Note: Games that have a green light next to them are uploaded and ready to watch. If you don't see a green light, the game isn't uploaded yet (but wil be coming soon).
1998 Steelers 20 at Ravens 13
One of the butt-ugliest games I've ever seen, but a win's a win as Pittsburgh spoils the Ravens' debut in their new facility at Camden Yards. Kordell pulls his usual Jekyll/Hyde routine and the Bus is completely stuffed all day, but the Steeler defense does just enough to atone for Pittsburgh's inadequacies on offense. Baltimore statistically dominates the game, but a terrible performance by their long snapper results in 3 missed FGs and botched punt inside the Steeler 10, all due to bad snaps.
1998 Steelers 17 vs Bears 12
While Jerome Bettis is nearly unstoppable (21 carries, 131 yards, 1 TD), Kordell Stewart continues to struggle and the Bears do just enough to stay in the game. Thankfully, Carnell Lake intercepts Erik Kramer with 44 seconds left and Pittsburgh hangs on to win against the hapless Bears. After the game, Cowher says, "I don't think Kordell played particularly well." Now THAT is an understatement.
1998 Steelers 0 at Dolphins 21
A simply brutal game for Kordell Stewart, who goes an embarrassing 4 of 15 for 3 yds in the first half, including bad pick to set up a short Dolphins TD. Trailing 14-0 at the break, things go from bad to worse as the rains begin. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Stewart -- who finishes the day just 11 of 35 for 82 yds, 0 TDs, 3 INTs and 4 sacks -- throws a horrific pass right to LB Zack Thomas, who races untouched into the end zone for a pick 6 and a 21-0 Miami advantage. While Bettis carries only 13 times for 48 yards, his counterpart Karim Abdul-Jabbar carries a career-high 33 times for 108 yds and a score. A shout out to Jaegar Heathman for generously providing this game!
1998 Steelers 13 vs Seahawks 10
Linebacker Levon Kirkland forces a fumble and makes a crucial sack as the tenacious Steelers defense neutralizes Warren Moon and forces the previously unbeaten Seahawks into 4 devastating turnovers. Jerome Bettis is monstrous, bulldozing for 138 yards on 28 carries as the Steelers avoid turnovers and grind out nearly twice as many rushing yards as passing yards.
1998 Steelers 20 at Bengals 25
I throw up in my mouth when I think of this game. The Steelers have this game won. They HAVE it. And somehow... they find a way to lose. To flippin' turncoat Kneel O'Dollar, no less. The Steelers go ahead 20-18 on Norm Johnson's 40-yd FG with 1:56 left and a holding penalty on the kickoff leaves Cinci at its 7-yd line with no timeouts. Four plays later, the Bengals face a 4th-and-12 from their own 15... and that's when CB Dewayne Washington's nightmare begins. With a hard pass rush bearing down on him, O'Donnell heaves a desperation pass down the left sideline. Carl Pickens slips underneath the coverage, leaps up and snatches the ball away from Washington for a 50-yd gain to the Steeler 35. FIFTY YARDS ON 4TH FLIPPIN' DOWN???!!! Puke!!! A pair of Corey Dillon runs move the ball to the Steeler 25, and the Bengals rush to the line as if to clock the ball. But in a stunning Marino/Kosar moment, O'Donnell fakes the spike and lofts the ball toward the end zone. Pickens (13 catches, 204 yds) completes Washington's nightmare by outleaping him for the catch and walking right over top of him for the TD to win the game. What a debacle. Thanks to Jaeger Heathman for providing this game!
1998 Steelers 16 vs Ravens 6
Kordell Stewart throws a 55-yard pass to WIDE open Charles Johnson for the game's only TD and the Pittsburgh Steelers record a season-high 7 sacks and 3 interceptions en route to a 16-6 victory. Eric Zeier struggles at QB and is finally replaced by Jim Harbaugh, who goes 0 for 6 with 2 INTs and 2 sacks before being replaced again by Zeier. LOL. Lake & Perry each have an interception in the final quarter to seal the game.
1998 Steelers 31 vs Oilers 41
Eddie George takes 7 consecutive handoffs to start the game and runs the ball on 10 of the Oilers' first 13 plays to set up a 10-0 Tennessee lead. By halftime, George has 101 yds and ultimately finishes with 153 yds and a TD on 34 carries. Add in 3 Steve McNair TD passes and it makes for a pretty miserable afternoon for Pittsburgh, who trails 41-15 until Tomczak comes in to throw a pair of garbage time TDs and two 2-point conversions late in the game. Bettis has a season-low 26 yds on 11 carries, Stewart throws 3 INTs and the Oilers finish with a 5-minute advantage in time of possession.
1998 Steelers 27 vs Packers 20 MNF
Kordell Stewart (15 of 22, 231 yds, 1 TD, plus 37 yds and 1 TD rushing) ends his slump by orchestrating four first-half scoring drives, leading the Steelers to a huge 24-0 lead in a near perfect half of football. Bettis is a workhorse, carrying 34 times for 100 yds. Poised to take a brutal 34-3 fourth quarter lead at the Packer 5-yard line, a ridiculous trick play that puts Stewart at WR and Tomzcak at QB backfires when when Reggie White NAILS Tomczak, who's fumble is returned 88 yards for a Packers TD. Suddenly, the Packers explode for 17 unanswered points to turn a laugher into a thriller. In spite of Green Bay's last-minute heroics, the Steelers completely dominate this game. Includes some nice pregame and postgame material.
1998 Steelers 14 at Oilers 23
Played at Vanderbilt Stadium. Kordell Stewart plays well, hitting 22 of 28 for 239 yds, 2 TDs and 0 INTs, but the Steelers leave too many points on the field and it ultimately kills them. Lee Flowers intercepts Steve McNair on the first play of the game and the Steelers drive to the Oiler 15, only to have Kordell Stewart stuffed for no gain on 4th and inches. On Pittsburgh's next drive, they drive to the Oiler 16, but replacement kicker Matt George, subbing for an injured Norm Johnson, has his first-ever FG attempt blocked. Midway through the 4th quarter, the Steelers lead 14-13 and seemingly have a chance to put the game away after stopping Eddie George on 4th and 1 near midfield. But the drive stalls at the Oiler 25 with about 4 minutes left, and due to Matt George's earlier blocked FG, the Steelers again decide to go for it on 4th and 1. Unfortunately, the results are the same; the Oilers crash through the center of the line and nail Stewart before he can even complete the handoff. The Oilers drive to the winning field goal with 6 seconds left, and then fall on the football in the end zone after a failed lateral drill by the Steelers on the kickoff as time expires. Thanks to Jaeger Heathman for providing this game!
1998 Steelers 30 vs Jaguars 15
CB Dewayne Washington returns a pair of interceptions for scores, including a 72-yarder with 34 seconds left, to help Steelers defeat the division-leading Jaguars in a crucial game. Washington intercepts a Brunell pass in 1st quarter and returns it 52 yards to open the scoring, and the Steelers never look back. Kordell is again excellent, completing 25 of 36 passes for 208 yards and a TD (and no ints for the 3rd straight week). Features a crucial leaping one-handed catch by Charles Johnson. Features some postgame footage.
1998 Steelers 16 at Lions 19 OT
The infamous "Coin Toss" game. Barry Sanders is held to only 33 yards on 20 carries as Pittsburgh's defense dominates for 3 quarters before rookie QB Charlie Batch ignites the Lions' offense. A game that is poorly officiated start to finish takes an even more bizarre twist on the coin toss before overtime, when Jerome Bettis clearly calls tails as the coin is in the air, only to have referee Phil Luckett award the ball to the Lions after the coin lands tails. Luckett later claims Bettis originally called heads and changed his mind. Television replays tell a different story. In a season full of disappointment for the Steelers, they at least manage to score a major victory for the fans... the return of instant replay.
1998 Steelers 9 vs Patriots 23
A real setback loss for the Steelers, who fall to 7-6. Darren Perry gives up an 86-yd bomb from Bledsoe to Glenn in the final 2 minutes of the first half to give the Patriots a 13-6 lead and the Steelers never quite seem to recover. The Steelers are held to just 86 yds in the 2nd half and even though they drive inside the Patriots' 20 twice in the final five minutes, Pittsburgh turns it over on downs once and Stewart is intercepted on their final possession. As if representative of their crumbling season, a retaining wall in the corner of Three Rivers Stadium collapses late in the 4th quarter. Luckily, no one is hurt. In an incredibly ugly display by fans, Kordell Stewart is showered with beer as he walks off the field. A special thanks to Seth Campbell for providing this video.
1998 Steelers 3 at Bucs 16
Kordell Stewart's miserable performance in the rain (9 of 21, 88 yds, 0 TD, 3 INT) gets him benched in the 3rd quarter after his 1st interception. An upset Stewart can be seen lobbying Cowher on the sidelines to get back into the game, which he does after Tomczak fumbles on his first possession (leading to an easy Tampa TD) and throws an interception on his next possession. Stewart comes back in... and promptly throws 2 more INTS. Thanks to Matthew Simon for providing us with this game.
1998 Steelers 3 at Jaguars 21 MNF
An embarrassing end to a dismal season as the Steelers lose their 5th straight game, fittingly, in the midst of thick fog cover. Adding insult to injury, the loss comes in front of a national audience (MNF) at the hands of a rookie QB subbing for Mark Brunell. Despite a strong "on paper" performance by Jerome Bettis (15 carries for 104 yds in first half alone, finishing with 25 carries for 139 yds), three Kordell Stewart turnovers (2 INTs and a fumble) and a slew of dropped passes (including a Mark Bruener drop of a sure TD and drops by Charles Johnson, Hines Ward and David Dunn on a single drive) sink the Steelers. Thanks to Jaeger Heathman for providing this game!
1999 Steelers 43 at Browns 0
The return of the Browns (lol). First game ever at "The Factory of Sadness." Total yards: Steelers 460, Browns 40... First Downs: Steelers 32, Browns 2... Passing Yards: Steelers 247, Browns 31... Rushing Yards: Steelers 213, Browns 9... 3rd Down Efficiency: Steelers 70%, Browns 0%... Time of Possession: Steelers 47:49, Browns 12:11... Drew Carey: STFU.
1999 Steelers 21 at Bills 24
Kordell Stewart plays fairly well (21 of 29, 216 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT), but a critical 3rd quarter INT combined with virtually no running game (Bettis gains just 24 yds on 13 carries) spells doom for the Steelers. Meanwhile, Doug Flutie scrambles/improvises his way to a near-perfect performance, hitting 21 of 32 for 261 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT and adding 39 yds with his legs. The Steelers fight hard, but any chance for a Steeler win goes up in smoke as Buffalo converts two critical 4th-and-short situations late in the game. Thanks to Jaegar Heathman for generously providing us with this game!
1999 Steelers 13 vs Falcons 9 MNF
The Steelers jump out to a 13-0 lead against the 1-5 Falcons and seem to have the game under control, sacking Chris Chandler 7 times and limiting Atlanta to virtually no offense through 3 quarters. But Atlanta suddenly springs to life in the 4th quarter and the Steelers need two goal-line stands in the final two minutes to escape with a victory. Video includes some nice pregame material.
1999 Steelers 15 vs Browns 16
Inconceivable. Inexplicable. Inexcusable. From the 1-8 expansion Browns' seemingly effortless 80-yd TD drive on their opening possession to Kordell's Stewart's awful, tide-turning 4th quarter INT -- right to a Browns defender deep in Pittsburgh territory -- this game is an utter embarrassment. Horrible offense, horrible defense, horrible coaching. Every bit of it sucks. Jerome Bettis is the lone bright spot with 99 yds rushing. But it takes him 26 tries and his longest run of the day is only 8 yds. If you're a Browns fan, enjoy. If you're a Steelers fans... have a barf bag handy.
1999 Steelers 19 at Chiefs 35
The Steelers score 10 points on their first two possessions and add a FG at the end of the half to stay close at 21-13, but Tomczak throws 4 INTs on the day (one of them returned for a TD) and are shut out in the 2nd half until Tomczak's garbage-time 11-yd TD to Bobby Shaw with 34 seconds left. Tony Gonzalez catches 6 passes for 93 yds and 2 TDs and the Chiefs pile up 218 yds rushing, 82 of it coming on a Derrick Alexander reverse for a TD to break the game open. Thanks to John Payne for making this game available!
1999 Steelers 30 vs Panthers 20
Snow game! Carolina is poised to take the lead at the Steeler 1-yd line following a Tomczak INT late in the first quarter. On 2nd and goal, Levon Kirkland smashes through the middle of the line and makes a bone-crunching hit on RB Fred Lane. The ball pops into the air and over the goal line where DB Travis Davis catches it out of mid-air and dashes toward the other end zone, picking up a convoy of Steeler blockers. 102 yards later, Davis has completed the 2nd longest fumble return for a TD in NFL history to give the Steelers a 10-0 lead. Snow begins falling in the 2nd half and the Steelers let the air out of the ball as Jerome Bettis grinds for 137 yds and a TD on 33 carries, and Richard Huntley adds 72 yds and a TD. Leading 23-20 late late in the game, the Steelers decide to ride The Bus. Mike Tomczak hands the ball off 10 straight times, 9 of them to Jerome Bettis, who takes his final carry into the end zone for an 8-yd game-icing (pun intended) touchdown.
2000 Steelers 22 vs Browns 0
After starting the season 0-3 (including an embarrassing early loss to the Browns), the Steelers win their 4th straight by simply driving The Bus right through the Cleveland Browns (33 carries, 105 yds, 1 TD). After Kent Graham starts a putrid 3 of 12, Cowher replaces him with Kordell Stewart who fares little better passing (7 of 13, 74 yds) but certainly looks more athletic handing the ball off to Bettis. Defensively, the Steelers overwhelm QB Doug Pederson, forcing 3 INTs while giving up only 55 net passing yards and holding Cleveland to 104 total yards. Cleveland finishes 1-12 on 3rd down and the Steelers enjoy a 2-1 time of possession. Cleveland only has the ball in Pittburgh territory 1 time the entire game (after an unnecessary roughing penalty is tagged onto a long kick return by Jamel White) but comes away empty when Phil Dawson misses a 42-yd FG attempt.
2000 Steelers 23 vs Eagles 26 OT
A rollercoaster and one of the few Steelers losses I have ever witnessed in person (my record is 34-3). The Steelers fall behind 10-0 early in the 2nd quarter but come back to take a seemingly commanding 23-13 lead thanks to a late 32-yd fumble return for a TD by Joey Porter and a Kris Brown FG with only 3:42 left in the game. McNabb, who struggles for 3 quarters, suddenly comes alive and shows no panic, leading Philly on a 57-yd drive capped by a 13-yd TD pass to Mitchell with 2:29 remaining. The Eagles then recover an onside kick and drive close enough for David Akers to run on the field and kick the tying 42-yd FG as regulation expires. In OT, Philly receives and quickly moves into FG range to win it on another 42-yd Akers FG. As games go, this is an ugly one. The Steelers are penalized 13 times for 141 yds and lose in spite of a 30 carry, 134 yd performance by Bettis. What a LONG drive home from Pittsburgh that was.
2000 Steelers 21 vs Raiders 20
A classic worthy of the rivalry. While the stakes aren't as high and the matchup isn't as "marquis" as some of the '70s meetings between these two proud franchises, the game is epic in it's own right and certainly embodies the ferocity of days gone by. Kordell Stewart comes out hot and caps Pittsburgh's opening drive with a beautiful 19-yd TD pass to Bobby Shaw. Unfortunately, Stewart leaves the game late in the 1st quarter with a knee injury and Kent Graham comes in and throws an ugly pick 6 to Eric Allen on his very first pass. By halftime, Graham has managed just 1 completion, has 3 sacks to go along with his INT and the Steelers trail 17-7. Thankfully, Stewart returns in the 2nd half and picks up right where he left off, leading the Steelers on a marathon 9-minute, 16-pay, 91-yd drive in which he scrambles for 17 yds, converts two 3rd down passes and finally hits Mark Bruener, who drags his would-be tackler into the end zone for a gutsy 6-yd TD. After pinning the Raiders deep and forcing a punt, the Steelers get the ball near midfield and ride The Bus. On first down, Bettis (24 carries, 128 yds) blows through a hole off left guard, steamrolls safety Anthony Dorsett and drags Eric Allen another 5 yds for a 30-yd bull rush to the 17. After a tipped pass, Stewart drops back to pass and then takes off, dodging a pair of Raider tacklers on his way into the end zone for a 21-17 Steelers lead to start the 4th quarter. Janikowski adds a FG to make it a 1-point game on the ensuing drive, but a subsequent 44-yd Janikowski miss with 4 minutes left proves fatal. The Raiders get one last chance from their 10 with a minute and a half to go, but Rich Gannon somehow loses track of downs, thinking he still has 1 more down to go, and the Raiders turn it over without letting Janikowski try a long 50+ yd kick. A fantastic game.
2000 Steelers 24 vs Redskins 3
In the final game ever at Three Rivers Stadium, the Steelers terrorize Jeff George and take advantage of 5 Washington turnovers to send the stadium out with style, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive while beating the snot out of Dan Snyder's overpaid Redskins with their $100 million in salaries. Hank Poteat highlights a 17-point 2nd quarter with a 53-yard punt return for a TD, Bettis gains 104 yds on 25 carries and Richard Huntley scores 2 TDs. Farewell, TRS, and thank you for 31 fantastic seasons of Steeler football. A special thanks to Matthew Simon for providing us with a complete recording of this game (our original version was missing the kickoff).
Rebuilding, Pittsburgh Style
1998 to 2000 is probably as close to a "rebuilding" phase as the Steelers have gone through in the last 25+ years. Sandwiched between trips to the AFC Championship in '97 and '01, as Kordell Stewart went, so went the Steelers. Stewart had remarkable success in his first year as a starter under offensive coordinator Chan Gailey in 1997. But Gailey left for a head coaching job in Dallas and the next 3 years under Ray Sherman (1998) and Kevin Gilbride (1999-2000) were disasterous for Stewart, who struggled to adjust to his new coordinators and lost his confidence. I can't help but wonder how things might've been different for the young QB had Gailey stayed in Pittsburgh.
In '98, the Steelers were playoff contenders at 7-4 until the bizarre Thanksgiving "coin toss" overtime loss in Detroit, which was the first of 5 straight losses to end the season. In '99, the Steelers got off to a 5-3 start before a frustrating 1-7 collapse which began with a shocking 15-16 loss to the expansion Browns. Then in 2000, the Steelers started 0-3 and appeared to be headed for 0-5 or worse when they suddenly started winning games and playing ferocious defense, winning 5 straight including a 9-6 slugfest against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Ravens. The Steelers finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs in 2000, but the corner was turned and the Steelers returned to their winning ways in 2001.
Perspective: The Factory of Sadness
It's interesting (and illustrative of how consistently good the Steelers really are) that as bad as things seemed during the "Dark Years" of the 1980's, the Steelers still made the playoffs 4 times and only suffered 3 seasons with a losing record.
Contrast those results with the last 16 years of futility from the "Factory of Sadness" in Cleveland: