It was one of the iconic plays of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season. As it turns out, it’s also one of Joe Haden’s favorite plays of his career. In a recent interview with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, Haden said his Week 15 interception against the Patriots, you know the one, was the top play of his career.
“My favorite play since I’ve been in the NFL,” he told Matthews. “It’s a lot of high pressure games. You play a lot at night, you play a lot on the big stage, every game means something. We were trying to make that playoff push. This is just something where I was happy I was finally able to make a play for the team. Especially against New England.”
Making that his favorite play is an easy choice. Not only for the difficulty of the catch, skying into the air, securing the ball, and getting both feet in as he was being tackled to the ground, but the importance of the moment. In his seven years with the Cleveland Browns, there wasn’t much pressure. Not a lot to play for when you’re 3-10 and limping to the finish line.
In Pittsburgh, even if last season ultimately ended in a failed playoff bid, it matters. That interception was critical in an all-or-nothing game against the Patriots, keeping playoff hopes alive for at least another week.
Heading into tomorrow night’s game, Haden still uses that moment as motivation.
“Yes, I do,” he said when asked if he still looks at that play. “A lot. I think I posted this picture about three times on my Instagram. I do, I do really like it. I think this is what made me more of a Steeler, too.”
Haden finished last season with a pair of interceptions and has three in two seasons with the team. But he’s dropped several too, part of a defense that led the NFL in that category throughout 2018. He’ll look for his first season with at least three picks since 2016, his final with Cleveland, and if he can hit four, he’ll be the first Steeler to do it since Troy Polamalu in 2010. Notching another off Brady Sunday sure would be a good place to start.