2004 Pittsburgh Steelers season

2004 Pittsburgh Steelers season

Infobox NFL_season
team = Pittsburgh Steelers
year = 2004
record = 15-1
division_place = 1st in AFC North
coach = Bill Cowher
stadium = Heinz Field
playoffs = L New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game
previous = 2003
next = 2005
The 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers looked to rebound after a disappointing 6-10 season the year before, which saw the team go through the entire season without winning consecutive games.

The team would more than rebound, finishing with a 15-1 record, topping the team-record 14-2 record from 1978 and joining the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, 1985 Chicago Bears, and 1998 Minnesota Vikings as only the fourth team in NFL history since the league adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978 to finish with such a record. This also makes the Steelers the first AFC team to achieve a 15-1 record. Along the way, the Steelers ended the New England Patriots NFL-record 21-game winning streak in Week 8, then defeated the Philadelphia Eagles the following week to hand the NFL's last two undefeated teams their first losses in back-to-back weeks, both at home.

The season was highlighted by the surprising emergence of rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the team's top pick in that year's draft. Originally planned to sit behind veteran Tommy Maddox the entire season, plans abruptly changed when Maddox was hurt in the team's Week 2 loss in Baltimore. Surrounded by talent, "Big Ben" wouldn't disappoint, going an NFL-record 13-0 as a rookie starting QB, shattering the old NFL record (and ironically, also the team record) of 6-0 to start an NFL career set by Mike Kruczek filling in for an injured Terry Bradshaw in 1976.

The Steelers would host the AFC Championship for the fifth time in eleven years. However, for the fourth time in that same span, the Steelers would lose at home one game away from the Super Bowl, and as in 2001, lost to the Patriots in a rematch from Week 8.

Despite the disappointing ending to the season, it would set the tone for the start of Roethlisberger's NFL career, and the Black & Gold would only have to wait one more year before getting that elusive "One for the Thumb".

Offseason

The Steelers went into the NFL draft with the eleventh overall pick, their highest selection since selecting Plaxico Burress eighth overall in 2000. Although the team was ready to select Miami University quarterback Ben Roethlisberger if he were to still be available, the team was ready to select other players at "need" positions. However, with Roethislberger still available, the team snatched him up, making him the third quarterback selected. Alongside Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and J. P. Losman, Roethlisberger was part of the "Class of 2004" quarterbacks. In addition, "Big Ben" became the first quarterback the Steelers selected with their first-round pick since they selected Mark Malone in 1980.

Free agent-wise, the Steelers would sign former Philadelphia Eagles running back Duce Staley. Many thought this signing was the team preparing for a future without Jerome Bettis. However, Staley's injury-prone history from Philly would continue with the Steelers. On the undrafted front, the team signed North Carolina running back Willie Parker. Although Parker would play sparingly his rookie season, he would become a major component of the offense in the future. The team also signed veteran punter Chris Gardocki (releasing longtime punter Josh Miller in the process), who up to that point was best remembered by Steelers fans for flipping head coach Bill Cowher the finger twice on live TV after being leveled by Joey Porter while Gardocki was with the Cleveland Browns. (Porter would be penalized for roughing the punter.) Gardocki was fined $5,000 for the incident, and his signing by the team made him the only player to have played for Cowher "and" give him an expletive in public.

The most notable releases made in the offseason included releasing veteran defensive players Jason Gildon and Dewayne Washington, who both would subsequently sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars and would both play against the Steelers in Week 13.

In the personnel department, the Steelers went back to the future with the return of "Mean Joe" Greene and Dick LeBeau to the organization. Greene, who along with the entire Arizona Cardinals coaching staff was fired after the dismissal of head coach Dave McGinnis, retired from coaching and returned to the Black & Gold as the "special assistant of player personnel" for the team. Meanwhile, LeBeau, who popularized the zone blitz defensive schemes as the team's defensive coordinator in the mid-1990's (commonly referred to as "Blitzburgh" by fans), returned to the team in that same capacity after a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills, replacing the fired Tim Lewis.

2004 would also be the final season for longtime Steelers radio color-commentator Myron Cope, who missed several games that year due to poor health. It was one of only two times in 35 years that Cope would miss time broadcasting for the Steelers, the other being the 1994 season after the death of his wife. Though Cope would later recover, he felt that it was best to retire, and did so at the end of the season.

Regular season

chedule

Game Summaries

Week 1 (Sunday September 12, 2004): vs. Oakland Raiders

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Raiders
R1=0
R2=7
R3=3
R4=11
Home=Steelers
H1=7
H2=7
H3=7
H4=3
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
* Game weather: 74°F (Mostly Sunny)
* Game attendance: 60,147
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Nantz (play by play), Phil Simms (color commentator), Bonnie Bernstein (sideline reporter)

Week 2 (Sunday September 19, 2004): at Baltimore Ravens

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=0
R2=0
R3=0
R4=13
Home=Ravens
H1=7
H2=6
H3=7
H4=10
"at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 69,895
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Kevin Harlan (play by play), Randy Cross (color commentator)

Week 3 (Sunday September 26, 2004): at Miami Dolphins

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=3
R2=0
R3=3
R4=7
Home=Dolphins
H1=0
H2=0
H3=0
H4=3
"at Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida"

* Game time: 8:30 PM EDT
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 72,225
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS - Local to Miami & Pittsburgh (and surrounding areas)) Gus Johnson (play by play), Brent Jones (color commentator)

The game was originally to be played at 1:00 PM, but was delayed until evening due to Hurricane Jeanne. The game was not broadcast nationally, it was only shown on local stations in the primary and secondary markets of the two teams.

Week 4 (Sunday October 3, 2004): vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Bengals
R1=7
R2=3
R3=7
R4=0
Home=Steelers
H1=7
H2=7
H3=0
H4=14
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
* Game weather: 58°F (Mostly Sunny)
* Game attendance: 62,402
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Ian Eagle (play by play), Solomon Wilcots (color commentator)

Week 5 (Sunday October 10, 2004): vs. Cleveland Browns

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Browns
R1=10
R2=3
R3=3
R4=7
Home=Steelers
H1=14
H2=13
H3=7
H4=0
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
* Game weather: 54°F (Cloudy)
* Game attendance: 63,609
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Gus Johnson (play by play), Steve Tasker (color commentator)

Week 6 (Sunday October 17, 2004): at Dallas Cowboys

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=7
R2=3
R3=0
R4=14
Home=Cowboys
H1=7
H2=3
H3=10
H4=0
"at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas"

* Game time: 4:15 PM EDT
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 64,162
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Nantz (play by play), Phil Simms (color commentator), Bonnie Bernstein (sideline reporter)

Week 7 (Sunday October 24, 2004): Bye Week

Week 8 (Sunday October 31, 2004): vs. New England Patriots

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Patriots
R1=3
R2=7
R3=3
R4=7
Home=Steelers
H1=21
H2=3
H3=10
H4=
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 4:15 PM EST
* Game weather: 65°F (Partly Sunny)
* Game attendance: 64,737
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Nantz (play by play), Phil Simms (color commentator), Bonnie Bernstein (sideline reporter)

Week 9 (Sunday November 7, 2004): vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Eagles
R1=0
R2=3
R3=0
R4=0
Home=Steelers
H1=14
H2=7
H3=3
H4=3
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EST
* Game weather: 53°F (Partly Sunny)
* Game attendance: 64,975
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (FOX) Joe Buck (play by play), Troy Aikman & Cris Collinsworth (color commentators), Pam Oliver (sideline reporter)

Week 10 (Sunday November 14, 2004): at Cleveland Browns

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=7
R2=7
R3=0
R4=10
Home=Browns
H1=3
H2=0
H3=0
H4=7
"at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EST
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 73,703
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Dick Enberg (play by play), Dan Dierdorf (color commentator), Armen Keteyian (sideline reporter)

Week 11 (Sunday November 21, 2004): at Cincinnati Bengals

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=3
R2=7
R3=7
R4=2
Home=Bengals
H1=7
H2=7
H3=0
H4=0
"at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EST
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 65,780
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Ian Eagle (play by play), Solomon Wilcots (color commentator)

Week 12 (Sunday November 28, 2004): vs. Washington Redskins

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Redskins
R1=0
R2=0
R3=7
R4=0
Home=Steelers
H1=3
H2=10
H3=0
H4=3
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EST
* Game weather: 66°F (Partly Sunny)
* Game attendance: 63,707
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (FOX) Sam Rosen (play by play), Bill Maas (color commentator)

Week 13 (Sunday December 5, 2004): at Jacksonville Jaguars

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=7
R2=7
R3=0
R4=3
Home=Jaguars
H1=7
H2=0
H3=6
H4=3
"at Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida"

* Game time: 8:30 PM EST
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 76,877
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (ESPN) Mike Patrick (play by play), Joe Theismann & Paul Maguire (color commentators), Suzy Kolber (sideline reporter)

Week 14 (Sunday December 12, 2004): vs. New York Jets

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Jets
R1=0
R2=0
R3=3
R4=3
Home=Steelers
H1=3
H2=0
H3=0
H4=14
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 4:05 PM EST
* Game weather: 35°F (Cloudy)
* Game attendance: 63,581
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Nantz (play by play), Phil Simms (color commentator), Bonnie Bernstein (sideline reporter)

Week 15 (Saturday December 18, 2004): at New York Giants

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=10
R2=10
R3=3
R4=10
Home=Giants
H1=14
H2=0
H3=10
H4=6
"at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey"

* Game time: 1:30 PM EST
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 78,836
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Nantz (play by play), Phil Simms (color commentator), Bonnie Bernstein (sideline reporter)

Week 16 (Sunday December 26, 2004): vs. Baltimore Ravens

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Ravens
R1=7
R2=0
R3=0
R4=0
Home=Steelers
H1=7
H2=3
H3=7
H4=3
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EST
* Game weather: 26°F (Cloudy)
* Game attendance: 64,227
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Gus Johnson (play by play), Randy Cross (color commentator)

Week 17 (Sunday January 2, 2005): at Buffalo Bills

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Steelers
R1=10
R2=6
R3=0
R4=13
Home=Bills
H1=7
H2=3
H3=7
H4=7
"at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York"

* Game time: 1:00 PM EST
* Game weather:
* Game attendance: 73,414
* Referee:
* TV announcers: (CBS) Kevin Harlan (play by play), Randy Cross (color commentator)

Post-season

chedule

Game Summaries

AFC Divisional Playoff (Saturday January 15, 2005): vs. New York Jets

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Jets
R1=0
R2=10
R3=7
R4=0
R5=0
Home=Steelers
H1=10
H2=0
H3=0
H4=7
H5=3
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 4:30 PM EST
* Game weather: 28°F (Clear)
* Game attendance: 64,915
* Referee: Bill Leavy
* TV announcers: (CBS) Dick Enberg (play by play), Dan Dierdorf (color commentator), Armen Keteyian (sideline reporter)

AFC Championship (Sunday January 23, 2005): vs. New England Patriots

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Patriots
R1=10
R2=14
R3=7
R4=10
Home=Steelers
H1=3
H2=0
H3=14
H4=10
"at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"

* Game time: 6:30 PM EST
* Game weather: 11°F (Clear)
* Game attendance: 65,242
* Referee: Walt Anderson
* TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Nantz (play by play), Phil Simms (color commentator), Bonnie Bernstein & Armen Keteyian (sideline reporters)

Division standings

Honors and Awards

* Ben Roethlisberger, AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
* Ben Roethlisberger, Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year

Pro Bowl Representatives

"See: 2005 Pro Bowl"

* #36 Jerome Bettis- Running Back (alternate)
* #43 Troy Polamalu- Strong Safety
* #51 James Farrior- Inside Linebacker
* #55 Joey Porter- Outside Linebacker
* #64 Jeff Hartings- Center
* #66 Alan Faneca- Offensive Guard
* #77 Marvel Smith- Offensive Tackle (alternate)
* #86 Hines Ward- Wide Receiver
* #91 Aaron Smith- Defensive End (alternate)

References


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