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AFC Championship Game: New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers Notes

There is plenty of history on the field this Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets go at it with a trip to Super Bowl XLV on the line.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are no strangers to the AFC Championship Game.  With 32 postseason wins, the Steelers trail only the Dallas Cowboys all-time.  The New York Jets were in the game just last year, losing on the road to the Indianapolis Colts.  Here are some things to watch for this Sunday when the Steelers and Jets meet at Heinz Field.

RETURN ENGAGEMENT:  For the fifth consecutive season and 15th time since 1990 when the NFL went to the 12-team playoff format, teams that played at least once during the regular season will meet in the AFC Championship Game when the New York Jets face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.  If New York defeats Pittsburgh, it will mark the 11th time in 15 opportunities that a team won the AFC Championship Game against a team it defeated in the regular season.

AFC Championship Games that were rematches of regular-season meetings since 1990:

SEASON

SEASON WINNER

OPPONENT

AFC CHAMP. GAME RESULT

1990

Buffalo

L.A. Raiders

Buffalo, 51-3

1992

Buffalo/Miami *

Buffalo/Miami *

Buffalo, 29-10

1993

Kansas City

Buffalo

Buffalo, 30-13

1994

San Diego

Pittsburgh

San Diego, 17-13

1996

New England

Jacksonville

New England, 20-6

1997

Pittsburgh

Denver

Denver, 24-21

1999

Tennessee **

Jacksonville

Tennessee, 33-14

2002

Oakland 

Tennessee

Oakland, 41-24

2003

New England 

Indianapolis

New England, 24-14

2004

Pittsburgh

New England

New England, 41- 27

2006

Indianapolis

New England

Indianapolis, 38-34

2007

New England

San Diego

New England, 21-12

2008

Pittsburgh **

Baltimore 

Pittsburgh, 23-14             

2009

New York Jets

Indianapolis

Indianapolis, 30-17

2010

New York Jets

Pittsburgh

???

*Met twice during season.  Teams split; ** Met twice during season.  Tennessee and Pittsburgh won both games.

 

UNPREDICTABLE NFLWith their win last week, the New York Jets became the third AFC No. 6 seed since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 to reach the AFC Championship game.  Pittsburgh accomplished the feat following the 2005 season en route to their victory in Super Bowl XL.  Baltimore reached the AFC title game in 2008.

If the Jets top the Steelers this weekend, they will be only the second No. 6 seed to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl since 1990.

PITTSBURGH IN THE POSTSEASONThis Sunday, Pittsburgh makes its 15th AFC/AFL championship game appearance and hosts its 11th AFC championship, both of which are the most in AFC/AFL history.  It also marks the Steelers' 28th home playoff game, the most among all teams in the Super Bowl era (since 1966), surpassing the Dallas Cowboys (27).

If the Steelers win, they will tie the Dallas Cowboys (33) for the most postseason wins in NFL history.  A victory would also give Pittsburgh its 20th home playoff victory, breaking a tie with Dallas and Oakland (19) for the most such wins all-time.

The teams with the most all-time postseason wins:

TEAM

POSTSEASON WINS

Dallas

33

Pittsburgh

32*

Green Bay

27*

Oakland

25

San Francisco

25

*Active in 2010 playoffs


SUPER (BOWL) STEELERSWith a win, the Steelers and head coach MIKE TOMLIN will join elite groups of Super Bowl participants.

The Steelers have played in seven Super Bowls, winning an NFL-best six (Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL and XLIII).  Pittsburgh can earn its eighth Super Bowl berth (lost Super Bowl XXX), tying Dallas for the most ever.

TEAM

SUPER BOWL BERTHS

Dallas

8

Pittsburgh

7*

New England

6

Denver

6

Three tied

5

 

 

Tomlin has won four consecutive playoff games, including three during the Steelers' Super Bowl XLIII championship run.  If he earns his fifth consecutive playoff victory, Tomlin will join Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE GIBBS (Super Bowl XVII and XVIII) as the only head coaches to reach two Super Bowls in their first four seasons as a head coach.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN:  Last week, the New York Jets won their second road playoff game of the season, making them the first team to win at least two postseason games on the road in back-to-back seasons.

Including four wins on the road over the past two postseasons, the Jets have won seven road playoff games in franchise history, tied for the second-most in the Super Bowl era.  With a victory, New York would trail only Dallas (nine) for the most road postseason victories since 1966.

TEAM

ALL-TIME POSTSEAON ROAD WINS

Dallas

9

Baltimore

7

Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans

7

L.A./St. Louis Rams

7

New York Jets

7*

Pittsburgh

7

*Play at Pittsburgh on Sunday

 

Jets quarterback MARK SANCHEZ improved to 4-1 in road playoff games, tying him with Pro Football Hall of Famers LEN DAWSON and ROGER STAUBACH and JAKE DELHOMME for the best winning percentage (.800) in a quarterback's first five postseason starts on the road.

If New York wins this Sunday at Pittsburgh, Sanchez will earn his fifth postseason road victory as a starting quarterback, the most in NFL history.

The most playoff road wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history:

 

PLAYER

 

CAREER

PLAYOFF ROAD WINS

AS STARTING QB

Mark Sanchez

2009-present

4*

Len Dawson

1957-1975

4

Jake Delhomme

1999-present

4

Joe Flacco

2008-present

4

Roger Staubach

1969-1979

4

*Plays at Pittsburgh this Sunday

 


WOODLEY AS STRONG AS OAKSteelers linebacker LA MARR WOODLEY has registered nine sacks in five career playoff games and has posted at least one sack in each contest.  Among players who competed in their first postseason game after 1982, Woodley and JASON BUCK are the only players to record at least one sack in each of their first five postseason games.

With at least one sack on Sunday, Woodley can become the 10th player to register at least 10 postseason sacks since 1982.  He would reach double-digit postseason sacks in his sixth career game, the fewest number of playoff games to record at least 10 sacks.

The players to reach 10 postseason sacks in the fewest games:

PLAYER

GAMES TO 10 POSTSEASON SACKS

Richard Dent

7

Terrell Suggs

9

Trace Armstrong

10

Willie McGinest

12

Three players

13

 

LaMarr Woodley

5*

*9 career postseason sacks; plays in sixth career postseason game on Sunday


HINES & THE FIELDIn 15 postseason games, Steelers wide receiver HINES WARD has caught 79 passes for 1,089 yards and nine touchdowns.  Ward, who currently ranks fifth for career playoff receptions, will look to climb the all-time postseason receiving lists this weekend.

Career postseason receiving leaders for catches, yards and touchdowns:

PLAYER

REC.

 

PLAYER

REC. YARDS

 

PLAYER

REC. TDs

Jerry Rice

151

Jerry Rice

2,245

Jerry Rice

22

Michael Irvin

87

Michael Irvin

1,315

John Stallworth

12

Andre Reed

85

Cliff Branch

1,289

Fred Biletnikoff

10

Reggie Wayne

83

Andre Reed

1,229

Antonio Freeman

10

Hines Ward

79*

Fred Biletnikoff

1,167

Randy Moss

10

Hines Ward

1,089*

 

Hines Ward

9*

*Active in 2010 playoffs

 

 

 

 

 


AFC TROPHY PRESENTATIONThe LAMAR HUNT TROPHY will be presented to the winner of the AFC Championship Game.

The late Hunt, founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and American Football League, helped professional football attain its stature as America's No. 1 sport.  In the 10-year history of the AFL, his team posted the most wins (87) and earned berths in two of the first four Super Bowls, including a victory in Super Bowl IV. 

In 1972, Hunt became the first person from the AFL to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.