Pittsburgh Steelers: Power Ranking the Top 10 Performances in Super Bowl History
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history that's paralleled by by very few in the pantheon of NFL history: seven Super Bowl appearances and six rings, with their eighth Super Bowl coming in less than two weeks when they face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
In that time, there have been many great performances. Legends like Bradshaw, Harris, Swann and Stallworth come to mind. There was the Steel Curtain defense of the 1970s and the current adaptation today. There's Big Ben, Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis and James Harrison weaving his way downfield in Super Bowl XLIII.
So with those things in mind and the Steelers starting to prepare for Super Bowl XLV, here are the 10 best performances in Steelers Super Bowl history.
10. Lynn Swann, Super Bowl XIII
Seven catches, 154 yards, one touchdown
There are few other players who are more synonymous with the Super Bowl than Swann, a Hall of Famer who seemed to have his biggest games on the biggest stage. In Super Bowl XIII, Swann was a key part of the Steelers passing attack, hauling in a key touchdown that would eventually become the game-winning score. And that's not including the infamous controversial pass interference penalty he drew.
9. John Stallworth, Super Bowl XIII
Three catches, 115 yards, two touchdowns
Stallworth is another Hall-of-Famer whose name is forever linked with Super Bowl success. Along with Swann, Stallworth was a big target for Terry Bradshaw and his performance and ability to stretch the field as a deep threat were a big reason why Bradshaw was named the MVP of Super Bowl XIII.
8. Hines Ward, Super Bowl XL
Harry How/Getty Images
Five catches, 123 yards, one touchdown
Super Bowl XL wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing game, but it was the pinnacle of Ward's career. He had 100-plus receiving yards and one of the most recognizable touchdowns in Steelers history as he caught Antoine Randle El's end-around pass for the game-sealing score. Ward was named MVP of the game and cemented his legacy with Swann and Stallworth.
7. James Harrison, Super Bowl XLIII
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Four total tackles (three solo), one interception, one touchdown
So James Harrison's final stat line wasn't that impressive. Having the longest play from scrimmage in Super Bowl history will get him on this list. And even though his 100-yard interception return which was less like a highlight and more like an odyssey we used to watch on the old NFL Films highlight reels, it was still a major turning point in Super Bowl XLIII.
6. L.C. Greenwood, Super Bowl X
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Four sacks (unofficially)
Since sacks were not an officially tracked statistic at the time of Super Bowl X, L.C. Greenwood's accomplishment usually goes unnoticed. But his four sacks of Roger Staubach (which were not easy sacks) were a big reason why the Steelers were able to beat the Cowboys for their second Super Bowl victory.
5. Santonio Holmes, Super Bowl XLIII
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Nine catches, 131 yards, one touchdown
What is it about Steelers receivers and the Super Bowl? Holmes was yet another member of the black and gold who shined in the spotlight. He was Ben Roethlisberger's main target for most of the night before he made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history—his tip-toed, reaching grab in the corner of the end zone to secure the game-winning score and win the Steelers their sixth Super Bowl.
4. Franco Harris, Super Bowl IX
34 carries, 158 yards, one touchdown
Franco Harris will always be remembered for the Immaculate Reception, but perhaps some of you may have forgotten that he turned in a phenomenal performance in Super Bowl IX, a game that wasn't known for its offensive fireworks. Harris turned out to score the game-winning touchdown and be a key player in terms of ball control as the Steelers secured their first Super Bowl victory.
3. Lynn Swann, Super Bowl X
Four catches, 161 yards, one touchdown
Swann became the first wide receiver to win Super Bowl MVP with his performance in Super Bowl X, including hauling in the game-winning touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw. But Super Bowl X was also where Swann had his shining moment as a pro, the famous diving catch that's one of the more recognizable in NFL history.
2. Terry Bradshaw, Super Bowl XIII
17-of-30, 318 yards, four touchdowns, one interception
One of the better performances in Super Bowl history by a quarterback, Bradshaw led the Steelers to a victory in one of the better Super Bowls in history. He also became the first player to be named Super Bowl and NFL MVP in the same season. Of course, when two receivers have more than 100 yards, it makes it a lot easier.
1. Steelers Defense, Super Bowl IX
Six points, 119 total yards allowed
Still the gold standard for a defensive performance in a Super Bowl, the Steelers completely shut down the Vikings and quarterback Fran Tarkenton in the 16-6 win in Super Bowl IX. The 119 total yards is still a Super Bowl record for fewest yards allowed, as is the nine first downs allowed. And the 17 total rushing yards allowed is the second fewest single-game total in Super Bowl history.
In short, a dominant performance.