Rumors of my demise have been greatly overstated. For whatever reason, my ability to log into the site died right after the game. I finally gave up after a few hours and just sat back and watched the post-game coverage.
Well- I feel great. Glad for the Rooney’s, glad for Cowher, glad for Bettis, but glad for a lot of other people- other veterans who have been overshadowed by the Bettis coverage. Folks like Willie Williams and Darren Perry, who were with the ’95 SB team. Mike Logan (a WVU alum) who has been the consumate team player and unselfish stand-in and special teams player for years. Jeff Hartings, who has been in the league for a while, and Alan Faneca, who has been the best player on that line for years. Kimo von Oelhoffen and and Travios Kirschke and James Farrior and Mike Logan, who have all played for almost a decade. And most of all, this means more to Pittsburgh than it does to Seattle.
As to the game itself, I feel like the Steelers didn’t so much win as the Seahawks lost, and there were some bs calls that went against the Seahawks. Specifically, the holding call and the low block against Hasselbeck. Those were huge for the Steelers, and if I were a Seattle fan I would have been in full blown cardiac arrest. I think those two were clearly bad calls, although when it happened in real time, I was screaming “HOLDING! HOLDING! HOLDING G– D—-t!” at the top of my lungs, so the refs aren’t the only ones who felt it was holding initially.
Others that the Seahawks fans are complaining about are not so clear- the pass interference in the endzone was one of those calls that could have been a no-call, but I think he clearly did, by rule, commit the f0ul. Wide Receivers and Seattle fans will say it was not, Steeler fans and defensive players will say it was a penalty. That is just how the game goes. After an illegal formation call two weeks ago vs. the Broncos with 15 second left in the half, the Steelers had a TD brought back. Their response- to score again.
Additionally, I think it was pretty clear that Ben did score on his one yard run. I was watching on a wide screen in HD, and the ball pretty clearly broke the plane when he was airborne, and he was dragged backwards. That is a touchdown- if the nose of the ball goes one millimeter over the plane, it is a TD. It doesn’t matter what he did on the ground- that little awkward fumble/scramble to get the ball over the line- as he was down by contact then and had already, IMHO, been over the line.
At any rate, those two bad calls ( the holding and the Hasselbeck block) surely had an impact on the game, and I can understand how Seahawks fans could feel justifiably angry, but that isn’t what lost the game for them. If the Steelers had lost to the Colts because of the refs, that would have been a crime, but the Seahawks did not lose this game because of the refs. If they want to be mad, they can be mad at Jerramy Stevens for dropping almost everything that was thrown at him. Or they can be mad at the coaching staff for not feeding the ball to Alexander more (he had a very quiet 90 yards on 20 carries). They can be mad at their punter for failing to ever pin the Steelers inside the 20. Their kicker missed two field goals. They gave up a 75 yard TD run and let the Steelers convert on 3rd and a mile (ok- 3rd and 28- close enough). They can be mad that they failed to convert on five of their last six 3rd down plays.
They can be mad at themselves for the worst clock management I have ever seen at the end of not only the first half, but the second half, when it mattered the most. They can be mad at the defense, who with 6 minutes left in the game and when EVERYONE ON THE PLANET knew that the Steelers were going to run Jerome Bettis, managed to give up a key first down and let the Steelers burn four minutes off the clock. So while some of those calls were bad and would have infuriated me had they happened to the Steelers, that didn’t cost them the game. They cost themselves the game.
That being said, the Seahawks have a lot to be proud of- Matt Hasselbeck was probably the best football player on the field, and Big Ben had a really poor outing statistics wise. He did manage to make the big plays when they needed them, though, and he was not the only member of the offense who was out of sync. Just a very unconvincing performance by the offense, particularly after the way they performed in the playoff run. I expected more.
What does this all mean? First, both teams have strong cores to build upon, and I would not be surprised to see both of them make deep runs into the playoffs next year. If Seattle didn’t have your respect before this season, I think they earned it, and I think they outplayed the Steelers for most of the game, save for a few big plays. I never underestimated the Seahawks (partially because I think the Steelers are going to lose every game before the game- underestimating opponents is not something I do), but they were better than I thought, particularly on defense.
Second, this win sealed the deal for the Hall of Fame for Bill Cowher, and made it very likely that if Hines Ward throws up 4-6 more seasons like the past few, he will likely gain entrance to the HoF. No more will we hear that Cowher is a choker.
Third, Jerome gets to go out on top, and that in itself is something huge. Not very often do players get to go out on their own terms, with either fate or ownership making life difficult. Jerome got the storybook ending, and every one of his teammates, who to a man love him, shared it with him.
Finally, Ben is in his second season, and with the crappiest game ever played by a winning QB in the Super Bowl, he is still the youngest QB to ever win. This will be another great learning experience for Ben, who is only going to get better.
So those are my thoughts. It was an ugly win, and I feel bad for the Seahawks and their fans- those two calls were unfair- but I think the Steelers won fair and square. Regardless, the Steelers are the Super Bowl Champions, and I am thrilled.