The Steelers emerged victorious in the game, 27-23, thanks to a last-minute touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Santonio Holmes, which occurred just two minutes after the Cardinals took a 23-20 lead on a 64-yard TD pass from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald.
Super Bowl XLIII took place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on February 1, 2009. It was a homecoming of sorts for Holmes, who was born in Belle Glade, approximately three-and-a-half hours southeast of Tampa.
Liam McHugh Interviews Santonio Holmes
Most notable about last night’s rebroadcast is that it featured several different interviews with Holmes, who was named MVP of Super Bowl XLIII after catching nine passes for 131 yards, including four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown on the Steelers’ game-winning drive.
The new interviews were conducted remotely by NBC’s Liam McHugh, who first asked Holmes whether the team had difficulty refocusing after the euphoria surrounding the last play of the first half, that being James Harrison’s legendary pick six, which has since been named one of the Top 10 plays in Super Bowl history.
“It was just as calm as any other locker room because we had such a group of veterans, who understood that this situation right now was only the first half,” Holmes said. The attitude was: “We gotta go into this next half 0-0 and we gotta fight for another two quarters to finish this game off.”
In the locker room, Holmes was also thinking about how he hoped to play a bigger role in the second half of the game.
‘You have to make one play that will help the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl’
“What I remember the most was that my childhood dream had come true and I [was getting] an opportunity to play for the Super Bowl…. So in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘What are you going to do now…? You have to make a play here. You have to make one play that will help the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl,’” Holmes said.
As it happens, Holmes did make the play that allowed the Steelers to win the Super Bowl, and he had tears in his eyes when he recalled his celebration after the game.
“That was everything I had asked for,” Holmes added. “And at that moment when you saw me do this and lift up my arms to the sky, that was my moment of embracing my gift from God—that this was where He wanted me to shine back in the state of Florida, where I was born and where I was raised.”
Then McHugh reminded Holmes how he had to watch Fitzgerald’s go-ahead run-and-catch before he had the chance to make a potential game-winning catch of his own.
“You’re about to make me cry again,” Holmes said. “I was standing on the sideline like, ‘No! No! No! No! No! No!’”
But with the Steelers suddenly behind for the first time in the game, Holmes looked up at the scoreboard and said to himself, “Tone, all you need is one play. That’s it.”
Ultimately, Holmes did get the chance to make the touchdown catch of his life … only for the ball to go through his hands in the left corner of the end zone.
“Disappointment,” Holmes said, thinking about that moment. “He’s not going to throw me the ball again,” he added, assuming intent on the part of Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger.
But Roethlisberger did throw Holmes the ball again—on the next play, in the other corner of the end zone, surrounded by three defenders—and this time he caught the ball and got both feet down inbounds as the Cardinals’ defensive backs looked on in disbelief.
And the rest is history.
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