Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Tiptoe to a Title-Winning Touchdown

With 41 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIII, the Pittsburgh Steelers trailed the Arizona Cardinals, 23-20. Only a couple of minutes earlier, Arizona's fleet-footed wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had snagged a pass across the middle and raced 64 yards untouched down the center of the field for the go-ahead score. But now the Steelers had the football, second down and goal from Arizona's six-yard line. In the mythical "book" that all football players and coaches purportedly share, the following words are written about this situation: Do not throw the ball to a receiver covered by three defenders. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger completely ignored these directions and zipped a pass toward Santonio Holmes, who was surrounded by three Cardinals in the back corner of the end zone. The ball sailed over the heads of all three low-flying redbirds; Holmes leaped high in the air, caught it and barely dragged the tippy-toes of both feet down just inside the white line to stay inbounds. The spectacular catch gave Pittsburgh a record sixth Super Bowl. "When it touched my hands, oh, man," said Holmes, "it was just a special moment."