Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Best Super Bowl Ever!

The Pittsburgh Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl Championship last Sunday, defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa, Florida. The game was a barn burner, in doubt until the dying seconds.

There was no room for error throughout the game, and there were few mistakes made. Both teams played tough, and emotions ran high. There were far too many penalties -many stupid penalties---unnecessary roughness, cheap shots, goofy displays of machismo.

But when it came down to it, the game was a duel of two very fine quarterbacks. The Cardinals went into the game as underdogs, led by Kurt Warner. Warner was in line to win his second Super Bowl, and made waves that he might retire after a second trophy. He began his NFL career at the ripe old age of 28, having toiled in the Arena League, the European League, the Pop Warner league, and any other league that would have him.

Last Sunday, he played his heart out, especially in the second half, and almost upset the Steelers. He got robbed on the last play of the game when they determined that he had fumbled; otherwise he had another shot at the end zone, and a potential ring.

When James Harrison, the NFL Defensive player of the Year, ran an interception back for a touchdown on the last play of the first half, it could have been disastrous for the Cardinals. They regrouped, came back, and won the second half. But too little, too late.

The Cardinals struck back in the fourth quarter, utilizing their dynamic receiver Larry Fitzgerald. With less than three minutes remaining, Fitzgerald sped between a pair of Steeler defenders and raced 64 yards for a touchdown. The Cardinals held the lead, but only briefly.

Big Ben Roethlisberger, at the helm for the Steelers, danced in the backfield, evaded gigantic tacklers, found his receivers, and executed well. His primary target, Santonio Holmes caught nine balls, four on the final drive. He leapt high in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to seal the fate of the Cardinals, and was named the most valuable player of the game.

Roethlisberger has not yet reached his twenty-seventh birthday, and has plenty of football yet to play. Broadway Joe Namath, former great quarterback with the New York Jets, helped Commissioner Roger Goodell present the Lombardi trophy to the Steelers.

The Rooney family founded the Steeler franchise in Pittsburgh in 1933. Arthur Rooney led the organization until the 1960s, when he handed the reins over to his son Dan. Dan accepted the trophy with his son, another Arthur, then gave the trophy to Roethlisberger, who ran down the ramp to the guys who really deserved it-the offensive line. They were the ones who protected him throughout the game.

At six feet, fine inches, and a couple of pork chops under two hundred and fifty pounds, Big Ben is not an easy tower to dismantle. He has signed a contract extension until 2015. Even at this point in his career, the commentators have him heading to the hall of fame in Canton, Ohio, down the road from his birthplace of Findlay, Ohio.

But it is a team game, and the Steelers won as a team. As Rooney Senior said: “We won playing Steeler football. It’s never going to be pretty. That’s what it is.”

The Belleville Minor Football league registrations take place next month. Not much breathing space between seasons!

James Hurst


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