You will check out it referenced 1,000 times in the continuing to be days prior to Super key XLV. The details space inmmsanotherstage2019.comgnificant. The highs and lows issue not. The players have actually long mmsanotherstage2019.comnce relocated on.

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Yet the is, indeed, there. Hanging. Lingering. Existing.

When commentators speak the the Pittsburgh Steelers' long and also storied history, castle inevitably evoke the franchise's 6-1 document in super Bowls. I m sorry means, for every the glorious high of Bradshaw and also Lambert, Roethlisberger and also Farrior, over there will always be a mmsanotherstage2019.comngular pothole marring Perfection Lane; a day that deserve to never be erased or expunged.

The one.

On Jan. 28, 1996, the Pittsburgh Steelers and also Dallas Cowboys met in Arizona for Super key XXX. As opposed to the current NFL landscape, the Steelers were far from a soccer juggernaut. Your last appearance in the huge game come 16 years earlier, and also though they had actually recently won their second consecutive AFC main title, few so-called specialists thought coach invoice Cowher's team could complement up through America's Team. In fact, nary a mmsanotherstage2019.comngle big-name newspaper columnist choose Pittsburgh to win.


"You got tired of listening how good Dallas was," Levon Kirkland, the Steelers' standout linebacker, said me. "Everyone thought Dallas would run united state over."

This to be hardly without reason. Make their 3rd Super key appearance in 4 years, the 12-4 Cowboys to be cocky, effective -- and also loaded. Your quarterback, trojan Aikman, to be the NFL's best, as was halfback Emmitt Smith, cornerback Deion Sanders and, arguably, vast receiver Michael Irvin. The Dallas offenmmsanotherstage2019.comve line to be impenetrable, and the defense -- featuring Sanders, security Darren Woodson and defenmmsanotherstage2019.comve end Charles Haley -- was fast and also intimidating. The Cowboys had twice demolished the bills in recent Super Bowls, and also most professionals agreed Pittsburgh wasn't practically as an excellent as Buffalo. Which, talent-wise, to be inarguable. The Steelers weren't as good. Not even close.


What prognosticators missed, specifically when they installed the Steelers as 13½-point underdogs, was that the Cowboys to be complacent and, come a specific degree, lazy. Your coach, the affable-yet-overmatched Barry Switzer, cure the week's lead up as a vacation, and also he and his football player spent lengthy nights on the town, the team exercised with staggering indifference and also assumed your talent would naturally rule the moment. A pair of days before the game, the Cowboys' famous cheerleaders announced that they were working on a video, 1996 Dallas Cowboy Super key Shuffle, and also nobody within the organization readily available a mmsanotherstage2019.comngle, "Maybe we should wait until, ahem, after ~ this thing ends."

Though Cowher didn't traction a Forrest Gregg (the Bengals coach retained his males on one 11 p.m. Curfew in the leadup to Super bowl XVI in Pontiac, Mich., then watched together they play stiffly in a loss to the 49ers), that made certain his players weren't out till all hours. He also repeated a powerful mantra: Dallas doesn't respect you. Nobody respects you. Go the end there and shock the world.

They almost did.

As expected, the Cowboys jumped the end to a 13-0 lead, however Cowher -- at the time 38 -- kept up the intenmmsanotherstage2019.comty. That implored his defenmmsanotherstage2019.comve linemen come relentlessly struggle Aikman. He pointed come the Dallas mmsanotherstage2019.comdeline and inmmsanotherstage2019.comsted the Steelers to be being belittled and also dismissed. So late in the 2nd quarterback, Pittsburgh confronted a third-and-20 from its very own 36. Quarterback Neil O'Donnell struggle Andre Hastings because that 19 yards, and on fourth-and-one kordell Stewart, at the time a multi-pommsanotherstage2019.comtional rookie phenom, ran for three yards. Nine plays later, O'Donnell discovered Yancey Thigpen in the end zone, and the Steelers trailed 13-7 at the half.


In the Dallas locker room, Switzer do the efforts his ideal to rally his team. The Cowboys gotten in the game casually, and played up to the part. In the Pittsburgh locker room, Cowher walk off. A man known for fiery pep talks might have given the finest of his life. "Those sons of bitches assumed you to be nothing!" he screamed. "They believed they were going come run almost everywhere you! They assumed you to be a joke. Well, they're not laughing anymore! we took their best shots! now it's ours turn! Let's walk take what's ours ..."

As the Steelers stormed with the tunnel, a sea of swirling destructive Towels greeted their arrival. In four previous at sight Bowls, the Steelers had never to be a real underdog. Now, however, Pittsburgh was -- and also the players fed turn off the status. The Cowboys to be pretty, the Steelers were nasty. The Cowboys were prima donnas, the Steelers were rugged. "Those males didn't absence for confidence," stated Kendall Gammon, the Steelers' lengthy snapper. "But no did we. We were too good to lie down and get our butts kicked."

Pittsburgh regulated much the the second half. When running ago Bam Morris barreled one yard right into the end zone in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys' lead was 20-17. Inert belonged to Pittsburgh.


With one problem. When the Steelers played v swagger and confidence, O'Donnell didn't. In his fifth year the end of Maryland, the quarterback to be a solid, middle-of-the-road NFL veteran. His arm was sound, his accuracy above average, his leadership skills, well, not great. Though no Bradshaw or Roethlisberger, O'Donnell was also a mmsanotherstage2019.comgnificant update from, say, mark Malone and also Bubby Brister. "Was Neil a great quarterback?" Hastings said. "Well, he to be pretty OK, ns guess. But I would never ever say he to be a room of call or pro Bowl kind of guy. The did his job."

O'Donnell had made his very first costly mistake in the third quarter, when he to let go receiver Ernie Mills and threw a pass right into the chest of Dallas' Larry Brown. The blunder, however, was long forgotten when, through 4:15 remaining, the Steelers obtained the sphere on their very own 32, momentum clearly on their mmsanotherstage2019.comde. On very first down, O'Donnell threw a perfect pass to Hastings, who dropped the ball. On 2nd down, O'Donnell dropped back, expecting Hastings come slant across the ar in former of the Cowboys' linebackers. Yet as soon as the recipient botched the route, O'Donnell failed to adjust. That threw to a point out occupied, once again, through the fortuitous Brown, who captured the floater and also returned it 33 yards.


Shortly thereafter, blacksmith ran because that a touchdown.

Cowboys 27, Steelers 17.

Game over.

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"We gave away the supervisor Bowl," Erric Pegram, a Pittsburgh halfback, claimed afterward. "We offered the darn point away."

Fifteen year later, the pain of the loss has actually faded. Many of the former Steelers have moved on through life. Hobbies. Jobs. Family. It was a day, a near-glorious work long-ago hidden by the gridiron success of a marvelous franchise.