After knocking off the two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the divisional playoffs, the Denver Broncos had a chance to hoist the Lamar Hunt Trophy on their home field.
But the Pittsburgh Steelers, the AFC’s sixth seed, had other ideas. The Steelers raced out to a 24-3 halftime lead in the AFC Championship Game and cruised to a 34-17 win — becoming the first sixth seed to reach the Super Bowl.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for two touchdowns and Pittsburgh’s defense forced four turnovers. Two weeks later head coach Bill Cowher captured his first Super Bowl (the Steelers’ fifth) in a win over the Seahawks in Detroit.