Instant classic! In a game that is at the pinnacle of its sport, Super Bowl XLIII did not disappoint, featuring both jubiliation and the gut-wrenching pain of defeat. For a game that was quite dull for the first three quarters with the Steelers holding a commanding 20-7 lead, the fourth quarter captured the attention of America.
The Arizona Cardinals roared back to take a 23-20 lead with 2:58 to go in the game. Yes, the Arizona Cardinals were that close to winning their first ever Super Bowl. With 11:30 to go, the Cards finally put it together. Kurt Warner shook the ice off his arm, and Larry Fitzgerald put on his running shoes for this dramatic finish.
On first down, Warner hit Steve Breaston for a 13 yard gain to the Cards 26 yard line. On the next play, Warner connected with tight end Jeremy Urban for 18 yards to move the ball to the 44 yard line. Later, Warner hit running back J.J. Arington for 22 yards, and the back scooted to the Pittsbrugh 28 yard line. Warner then connected with Fitzgerald who dashed to the Steelers 10, setting up first and goal. The Cards punched it in with Fitzgerald's leaping catch to make it 20-14.
When Pittsburgh got the ball back, the momentum was all gone. Pittsburgh was pinned to their own one yard line with 3:26 to go. The Steelers had to get the ball out of their own end zone, and they failed to do it. On second and 10 at the one, Willie Parker was almost tackled for a safety but just got the ball out of the end zone. Finally, Ben Roethlisberger hit a wide open Santonio Holmes, who made a juggling catch for a first down at the 20. However, the Steelers were called for a hold in the end zone, giving the Cardinals a two-point safety. 20-16 Steelers.
Finally, the Cards took it right to the Steelers. On second down for the Arizona 36, Warner hit a wide open Fitzgerald down the middle of the field. Fitzgerald sprinted right through the Steel Curtain for a 64 yard dash for the touchdown. Cardinals 23-20.
Could the Cardinals actually win the Super Bowl? Unfortunately, the Cards could not exorcise the demons of their past in the final 2:48. A Steeler offense that was dormant from early in the second quarter finally woke up. Roethlisberger hit Holmes for 13 to Pittsburgh 39. On the next play, Roethlishberger hit Nate Washington for 11 more to mid-field. With the clock ticking down, Roethlisberger found Holmes streaking down the sideline for a 40 yard gain to the Cardinals five yard line.
Two plays later, Roethlisberger hit Holmes at the edge of the end zone for the touchdown! Holmes kept his two feet in bounds, solidifying the lead and the game.
The Cards got one more shot, but Warner was strip-sacked, and the Steelers recovered the fumble at mid-field with five seconds left to play.
The win is the sixth title for the Steelers in their brilliant history. Holmes was named the MVP for his night of nine catches for 131 yards and a TD. As for the Cards, they played extremely hard. They did everything in their power to win the game, and even out-played Pittsburgh for a good portion of Sunday's contest; however, the game is never over until the fat lady sings, and she was waving a Steelers Terrible Towel.