Alby Oxenreiter remembers Super Bowl XXX 18 years later

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PITTSBURGH - As Pittsburgh deals with extraordinary bitter-cold temperatures and snow, I can remember a warm day from 18 years ago.

It was the final Sunday of January in 1996.  It was Super Bowl Sunday, always an unofficial holiday, but especially that year, because it marked the return of the Steelers to the Super Bowl after 16 years.

It was the day “Steelers Nation” had waited for. The game was played on a gorgeous afternoon and evening at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, and featured the third Super Bowl matchup between the Steelers and Cowboys.

Vanessa Williams sang the National Anthem, western Pennsylvania native Joe Montana represented all Super Bowl MVPs at the coin toss, and Diana Ross performed at halftime.

It was also a great game. The Steelers rallied with 10 points in the 4th quarter and had the ball with a chance to take the lead, until Neil O'Donnell threw the most infamous interception in Steelers history.

Larry Brown picked off O'Donnell and returned it 33 yards to set up the game's final touchdown. The Cowboys then sealed the deal with a one-yard run by Emmitt Smith.

Brown earned the distinction of becoming the first cornerback to win Super Bowl MVP, the Cowboys won their third Super Bowl in four years, and the Steelers lost a Super Bowl for the first time.

I remember almost every moment of that day.  

Before the game, I posed for a picture outside the stadium. When I made it to my seat in the auxiliary media section, I found myself in the same row as "future" movie star George Clooney, and in the moments after the game, I stood on a makeshift stage outside the Pittsburgh locker room and interviewed Bill Cowher.  

Almost four handfuls of Super Bowls have come and gone, but I'll never forget Super Bowl XXX.  

It only seems like yesterday, but in fact, it was 18 years ago today.

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