Skip to main content

(EDITOR’S NOTE: To listen to the Ed Bouchette interview, click on the following link: Ep 109: Hall of Fame Voter Ed Bouchette Joins The Show | Spreaker)

What’s the greatest moment in Steelers’ history?

If you’re Hall-of-Fame voter Ed Bouchette, former Steelers’ beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Athletic, it might be one play in Super Bowl XLIII when the Steelers caught Arizona at the wire on a last-minute TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes.

That play remains one of the greatest in Super Bowl history a) because the pass was squeezed into the tightest of windows; b) because it was an extraordinary catch, with Holmes tapping both toes just inside the sideline; and c) because of the moment: It clinched a Super Bowl victory.

Yet it wasn’t the play Bouchette had in mind.

It was linebacker James Harrison’s 100-yard interception and return for a touchdown at the end of the first half, a prolonged run along the sidelines that then-defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau called “probably the greatest defensive play in a Super Bowl.”

Bouchette, who announced his retirement two weeks ago after a career that spanned nearly 50 years, didn’t disagree. But he took it one step farther.

“For the drama,” he said on the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast (, “the James Harrison play that ended the first half … I still think it’s the best play in Super Bowl history. I think it might be … I think it is … more important to (the Steelers) than the Immaculate Reception.”

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Wait. What?

“The Immaculate Reception won a playoff game,” Bouchette said. “This won a Super Bowl. If he doesn’t pull that off, I think the Cardinals win the Super Bowl. They’re going in for a touchdown (and) he turns it around. That’s a 14-point swing.”

He’s right about that. Arizona was set up first-and-goal at the Steelers’ 1-yard line with 18 second left. A score seemed imminent … and it was. For the defense. In the face of an all-out Pittsburg blitz, quarterback Kurt Warner tried to find Anquan Boldin with a short pass.

He found Harrison instead.

So what could’ve been a 14-10 Arizona halftime lead became a 17-7 Steelers’ advantage instead. Nevertheless, Arizona recovered with 16 fourth-quarter points to take a 23-20 lead with two-and-a-half minutes to play. That’s when Roethilisberger led the Steelers on a 78-yard, eight-play drive, punctuated by Holmes’ memorable catch with 35 seconds left.

Final score: Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23.

“They were going to get beaten by a Pitt graduate, Larry Fitzgerald,” said Bouchette, “because he scored a great touchdown (a 64-yarder with two-and-a-half minutes left) against a great defense. And then (the Steelers) had a holding penalty to start out, and they start at the 14

“So (Roethlisberger) competes virtually every pass until Santonio Holmes drops one in the end zone. And then he goes right back to him on the next play, and it’s history. That has to go down as the greatest game that I ever covered because of the importance and the drama and the fact that the team I was covering won.”