Episode II: The Steelers.
Yes, it’s been 2 weeks today… yes, the season is now over… but as an unabashed Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I gotta say the Super Bowl XLIII win was pretty fucking sweet! After having time to digest it, the biggest story for me is the redemption of Ben Roethlisberger. After a ego-inflating 15-1 start in his rookie season (where he was forced to take over after starting QB Tommy Maddox was injured in week 2), he played a great 2005-2006 season as well, culminating in a trip to Super Bowl XL. However, Big Ben had one of the worst games of his career, and it took some trickery and the defense to bring home a title. From there, it was quite the stunning fall from grace for Ben. A springtime motorcycle accident, compounded by a ruptured appendix right before the season opener doomed him, and the team, to an 8-8 record and no SB Title defense. Last season wasn’t much better, where under 1st year coach Mike Tomlin the Steelers won the North Division Title, but exited the Playoff’s in the first round. Things didn’t look much better for this year, and talk began circulating that Ben had fallen a rung below guys like Brady, Brees, and the Manning’s. However a BRUTAL late season schedule did something to this team: it fortified them, it gave them a hard, tough edge, and it gave Roethlisberger the confidence that, yes, he can win the big games.
All of which culminated on February 1st, in Tampa Bay for Super Bowl XLIII. Ben said that he was so nervous before SB XL, and it showed. This time he showed nerves of steel, effectively managing the game, and when the Steelers fell behind with just 2:30 seconds left in the game, he coolly led us down the field for the winning touchdown, in a drive Steve Young commented on the sideline as being “Joe Montana-like”, possibly some of the highest praise a player can get. So we won one for the other thumb… won a record 6th Lombardi Trophy… and once again brought pride to the Steeler Nation… but it also reestablished Ben Roethlisberger as one of the best Quarterback’s in the game today. My hat’s off to you, Ben, and all the adversity you went through, even when you were winning. You’re my MVP of SB XLIII.