The Pittsburgh Steelers have broken their 26-year National Football League title drought with a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks at Super Bowl 40 in Detroit. Pittsburgh Coach Bill Cowher's first Super Bowl victory was a record-tying fifth for the Steelers.
Cowher - the longest-tenured coach in the NFL, with 14 seasons leading the Steelers - lost his only previous Super Bowl appearance to Dallas, 10 years ago. Pittsburgh now joins Dallas and San Francisco as the only five-time Super Bowl champions.
A capacity crowd of 68,206 fans, dominated by Pittsburgh supporters, watched a surprisingly low-scoring first half, Sunday.
After having a touchdown called back because of a pass interference penalty on wide receiver Darrell Jackson, Seattle settled for a 3-0 lead when Josh Brown kicked a 47-yard field goal, with 22 seconds left in the first quarter.
Plagued by penalties and turnovers, Pittsburgh finally got on the scoreboard, with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Following a 37-yard pass completion to Hines Ward at the Seattle three yard line, Ben Roethlisberger gave Pittsburgh the 7-3 halftime lead when he scored on a quarterback sneak.
"Our defense just, they stepped up when they had to, they really did," Cowher said. " I thought the biggest thing was the first half. I don't know if we got a first down until the second quarter because we could not get anything going offensively. So, when we come out of the first half to be up 7-3, that was a good thing."
One play after Pittsburgh received the second-half kickoff, running back Willie Parker broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Steelers up,14-3.
But the Seahawks battled back, as Kelly Herndon intercepted Roethlisberger near Seattle's goal line and ran it all the way back to Pittsburgh's 20. That set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Seahawk quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to tight-end Jerramy Stevens, to close the gap to 14-10.
Seattle's drive to take the lead ended early in the fourth quarter, when Ike Taylor picked off a Hasselbeck pass. After the game, Hasselbeck said mistakes killed the Seahawks.
"You cannot make the mistakes we made and expect to win the game against a good team like this," he said. "You know, I think the Steelers played well enough to win tonight and we did not, and so they should get the credit. It is disappointing, it is hard, but you know, what are you going to do?"
On their next possession, Pittsburgh turned a gimmick play into a touchdown, as wide receiver Antwaan Randle El took a hand off from Ben Roethlisberg and threw to Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Hines Ward for a touchdown, making the final 21-10.