Pittsburgh Steeler defensive back Tim McKyer collapsed after the game, overwrought with anguish after giving up the winning touchdown pass to Tony Martin in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard scoring play from San Diego Charger quarterback Stan Humphries.
But McKyer's coach, Bill Cowher, wasn't about to let his defensive back take the brunt of the blame.
"I think it's very unfair of him to do that to himself," Cowher said, "because there's no one play that wins or loses football games. . . . As I told Timmy, 'We wouldn't be sitting here today if he hadn't made that interception last week (against the Cleveland Browns).' . . . I think it's so unfair to point to one individual."
Added fellow defensive back Rod Woodson: "Timmy just had a bad read. Timmy lost his guy and Stan just threw the ball a mile in the air. That is \o7 only \f7 six points. Timmy is a part of this team and we need him to come back next year and play. You can't blame this on Timmy. This is a game. This is a team game."
By completing 32 passes on 54 attempts, Pittsburgh quarterback Neil O'Donnell broke two NFL championship game marks.
The NFL record for attempts was 50 by Jay Schroeder of the Washington Redskins in 1986 and the record for completions was 27 by the Philadelphia Eagles' Tommy Thompson (1947) and the San Francisco 49ers' Joe Montana (1983) and Steve Young (1993).
The only NFL cities that have not sent teams to a Super Bowl are Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix, Seattle and Tampa.
Oh, and St. Louis.
O'Donnell's fourth-down pass to Barry Foster fell just short, costing Pittsburgh a trip to the Super Bowl.
"Barry told me it was about an inch," O'Donnell said. "That guy 57 (Dennis Gibson) got his finger on it. One more inch and we would have had it."
O'Donnell threw for 349 yards.
"You could throw for 550 yards and it doesn't matter unless you win," he said. "It was a wild game it's going to be a tough one to get over."