Super Bowl XL proved to be a game of "firsts" for both NFC champion Seattle Seahawks and the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers. For the Seahawks, the contest marked the first time in the franchise's 30-year history that the team would make an appearance in the big game. Head coach Mike Holmgren and his veteran quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, with their 13-3 regular season record, were eager to bring the Lombardi Trophy to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in gridiron history. For the Steelers, Super Bowl XL was the first time that a number-six seed in the NFL play-offs would take the field for a Super Bowl. Led by veteran head coach Bill Cowers and rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers aimed to prove that even with a sluggish start and an eventual 11-5 regular season record, they were the better squad.

Super Bowl XL was held on February 5, 2006, at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The action began slowly, with Seattle taking a 3-0 lead, compliments of a 47-yard field goal by kicker Josh Brown. With less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter, Roethlisberger faked a handoff and dove into the end zone to take a 7-3 lead. Brown later missed a 54-yard field goal attempt and the Steelers ran out the clock to end the first half. Pittsburgh quickly extended their lead after the half to 14-3 after running back Willie Parker managed a Super Bowl-record 75-yard touchdown run. Not to be outdone, Seattle defensive back Kelly Herndon managed a game-record 76-yard interception return to set up a Seattle touchdown and narrow the score to 14-10. Pittsburgh wide receiver Antwaan Randel El, however, countered with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward to make the score 21-10. (It marked the first time in Super Bowl history that a wide receiver threw a touchdown pass). That would be the final, as the Steelers defeated the Seahawks to become only the third team (alongside the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys) to win five Super Bowls. Ward, who caught five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 18 yards, was named the game's MVP.