View Full Version : Swannee impressed but not bowled over by The Catch

02-04-2009, 05:13 PM
The Catch? Swann's seen it before
Rather, Steelers' great lauds Holmes' overall play on final drive
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lynn Swann, the ballet-like receiver who patented acrobatic, historic catches in his Hall of Fame Steelers career, wasn't overly dazzled by Santonio Holmes' Super Bowl-winning reception on its own merits.

The play doesn't rank alongside Bill Mazeroski's home run in his mind, either.

Tens of thousands of Steelers fans line the Boulevard of the Allies, Downtown, during yesterday's Victory Parade.

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A special interactive display from the PG's Steve Mellon: The victory parade

Rather, to him, the sensational part was Holmes' effort in toto on the final Steelers drive that captured Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23, Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., where Swann watched after taking a ceremonial role in the opening coin toss.

"I thought ... that whole drive was tremendous," Swann said yesterday. "It wasn't just the touchdown catch. He set it up. He made all the key catches on that drive."

In the end, Holmes made four of the five catches (Nate Washington had the other) on that eight-play drive. Holmes accounted for 73 of the 88 yards covered. He made that 6-yard, Super Bowl-securing touchdown catch with 35 seconds left -- "on both toes," as referee Terry McAulay said after the replay review -- to provide the Steelers a sixth Lombardi Trophy and himself not only the Most Valuable Player award but a niche in Pittsburgh sports lore.

The toe-tapping, fingertip-reaching touchdown reception? Swann has seen it before, from old-school receivers in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

"Technically, he did everything perfectly," Swann said. "The catch itself I thought was a terrific catch under pressure, with a lot of people [three Cardinals defensive backs] around him. It was a perfect pass, high enough to get over the outstretched arms of a defender, but high enough so that he could stretch up and get it and still keep his feet on the ground. That was the key.

"We've seen that catch a lot in the history of pro football. Raymond Berry [of the Baltimore Colts] and Fred Biletnikoff [the Erie native and Oakland Raiders receiver] had a history of making that catch. And it was a tremendous catch."

Holmes finished with a career-high nine catches and 131 yards, two off his career mark.

As for Holmes' place in steeped Pittsburgh sports history, Swann didn't sound sold.

"Maz's homer, no. I don't think it's that," Swann said of the 1960 Game 7 hit that won the Pirates that World Series. "Do I think it's a great catch and an important catch? Absolutely. But that whole drive, [Holmes] did a phenomenal job. If he doesn't make the catch [and run of 40 yards] to get them inside the 6-yard line ... ."
Chuck Finder can be reached at cfinder@post-gazette.com.
First published on February 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

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But still very complimentary! (Who's gonna argue with Swan about how good this or that catch is? He's made one or two himself, which he was too gracious to bring up. Which, BTW, is something I hope Tones learns more about over time, but that's just me!)