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NFL – Throwback Thursday: Santonio Holmes’ Shining Moment

05 Dec

This week’s Throwback Thursday feature will harken back to one of the most exciting Super Bowl games ever played. With the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, we’ll go back to February 1, 2009 when these two franchises met in the Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. The coaching matchup was between the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin and the Cards’ Ken Whisenhunt, who had been Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator. Like many other championship games, this contest started out as a feeling out process between teams relatively unfamiliar with each other, and the only scoring in the opening quarter was a short Jeff Reed field goal for the Steelers, who then expanded their lead to 10-0 early in the next stanza on a 1 yard run by Gary Russell. Arizona QB Kurt Warner kept his team close by leading a drive that cut the lead to 10-7 when he hit Ben Patrick from a yard out for a score. Warner, who had been a Cinderella story years earlier when he led the St. Louis Rams to an improbable championship, was in the process of driving his club to a go-ahead score when a game-changing play happened on the last play of the half. Steeler linebacker James Harrison intercepted a Warner pass at the goal line and returned it 100 yards to paydirt to give his team a 17-7 lead and serious momentum.

Reed kicked another field goal for the only scoring of the third quarter and at 20-7 it appeared that the Steelers were well on their way to their sixth Super Bowl victory. It didn’t turn out to be easy, however, as a couple of future Hall of Famers teamed up to make it a game. Warner finished another drive with a one yard TD toss to Larry Fitzgerald. Then, after the Steelers were called for holding in the end zone, resulting in a safety to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 20-16, Warner and Fitzgerald went to work once more. The Cardinal signal caller found his favorite target on a pass over the middle, and Fitzgerald split the Steeler secondary and raced to a spectacular 64 yard touchdown to put his team ahead 23-20. With only a little over 2 minutes left to play, the Steelers found themselves behind for the first time in the game, needing a final drive to at least tie the contest and send it into overtime. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had been basically a game manager in his team’s Super Bowl win in his rookie year, now had to be the main man to snatch victory back from the jaws of defeat. While Roethlisberger and his coaches plotted out a path to the end zone, another Steeler, wide receiver Santonio Holmes, was urging on his offensive teammates on the sideline and boldly stating that these were the moments when players truly proved their greatness. Roethlisberger did his job, marching the team downfield. Rather than go for the tie, Big Ben tossed a pass to the back corner of the end zone where Holmes extended his arms and did an amazing toe tap to stay in bounds, catching the winning touchdown throw of 6 yards to give Pittsburgh a 27-23 win. Holmes, who would struggle in his career with the Steelers and later the New York Jets and never match his feats achieved in this game, was named the game’s MVP. He had totaled 131 yards on 9 catches and scored the winning touchdown. It was another bittersweet loss for Warner, who had also lost as a Ram to New England on a late field goal years earlier. One of the highlights of this particular Super Bowl was the halftime show, put on by Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band. They performed “Working On A Dream” and “Glory Days”, which may have summed up the NFL career of one Santonio Holmes.

 

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Santonio Holmes (10) toe-taps the Steelers to a Super Bowl win

 

 

 

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