quarter, the Jags took the lead as kicker John Carney nailed a 20-yard field goal to end the period. In the second quarter, Jacksonville increased its lead with RB Maurice Jones-Drew getting a 52-yard TD run for the only score of the period. After a scoreless third quarter, the Jags managed to put the game out of reach with QB David Garrard completing a 3-yard TD pass to WR Dennis Northcutt. Afterwards, the Chiefs spoiled Jacksonville's chance of a shutout with QB Brodie Croyle completing a 13-yard TD pass to WR Samie Parker as time ran out.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 3-1.

Coming off of their road win over the Chiefs, the Jaguars went home for a Week 6 AFC South showdown with the Houston Texans. In the first quarter, Jacksonville trailed early with Texans kicker Kris Brown getting a 20-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, Houston increased its lead with Brown kicking a 35-yard field goal. Afterwards. the Jaguars answered with QB David Garrard completed a 1-yard TD pass to TE George Wrighster, along with kicker John Carney getting a 37-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Jacksonville increased its lead with Garrard completing a 9-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams. Houston would respond with Brown kicking a 33-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Jags would run away with the game as RB Maurice Jones-Drew got a 7-yard TD run, LB Daryl Smith returned a fumble 77 yards for a touchdown, and Jones-Drew sealed the victory with a 57-yard TD run. Afterwards, the Texans scored the final points of the game with QB Sage Rosenfels completing a 1-yard TD pass to FB Vonta Leach.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 4-1.

Coming off their divisional home win over the Texans, the Jaguars stayed at home, donned their alternate uniforms, and played an AFC South duel on Monday Night Football with the defending Super Bowl champion-Idianapolis Colts. In the first quarter, the Jags trailed early as Colts RB Kenton Keith got a 3-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, things got worse for Jacksonville as Indy QB Peyton Manning got a 1-yard TD run, along with kicker Adam Vinatieri getting a 36-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Jags got their only score of the game as RB Maurice Jones-Drew got a 1-yard TD run. Afterwards, Indianapolis continued its pounding with DE Dwight Freeney sacking back-up QB Quinn Gray in the end zone for a safety. In the fourth quarter, the Colts sealed the win with Vinatieri kicking a 20-yard field goal and Manning completing a 35-yard TD pass to TE Dallas Clark.

With the loss, the Jaguars fell to 4-2.

QB David Garrard (8/12 for 72 yards) was injured in the second quarter when his left ankle was sprained during a sack. He was unable to play in the second half.

Hoping to rebound from their Monday Night loss to the Colts, the Jaguars flew to Raymond James Stadium for a Week 8 interconference duel with their state rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With starting QB David Garrard out with an ankle injury, QB Quinn Gray was given the start.

In the first quarter, Jacksonville trailed early as Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant got a 44-yard field goal. The Jags would respond with RB LaBrandon Toefield getting a 1-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Jacksonville took the lead with kicker John Carney getting a 41-yard field goal, along with DB Aaron Glenn returning an interception 28 yards for a touchdown. Tampa Bay would respond with QB Jeff Garcia completing a 58-yard TD pass to WR Joey Galloway, along with Bryant kicking a 22-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Buccaneers regained the lead with RB Michael Bennett getting a 19-yard TD run, along with Bryant nailing a 42-yard field goal. Fortunately, in the fourth quarter, the Jags got the win with Gray completing an 8-yard TD pass to WR Matt Jones.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 5-2. What was impressive with the win was that the Jaguars defense managed to intercept Garcia three times, while he entered the game having no interceptions on the year.

Coming off their road win over the Buccaneers, the Jaguars flew to the Louisiana Superdome for a Week 9 interconference duel with the New Orleans Saints. In the first quarter, the Jags trailed early as Saints kicker Olindo Mare managed to get a 46-yard field goal, while RB Reggie Bush got a 1-yard TD run. Fortunately, Jacksonville came right back with QB Quinn Gray completing an 80-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams, while former Saints kicker John Carney managed to get a 30-yard field goal. However, New Orleans would respond with QB Drew Brees completing a 2-yard TD pass to Bush. The Jaguars would immediately respond with RB Maurice Jones-Drew returning the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to end the period. In the second quarter, the Saints regained the lead with Brees completing an 8-yard TD pass to WR Lance Moore for the only score of the period.

In the third quarter, Jacksonville continued to struggle as CB Mike McKenzie returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown, while Brees completed a 4-yard TD pass to WR David Patten. In the fourth quarter, the Jags tried to respond as Gray completed a 15-yard TD pass to WR Dennis Northcutt. Unfortunately, New Orleans wrapped up the win with Mare nailing a 34-yard field goal.

With the loss, the Jaguars fell to 5-3.

Hoping to rebound from their road loss to the Saints, the Jaguars flew to LP Field for an AFC South rematch with the Tennessee Titans. In the first quarter, Jacksonville slashed first with QB Quinn Gray completing a 2-yard TD pass to FB Greg Jones for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Jags increased their lead with RB Maurice Jones-Drew getting an 8-yard TD run. The Titans would end the half with kicker Rob Bironas getting a 37-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Jaguars went back to work with RB Fred Taylor getting a 37-yard touchdown. Tennessee managed to reply with Bironas nailing a 49-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Titans drew closer with QB Vince Young completing a 20-yard TD pass to WR Justin Gage. Fortunately, Jacksonville sealed Tennessee's fate with Jones getting a 3-yard TD run.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 6-3.

In the game, Fred Taylor managed to become the 21st player in NFL history to run for at least 10,000 career yards. Also, Jacksonville's run defense held the Titans' rushing attack to a season-low 62 yards.

Coming off their divisional road win, the Jaguars went home for a Week 11 intraconference duel with the San Diego Chargers. In the first quarter, the Jags slashed first with kicker Josh Scobee getting a 48-yard field goal, along with RB Maurice Jones-Drew getting a 1-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Chargers got on the board with kicker Nate Kaeding getting a 23-yard field goal. Fortunately, Jacksonville answered with QB David Garrard completing a 36-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams.

In the third quarter, San Diego tried to reply with RB LaDainian Tomlinson getting a 6-yard TD run. Fortunately, the Jags responded with Garrard completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Marcedes Lewis. In the fourth quarter, the Chargers tried to comeback as QB Philip Rivers completing a 24-yard TD to TE Antonio Gates. Fortunately, Jacksonville's defense held on to claim the win.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 7-3.

Coming off their win over the Chargers, the Jaguars stayed at home for a Week 12 duel with the Buffalo Bills. In the first quarter, the Jags pounced first with RB Fred Taylor getting a 50-yard TD run, along with kicker Josh Scobee getting a 46-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Jacksonville increased its lead with Scobee kicking 33-yard field goal. The Bills managed to get on the board with QB J.P. Losman completing a 10-yard TD pass to RB Anthony Thomas. The Jaguars managed to end the half with Scobee kicking a 22-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Jacksonville increased its lead with Scobee kicking a 23-yard field goal. Buffalo would manage to get on the board with WR Roscoe Parrish getting a 24-yard TD run. Fortunately, in the fourth quarter, the Jags managed to put the game out of reach as Scobee nailed a 20-yard field goal, QB David Garrard completing a 59-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams, along with RB Maurice Jones-Drew getting a 17-yard TD run.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 8-3.

After 12 weeks, Garrard has attempted a franchise-best 209 passes with no interceptions.

Coming off their home win over the Bills, the Jaguars flew to the RCA Dome for a Week 13 AFC South rematch with the Indianapolis Colts. In the first quarter, the Jags trailed early as Colts QB Peyton Manning completed a 5-yard TD pass to TE Dallas Clark, along with a 48-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Wayne. In the second quarter, Jacksonville got on the board with RB Maurice Jones-Drew getting a 2-yard TD run. However, Indianapolis replied with Manning and Clark hooking up with each other again on a 14-yard TD pass.

In the third quarter, the Jaguars drew closer with Garrard completing a 2-yard TD pass to TE Marcedes Lewis for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, the Jags crept closer with kicker Josh Scobee nailing a 47-yard field goal. However, the Colts answered with Manning completing a 1-yard TD pass to RB Luke Lawton. The Jags would try to get a comeback as Garrard completed a 17-yard TD pass to WR Dennis Northcutt (along with getting a 2-point conversion run). However, instead of doin an onside kick, they kicked the ball away and hoped that the defense would stop Indianapolis. In the end, the Colts came up to seal the win.

With the loss, the Jaguars fell to 8-4.

In the game, Garrard threw his first interception in 231 pass attempts.

Hoping to rebound from their divisional road loss to the Colts, the Jaguars went home for a Week 14 interconference duel with their 1995 expansion rival, the Carolina Panthers. In the first quarter, the Jags drew first blood as QB David Garrard completed a 22-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Panthers got on the board as kicker John Kasay managed to get a 49-yard field goal. Afterwards, Jacksonville responded with kicker Josh Scobee getting a 21-yard field goal. Carolina would end the half with Kasay kicking a 39-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Jaguars began to take control as Garrard completed a 6-yard TD pass to WR Matt Jones, along with Scobee kicking a 20-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Jacksonville pulled away as LB Clint Ingram returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown, RB Fred Taylor got a franchise-best 80-yard TD run, and Scobee nailed a 33-yard TD run.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 9-4.

For Fred Taylor, this would be his third-straight 100-yard game, the first time this had happened since 2004.

Coming off their dominating home win over the Panthers, the Jaguars flew to Heinz Field for a Week 15 duel with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the first quarter, the Jags drew first blood as Kicker Josh Scobee nailed a 36-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Steelers took the lead as QB Ben Roethlisberger completed an 18-yard TD pass to TE Heath Miller. Jacksonville would end the half with QB David Garrard completing a 12-yard TD pass to WR Ernest Wilford.

In the third quarter, the Jags greatly increased their lead with Garrard completing a 3-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams and a 55-yard TD pass to WR Dennis Northcutt (both with failed PATs). In the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh rallied to the game as Roethlisberger completed an 11-yard TD pass to WR Hines Ward and a 30-yard TD pass to WR Nate Washington, with the later being followed by WR Cedric Wilson completing a 2-point conversion pass to WR Santonio Holmes on a trick play. Afterwards, the Jags would respond with RB Fred Taylor getting a 12-yard TD run. After that, Jacksonville's defense held on for the victory.

With the win, the Jaguars improved to 10-4.

The Jaguars held the Raiders to a mere 215 yards of total offense, keeping them out of the end zone until 11 seconds left in the game. David Garrard threw two touchdown passes and rush for a third, one of three rushing touchdowns overall. In the fourth quarter, with the game well in hand, Quinn Gray would come in and throw two more touchdown passes. The Jaguars defense would make three interceptions, and force a fumble.

The game was punctuated by an ugly incident with 21 seconds left in the first half, where Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp argued with officials over a penalty the team wanted to accept. The argument led to four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against the Raiders, three of them on Sapp, and Sapp was ejected from the game. Although one of the officials accused Sapp of bumping him, he was not suspended.

David Garrard did throw his third interception of the season immediately after the Sapp incident. Reggie Nelson would also lose a fumble, immediately after he had intercepted JaMarcus Russell at the beginning of the second quarter. The Jaguars outscored the Raiders by 38 points, but only required 27 minutes of possession to do so.

The Jaguars allowed Quinn Gray to start the game, and he went 25 for 39 with 302 passing yards and four touchdowns. Neither Fred Taylor nor Maurice Jones-Drew played. The difference in the game proved to be Texans kick returner André Davis, who returned a punt 97 yards for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter, then returned the second half kickoff 104 yards for another touchdown. The Jaguars defense effectively conceded the game to their rivals. Jaguars kick returner Chad Owens muffed a punt for a turnover, but Scott Starks managed an interception on Sage Rosenfels.

Jacksonville gained only 239 yards of offense, but still managed to win on Josh Scobee's 25-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the game. The Jaguars defense sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger six times, intercepted three of his passes, and forced him to lose a fumble on the final drive of the game.

Pittsburgh opened up the scoring by marching 80 yards in 10 plays on their first drive and finishing it off with Najeh Davenport's 1-yard touchdown run. But Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the 1-yard line (the longest play in NFL postseason history that did not result in a touchdown), and Fred Taylor scored a 1-yard touchdown run on the next play.

Early in the second quarter, Jacksonville defensive back Rashean Mathis intercepted pass from Roethlisberger and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. Then shorty after the kickoff, Mathis intercepted another pass at the Steelers 46-yard line, setting up David Garrard's 43-yard touchdown pass to Jones-Drew and making the score 21-7. Later in the second quarter, the Steelers took advantage of a missed Scobee field goal by driving all the way to the Jaguars 21-yard line. But defensive tackle Derek Landri intercepted a short pass from Roethlisberger, and the score remained 21-7 at halftime.

In the second half, the Steelers scored on their first four drives. Three plays after the opening kickoff, linebacker James Farrior's interception of a Garrard pass set up Josh Reed's 28-yard field goal. Jacksonville responded by driving 82 yards in 8 plays, with Garrard rushing for 15 yards and completing two passes to Ernest Wilford for 39, while Jones-Drew capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, increasing their lead to 28-10. But the Steelers drove right back, and on the first play of the fourth quarter, facing fourth down and 12 on the Jags 37-yard line, Roethlisberger threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes. Then after a punt, Roethlisberger completed six passes for 65 yards on a 69-yard drive that ended with his 14-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller. The Steelers attempted a two-point conversion to cut the lead to three points, and Rothlisberger initially completed a pass to Hines Ward, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty and Pittsburgh's second attempt was incomplete, keeping the score at 28-23.

Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Steers defensive back Ike Taylor intercepted a pass from Garrard and returned it 31 yards to the Jacksonville 16-yard line. Following a pass interference penalty against the Jaguars in the end zone on a fourth down play, Davenport scored his second 1-yard touchdown run of the day. The two point conversion failed again, but the Steelers took the lead, 29-28.

Jacksonville was unable to score on their next drive, but they forced the Steelers to punt after three plays and Dennis Northcutt returned the punt 16 yards, giving the Jaguars the ball at their own 49-yard line with 1 timeout remaining and 2:38 left to play. Three plays later on fourth down and 2, Garrard dropped back to pass, but then ran back to the line and took off for a 32-yard burst to the Steelers 11-yard line. After a few more running plays, Scobee kicked a 25-yard field goal, giving his team a 31-29 lead. The Steelers got the ball back with 37 seconds left, but Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray sealed the victory by forcing a fumble which was recovered by defensive tackle Derek Landri.

With the win, the Jaguars improved their overall record to 12-5.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady set the NFL record for completion percentage in a single game (92.9%) with 26 of 28 completions for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, while running back Laurence Maroney added 162 total yards (122 on the ground). Overall, New England gained 401 yards and didn't punt the ball until 31 seconds remained in the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards in 9 plays, featuring two receptions by Marcedes Lewis for 57 yards, on the way to David Garrard's 9-yard touchdown pass to Matt Jones. The Patriots then went on a 74-yard drive and scored with Tom Brady's 3-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson. On Jacksonville's next possession, New England lineman Ty Warren forced a fumble while sacking Garrard, and linebacker Mike Vrabel recovered it at the Jaguars 29-yard line. Several plays later, Maroney scored a 1-yard touchdown run to give New England a 14-7 lead.

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew muffed the ensuing kickoff and was downed at his own 5-yard line. The Jaguars then moved the ball 95 yards in 11 plays without even facing a third down and scoring with Garrard's 6-yard touchdown pass to Ernest Wilford. For the third time in a row, New England drove deep into Jacksonville territory. But this time the drive stalled at the 17-yard line and ended with no points when Stephen Gostkowski missed a 35-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the first half.

On the opening drive of the second half, Brady completed 7 of 8 passes for 54 yards on an 82-yard drive. On the last play, he took a snap in shotgun formation with Kevin Faulk to his right, Brady jumped in the air with his arms raised to make it look like a play used by the Patriots before where Faulk took the direct snap. The Jaguars defense followed Faulk, leaving Wes Welker open in the end zone, and Brady threw him the ball for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 21-14 lead. Jacksonville responded with a drive to the New England 21-yard line, but receiver Dennis Northcutt dropped a pass on third down, forcing them to settle for a Josh Scobee 39-yard field goal, cutting the score to 21-17. On New England's next drive, Jacksonville's Derek Landri was assessed a roughing-the-passer penalty, turning Welker's 6-yard catch into a 21-yard gain. Maroney gained 40 yards with his next two carries, and following two more Welker receptions, Brady threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Watson giving New England a 28-17 lead.

An unnecessary roughness penalty and a 25-yard reception by Reggie Williams on the Jacksonville's next drive set up a 25-yard field goal by Scobee, which cut the Jaguars deficit to one touchdown, 28-20. On the second play after the kickoff, Brady completed a 52-yard strike to Donté Stallworth, setting up Gostkowski's second field goal attempt to put New England back up by two scores, 31-20.

Then, with 3:46 left in the game, Pats safety, Rodney Harrison, intercepted a pass from Garrard at the Patriots' 31-yard line, ending any hope of a Jacksonville comeback. Harrison's interception was his 7th career postseason pick, a Patriots record. This was also his fourth consecutive postseason game with an interception, tying an NFL record held by Aeneas Williams.

With this win, the Patriots advanced to the AFC title game for the second year in a row and extended their perfect record to 17-0, matching the final record of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

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List of Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft picks

Santonio Holmes 2006.jpg

This is a list of first-round draft picks made by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. The Pittsburgh Pirates, a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, participated in the first NFL Draft prior to the 1936 season. The franchise changed its name to the Steelers prior to the 1940 season, to represent the city's heritage of producing steel.

The event, which is officially known as the "Player Selection Meeting", is held each April. The draft is used as the primary means to distribute newly-available talent (primarily from college football) equitably amongst the teams. Selections are made in reverse order based on the previous season's record, i.e. the club with the worst record from the previous season selects first. Through 2009, only two exceptions were made to this order: the Super Bowl champion always selects last (32nd), and the Super Bowl loser is awarded the penultimate (31st) pick. Begining in 2010, teams making the playoffs will be seeded in reverse order depending upon how far they advance. The draft consists of seven rounds. Teams have the option of trading selections for players, cash and/or other selections (including future year selections). Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades. The Steelers have traded away their first-round pick eight times; they have had two first-round selections in two drafts.

The Steelers' first selection in the inaugural NFL draft was William Shakespeare, a halfback from Notre Dame. The Steelers have selected first overall three times, drafting "Bullet" Bill Dudley in 1942, Gary Glick in 1956 and Terry Bradshaw in 1970. The team has selected second overall once, and third overall four times. Through 2009, seven Steeler first-round picks have gone on to have playing careers deemed worthy of enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dudley, Len Dawson, "Mean" Joe Greene, Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and Rod Woodson. The team's most recent first-round selection was Rashard Mendenhall, a running back from Illinois. As the winners of Super Bowl XLIII the Steelers will select last in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Byron "Whizzer" White was selected fourth overall in the 1938 draft — he went on to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

1954 first-round selection Johnny Lattner played only a single NFL season.

Franco Harris caught the "Immaculate Reception in the 1972 NFL Playoffs.

Lynn Swann (right), drafted in 1974, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Rod Woodson, drafted in 1987, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Alan Faneca (center) was a 5-time All-Pro for the Steelers after being drafted in 1998.

Plaxico Burress caught the game winning TD of Super Bowl XLII for the New York Giants.

Kendall Simmons (#73, right) was the team's Rookie of the Year in 2002.

Troy Polamalu has made the Pro Bowl every year since 2004.

Drafted in 2004, Ben Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl in 2005 at the age of 23.

Heath Miller (#83, center) was the team's Rookie of the Year in 2005.

Santonio Holmes was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.

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Source : Wikipedia