Even with all the success of six Super Bowl trophies, there have been more than a few rough times for Steelers fans during the big game. All that winning does not preclude Steelers fans from having some miserable Super Bowl experiences. Here is the top five worst Super Bowls to watch for fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers:
5. Super Bowl XXXV Ravens 34 – Giants 7
At this point the Baltimore Ravens had become the Steelers chief division rival. Pittsburgh fans had to sit through a complete domination by Baltimore on the way to their first Super Bowl title. Even after the Giants scored their first touchdown on a 97 yard kickoff return, Steelers fans couldn’t enjoy it for long. Jermaine Lewis returned the ensuing kick-off back for his own 84 yard touchdown, and the rout was on. This is not a Super Bowl Steelers fans will remember fondly.
4. Super Bowl XLIX Patriots 28 – Seahawks 24
This Super Bowl provided one single play that shocked Steelers fans more than any other. With only seconds left, the Seahawks had the ball on the one yard line down by four. They seemed well on the way to a second straight Super Bowl title. All they had to do was hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch, and the game would be over. Inexplicably, the Seahawks decided to pass the ball into a congested end zone. The rest is history, as Wilson threw perhaps the most famous interception of all time preserving another championship for New England.
3. Super Bowl LI Patriots 34 – Falcons 28
Unlike the Super Bowl versus the Seahawks, the Steelers fans suffering didn’t end with one sharp blow. Instead, Steelers faithful had to endure a long drawn out period of agony. We all know the story by now. The Falcons were up 28 points at halftime, but would eventually lose in overtime. At certain points in the second half just one first down for the Falcons may have been enough to seal the game. It never came however, and Steelers fans had to endure yet another Patriots Super Bowl victory. When it comes to games the Steelers weren’t involved in, this has to be one of the worst Super Bowls to watch for Steelers fans hands down.
2. Super Bowl XXX Cowboys 27 Steelers 17
For those of us old enough to remember, this game was particularly devastating. The Steelers had not been back to the Super Bowl for sixteen years at this point. Their opponent was the hated Dallas Cowboys who were in the midst of their own dynasty. Dallas had already won two out of the last three Super Bowls, and were looking to add a third title against the Steelers. Head coach Bill Cower pulled out all the stops including a surprise on-sides kick to take down the Cowboys. It was all for not however as Neil O’Donnell threw his second interception of the game to seal Pittsburgh’s fate.
1. Super Bowl XLV Packers 31 Steelers 25
This Super Bowl was supposed to be a coronation of sorts. It would have been Ben Roehtlisberger’s third, Mike Tomlin’s second, and the franchise’s seventh Super Bowl title. Someone must have forgotten to inform the Green Bay Packers of this.
The Packers would jump out to a 21-3 by the second quarter, helped in part by a Roethlisberger pick-six. The Steelers would battle back to 21-17, and had the ball inside Packers territory as the fourth quarter began. The fumble that no Steeler fan will ever forget happened next however. Running back Rashard Mendenhall gave up the ball on the Packers 38 yard line, and the Packers took that advantage of that turnover with a touchdown of their own. Pittsburgh did have one last opportunity to win the game late in the game. They had the ball with two minutes left down by only six points. Unfortunately the drive stalled, and the Packers would go on to win their fourth championship.
Of all the top five worst Super Bowls for Steelers fans to watch, this one has to top all others. There was so much history on the line for this franchise. A seventh title would have further distanced the Steelers from other teams as kings of the Super Bowl era. Another win would have put head coach Mike Tomlin in elite company with multiple wins in the big game. (See where Tomlin ranks in our Top Ten all-time head coaches list here: Top Ten Head Coaches in the NFL) And finally, a third Super Bowl would ensure quarterback Ben Roehtlisberger a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Eleven years later the team is still chasing these milestones without having returned to the Super Bowl. Time is running out for the Tomlin/Roethlisberger era to reach this goal, Steelers fans are hoping they have one last Super Bowl run in them.