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Mike Tomlin, Steelers make Super Bowl history

Tomlin is the youngest winning coach, and Pittsburgh is first franchise to win six Super Bowl titles.

February 02, 2009|Sam Farmer and Bill Plaschke

TAMPA, FLA. — There were a dozen records set in the game, including most Super Bowl victories by a franchise (Pittsburgh with six) and two by Mike Tomlin, who was the youngest coach (36) in a Super Bowl and, obviously, the youngest coach to win one.

Arizona's Kurt Warner notched his record third 300-yard passing game in a Super Bowl, and Steelers linebacker James Harrison, with his 100-yard runback, set marks for the championship game's longest play and longest interception return.

The Steelers and Cardinals combined for the fewest first downs rushing with six -- Arizona had two -- and fewest yards rushing with a total of 91.

Larry legend

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald set single-postseason records with 30 receptions, 546 yards and seven touchdowns.

Warner had 1,147 yards passing in the four playoff games, with 11 touchdown passes. His yardage total set an NFL record for a postseason, and the touchdown-pass total tied the mark set by San Francisco's Joe Montana in 1989.

Feeling the pain

Steelers receiver Hines Ward, the most valuable player of Super Bowl XL, was playing with a sprained knee ligament this time around and said the pain was excruciating.

"Oh, man, I can't even describe the pain," he said. "Hats off to our medical staff. I told them, 'I'm not missing this one for the world. You tell me what to do and I'll do it triple times.'

"It was painful going through it, but I never made excuses on injuries. . . . After I caught the first pass I thought, 'Oh, OK, I think I'm all right . . .' Then, over time, it gave out."

Tossed aside

For the first time in Super Bowl history, the team that won the coin toss was given the option to take or defer the game's first possession.

The Cardinals won the toss and, despite their great offense, surprisingly opted to give the ball to the Steelers.

Pittsburgh promptly drove the ball 71 yards in nine plays and appeared to have scored a touchdown. That was reversed by a replay review, however, and the Steelers -- in what some considered the game's second head-scratcher -- decided to kick a field goal instead of trying to run it in on fourth and goal from the one.


The six-yard, game-winning touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds remaining marked only the third time in the Super Bowl's 43-year history that a team has scored the winning touchdown in the final minute.

A similar play occurred last year when Plaxico Burress caught a 13-yard pass from Eli Manning with 35 seconds remaining for the New York Giants against the New England Patriots.

The other time it happened was the 10-yard pass from Montana to John Taylor with 34 seconds left that gave the 49ers a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII.

Dozen regrets

You want parity? The loss by the Cardinals means that 12 different franchises have lost the last 12 Super Bowls.

Right on line

Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers' quarterback, has long had an affinity for his much-criticized offensive linemen, giving them gifts and hosting them for pool parties.

After his line held up long enough for him to lead the Steelers to the championship, he praised them again, shouting to them from the midfield stage during the postgame trophy presentation.

"Offensive line, whose laughing now o-line?" he shouted. "Let me take this [Lombardi Trophy] down to them."

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