Saturday, April 25, 2009


*Originally Posted April 21, 2008*

Sports have always been an integral part of life and many moments have not only touched me as a sports fan but has greatly affected me as a human being. While researching this list, I came across many moments, and it was difficult to pin it down to just a top ten. I have attempted to touch a wide variety of sports, not only the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates, but also Penn State and Pitt. Some honorable mentions that did not make the cut, the Steelers dominating win over the Broncos in the 2005 AFC Championship Game, the Steelers defeating the Jets in overtime in the 2004 playoffs, Mario Lemieux’s comeback game against the Maple Leafs in 2001, Penn State’s thrilling overtime win in the 2006 Orange Bowl, and Pitt’s win against Wisconsin in Milwaukee getting them to the Sweet 16. So without further ado...

10. March 15, 2003: Pittsburgh 74 Connecticut 56

Big East Championship Game

This was probably the best Pitt basketball team of this fairly successful era and without Dwayne Wade would have probably made a final four. Brandin Knight, Pitt’s catalyst, was much better than Levance Fields is now and far superior to Carl Krauser. After this game, which was fairly close until the end, the game was not indicative of the score, many losers jumped on the Pitt bandwagon and would always pick them the go to the final four. This was probably the last game that Pitt basketball was reserved for true fans instead of fair weather losers.

Forgotten Name - Donatas Zavackas

9. 2001: Penguins 4 Capitals 3 OT

Stanley Cup Playoffs, Game 6 Quarterfinal Clincher

I think I watched every Penguins game in 2001, it was and still is the closest I have ever followed the Pens. People considered this to be a great rivalry, but the Pens always have dominated the loser Caps. It seemed like especially this year I just hated Olaf Kolzig and Peter Bondra to no end. Jeff Halpern’s overtime goal in game four really pissed me off, and this clincher was quite gratifying. The goal in overtime by Straka was so pure. He does not get the credit he deserves.

Forgotten Name - Rene Corbet

8. November 8, 2003: Pittsburgh 31 Virginia Tech 28

Regular Season

This was just a regular season game but has special meaning to me because it was probably the height of Pitt football in the past thirty years, and I happened to be in the stands at Heinz Field. This game had many great athletes. Kevin Jones had an 80 yard touchdown run, Michael’s brother, Marcus Vick, was VT’s backup QB, and Larry Fitzgerald was by far the best college wide receiver I have ever seen. On a quick side note a Pitt fan pushed a Virginia Tech tuba player after the game, it was pretty funny.

Forgotten Name - Lousaka Polite, scored the game-winning touchdown

7. January 5, 2003: Steelers 36 Browns 33

AFC Wild Card

A lot of people picked this Steeler team to go to the Super Bowl. In 2001, which I consider to be the best Steeler team of my lifetime, better than the 15-1 team and the Super Bowl team, went 13-3 with Kordell Stewart at the helm. Tommy Maddox replaced Slash at the start of ‘02 after a disappointing start and the Steelers ended up 10-5-1 and forced to play wild card weekend. The Browns, people forget that this pathetic franchise actually made the playoffs once since Belichick was their coach, were up 24-7 early in the fourth quarter and then Guns brought the Steelers back. This game was followed by the “ludicrous” Joe Nedney play/penalty the following week against the Titans.

Forgotten Names - Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala (game-winning TD) and Jerame Tuman (caught 2-point conversion to go up by 3)
6. October 8, 2005: Penn State 17 Ohio State 10

Regular Season

This was an all day event. College Gameday in the morning, waiting in line for hours, the actual game, and the party afterwards. Granted it was pretty lame to rush the field after a regular season game; this, along with the Orange Bowl victory, was the height of Penn StatePenn State. This Ohio State team was very good; they went on to totally dominate Brady Quinn and a good Notre Dame team at the Fiesta Bowl in January, but no team in the country would have won in Happy Valley that night. On a side note, it was like Sidney Crosby’s 2nd or 3rd game as a Pen this same night and Dave was getting updates from Dan throughout the whole game, and Santanio Holmes played in this game. football during my time here at

Forgotten Name - Calvin Lowry (had game-changing int)

5. January 14, 1996: Steelers 20 Colts 16

AFC Championship

The loss the previous year to the Chargers was so devastating and going into this game with the Colts it was clear that the Steelers were the better team. Little Harbaugh kept hanging around until the Colts took the lead late in the fourth quarter. The rest will go down in Steelers history. The Willie Williams tackle, the Ernie Mills catch, and the near completion on the Harbaugh hail-mary. Year after year of very solid teams, Bill Cowher would finally make the Super Bowl. He would have to wait another decade to get back there. At the age of ten, this was by far my best sports moment.

Forgotten Name - Andre Hastings

4. May 10, 2001: Penguins 3 Sabres 2

Game 7 Conference Semi-Finals

The culmination of a great year. The return of Lemieux, the sick line of Kovalev, Straka, and Lang, the addition of Johan Hedberg, etc. Game 6 had Super Mario scoring at the end of regulation with the memorable Eddie O saying “whoooooo,” and Straka scored on overtime. The Pens hit post after post in overtime and I was afraid that they were going to lose. Kasper came through. Side note - I dove like Darius did after he scored and I got a big brush burn on my knee.

Forgotten Name - Bob Boughner

3. July 12, 1997: Pirates 3 Astros 0

Regular Season

This was the most powerful moment I have witnessed live as a sports fan. This was also the height of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the last fifteen years, since the loss of Barry Bonds. I do not think I have ever watched a no-hitter on TV, and I got to see one in person. People do not realize that this game was a sell-out crowd because it was some Jackie Robinson statue give away thing. I vividly remember the roar when Francisco Cordova came to the plate in the ninth and especially when Mark Smith hit the game-winning home run in the tenth. This game tells me that if the Pirates were ever good again they would definitely have an extremely large following. They would certainly not pass the Steelers in popularity, but would absolutely came close an even pass the Penguins.

Forgotten Name - Rich Loiselle - I threw a pitch to him at a fantasy camp

2. January 15, 2006: Steelers 21 Colts 18

AFC Divisional Round

This was the most emotional game I have ever witnessed. I kind of knew that the Colts were a bunch of pussies, but I did not expect the Steelers to come out so strong. People say that the Godfather movies have memorable scenes, but think about this game, especially the fourth quarter: The Polomlau “int,” the Joey Porter sack, the Bettis fumble, the “Tackle,” and the Vanderjagt miss. I cannot remember a game that I went from such a high, to such a low, back to such a high. It was like high stakes poker. By far the best and most exciting game I have ever seen.

Forgotten Name - Danielle Harper - if she hadn’t stabbed Nick, would Big Ben have caught him?

1. February 5, 2006: Steelers 21 Seahawks 10

Super Bowl XL

The game was very surreal. Four hours of pre-game and a rally at Canyon post-game. I do not remember specific plays like other playoff games. Truthfully, it was not the best played game in the world. With all that being said, the height of sport, the height of Pittsburgh, and the height of a great sports year. This game was the pinnacle of many Steelers, most Steelers on this team. Big Ben and Willie were on the rise and players like Alan Faneca, James Farrior, Joey Porter, and Clark Haggans would never be the same. A lot of people thought of Bettis after this game for obvious reasons. I viewed this game as the culmination of the Bill Cowher era. I thought of former Steelers who were not on this team, but deserved a Super Bowl. Jason Gildon, Kordell Stewart, Yancey Thigpen, Mark Bruner, Justin Strelzyk, Dermonti Dawson, Myron Bell, etc. “It was a special moment.” - Bill Cowher.

Forgotten Name - Kimo von Oelhoffen “bull’s-eye on the ACL”

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