One of them is Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception, which earned Pittsburgh its first playoff victory in 1972. The other is Antonio Brown's Epic Play in 2018's wild-card round. Both games ended in wins for the Steelers.
The Immaculate Reception happened in 1972 when the Steelers were playing on December 30th against the Oakland Raiders. With under two minutes left and down by four points, Franco Harris took a handoff from Roethlisberger and ran it in for a touchdown to send the game into overtime. In overtime, Oakland got the ball first and scored a field goal to win the game. The next year, the NFL changed its rules so that if the scoring team advances the ball past the 25 yard line, then they get another chance at scoring after a 50 yard penalty.
In 1978, when the Steelers played on January 7th against the Minnesota Vikings, they lost by one point. Late in the fourth quarter with time running out, Terry Bradshaw threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Jack Lambert. The play proved to be critical as it gave the Steelers a second chance to score and they did so with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Bradshaw would go on to have a great season and was voted MVP.
Blackouts have never been required in the Pittsburgh region since the Steelers began their home sell-out run in 1972. The Immaculate Reception is still regarded as the finest moment in Steelers history by the team's organization. In 2012, NFL Network's "A Football Life" program covered the Immaculate Reception.
It happened on December 23, 1972, during an AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The game ended in a 3-3 tie after three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter began with the Raiders driving for a potential winning touchdown, but placekicker Al Del Greco came into the game for the Steelers and kicked a 41-yard field goal with 11:43 remaining in the game to send it into overtime. In overtime, the Steelers scored twice within 73 seconds to advance to their third consecutive conference title game. The first touchdown was scored by wide receiver Lynn Swann who caught a pass from quarterback Terry Bradshaw and ran 82 yards for a touchdown. Linebacker Jack Lambert then forced a fumble while sacking Raiders' quarterback Jeff Hostetler, and defensive back Mike Mitchell recovered the ball at the Raiders' 5-yard line. Two plays later, Bradshaw threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Swann again to finish off the scoring in regulation time.
This is one of only two games where the Steelers have scored three touchdowns in regulation (the other being against the Chicago Bears in 1978).
1997 Pittsburgh Steelers The 1997 AFC Championship game, in which the Broncos upset the Steelers 24-21 at Three Rivers Stadium en route to their first Super Bowl triumph, was perhaps the most memorable playoff meeting. In what many consider one of the greatest NFL games ever played, John Elway led four second-half touchdown drives as the Broncos outplayed the Steelers for three hours and forty-five minutes. Elway finished with three passing touchdowns and a rushing score while also catching an interception that he returned 38 yards for a touchdown. Troy Edwards had two interceptions for Denver while Keith Gillespie scored on a punt return touchdown for Pittsburgh.
Elway's performance that day has been called one of the greatest postseason efforts in football history. He passed for 331 yards and 3 TDs against the top-ranked defense in the league during his career finale. The win also came just two seasons after the team was able to beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs on wild card weekend. This rivalry has some of the best games each season and this matchup always produces high energy football games.
The Broncos have dominated this series over the past 15 years, winning 11 games to none in the period. They have won the last three meetings between these two teams, including last year's 34-19 victory at Heinz Field.
This is only the third time that these two teams have met in the playoffs.
2012 The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos played one of the most dramatic playoff games in NFL history nine years ago today, on Jan. 8, 2012. It also occurred to be one of the Steelers' worst moments in franchise history. The Broncos defeated the Steelers 28-20 at Peyton Manning's new home field, MetLife Stadium, now known as New Jersey's MetLife Stadium.
The winner of this game went on to face the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. The Broncos won that game too, claiming their first title ever.
It was a wild game full of twists and turns. Here are the details:
First quarter: Denver leads 7-0. Running back Willis McGahee gets a 1-yard touchdown run for the Broncos (7-3). Quarterback Peyton Manning connects with wide receiver Jacob Tamme for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The score is tied 7-7.
Second quarter: Denver goes up 14-7 after Manning finds Eric Decker in the end zone. The Steelers get on the board with a 21-yard field goal by Mike Vanderjagt.
Third quarter: Denver takes control again. Running back C.J. Anderson gets a 68-yard touchdown run for the Broncos. The only problem? It was called back due to a penalty.