Steelers notebook: Polaroid tells story of Vikings' last win in Pittsburgh
Thanks to the NFL's rotating scheduling system, the Minnesota Vikings don't visit often.
The Vikings, in fact, have made just two trips to Heinz Field, losing here in 2001 and '09.
The last time Minnesota won in Pittsburgh was in 1995 at Three Rivers Stadium. The final score, 44-24, might not be memorable, but what transpired at the end of the first half in the game was picture perfect.
That was when Steelers coach Bill Cowher angrily stuffed a Polaroid print in the shirt pocket of referee Gordon McCarter.
The Vikings were leading 10-6 as the clock wound down in the half. Fuad Reveiz attempted a 48-yard field goal that was no good, and the Steelers thought the half was over. But line judge Ben Montgomery threw a flag, citing the Steelers for having 12 men on the field.
Reveiz got another shot, from 43 yards, and put the kick between the uprights for a 13-6 lead. Cowher argued that the Steelers didn't have an extra defender on the field. Someone produced a Polaroid from an overhead camera that showed Cowher was correct.
Cowher chased McCarter all the way off the field and, after a few attempts, stuffed the Polaroid in the referee's pocket.
“I've been here 3½ years and I've defended officiating, but it was a debacle out there today,” Cowher said after the game. “For the officials not to be able to count 11 people, that's a debacle.”
So was the Steelers' second-half play. The Vikings scored 24 points in the third quarter to take a 37-6 lead.
If the Vikings pull off a similar feat Sunday, it shouldn't be taken as a sign of gloom and doom. In 1995, after the Steelers lost to the Vikings, they went on to play in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1979 season.
Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is listed as questionable to play against the Steelers because of a left knee injury. Provided he suits up, Rhodes likely will be assigned to Antonio Brown, making it a matchup of former Miami Norland High School stars.
Brown, 29, is two years and three grades older than Rhodes. Like Brown, Rhodes was a star receiver in high school but was used in the secondary at Florida State.
“He's a great player, a physical guys, his arms come past his knees,” Brown said. “He's going to be a challenge this weekend.”
Before the game, the Steelers will hold a tribute to Ambassador Dan Rooney, who died in April. Steelers officials are asking fans attending the game to be in their seats by 12:40 p.m. for the tribute.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to attend the game.