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Steelers crowned NFL champions

SANTONIO Holmes made a brilliant 6-yard catch deep in the right corner of the end zone with 35 seconds remaining on Sunday to lift the Pittsburgh Steelers to a record sixth Super Bowl win, 27-23 over the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa, Florida.

The Steelers led 20-7 in the fourth quarter, only to see Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner effect a remarkable rally to put Arizona ahead 23-20 with less than three minutes remaining.

Warner hit All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald in stride for a 64-yard touchdown with 2:37 left. Fitzgerald sped down the middle of the field, watching himself outrun the Steelers on the huge video screen.

But Fitzgerald could only watch from the sideline as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger engineered a 78-yard drive to win the NFL title in what resembled another home field for Pittsburgh. With Steelers fans who made the trip to Florida twirling gold towels in support of their beloved team, Pittsburgh's offense rescued the title.

It was one of the most thrilling finishes to the NFL's title game, certainly equaling last year's upset win by the New York Giants that ended with Plaxico Burress' TD catch in the last minute.

"Great players step up in big-time games to make plays," Holmes said. "I kind of lost a little composure, you know, but I knew our defense would give us a chance to make it back."

The stunning swings in the game overshadowed James Harrison's record 100-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Steelers, who won their second Super Bowl in four seasons, to end the first half. That looked like the signature play until the final quarter, when both teams shook off apparent knockout punches to produce major plays of their own.

Roethlisberger and Holmes struck the last blow.

Warner fumbled in the final seconds to end the Cardinals' dream of winning their first NFL crown since 1947.

"I said it's now or never, I told the guys all the film study you put in doesn't matter unless you do it now," Roethlisberger said.

The Cardinals lost their composure after Harrison's big play. They had three penalties to keep Pittsburgh's 79-yard drive going, a 16-play march that ended with Jeff Reed's 21-yard field goal for a 20-7 lead.

Fitzgerald, who already had set a postseason record for yards receiving, capped an 87-yard, fourth-quarter drive with a leaping 1-yard catch over Ike Taylor. He made four receptions on that series.

Then he struck swiftly for the 64-yarder that put Arizona within minutes of victory, only to be thwarted by the Steelers' resilience.


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