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Super Bowl XLIII Notes From Someone In The Stands

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Six rings. The Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team in NFL history to win six Super Bowls on February 1st, 2009. That’s something every Steelers fan can be proud of. Their number one Steel Defense won games all year and Big Ben Roethlisberger never failed on a late fourth quarter drive. But it wasn’t the cleanest Super Bowl I’ve ever seen.

I’ve been to eight Steelers games in my life. Two Super Bowls, three playoffs, and three regular season games. In my four trips to Heinz Field, I’ve never seen the Steelers lose. In fact, I’ve only seen them lose twice. Out of all the games I’ve been through, Super Bowl XLIII has definitely been the most stressful. I’m not even sure how more people don’t have heart attacks during these games! If I wasn’t 17 years old, I’d be seriously concerned about my health. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if the game went into overtime.

• This game was definitely different from Super Bowl XL in the fact that this was a “can’t blink game.” The Steelers were winning 10-0, then 20-7, and the Cardinals rallied to lead 23-20. Are you kidding me? They can’t script that stuff. Arizona put up a good fight, I will admit. I would’ve preferred a blow-out, but it kept life interesting.

• For people who give Big Ben crap about not being one of the best quarterbacks in the league, let’s look at this game. The one interception was not his fault. Yes, he had a horrible game in Super Bowl XL and yeah, sometimes he holds the ball too long, but the offense won this game and he is the offensive leader. This isn’t the first game he won in the fourth quarter. If Ben keeps this up, he’ll belong in Hall of Fame. So should the Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, as soon as he retires. He deserves it.

• James Harrison is amazing. I saw him smile for the first time on Sunday. After his touchdown return, I would’ve given him MVP. (Although, he acted like a bonehead and punched somebody.) This is the same guy the Steelers cut after he was undrafted. He is the ultimate never give up story. He’s been amazing all year, starting with the fact that he’s the 2008 Defensive MVP. His fellow linebacker, Woodley, is really a monster. If I was Kurt Warner, I’d be scared for my health.

• I really expected a big game from Troy Polamalu on Sunday (MVP for number 43 at Super Bowl 43. Feeling it?) I’m pretty bummed he did nothing. He had such a big AFC Championship game, too.

• People always said that Ken Whisenhunt had an advantage over the Steelers because he knew the plays. But if that were the case, wouldn’t the reverse be true and Steelers’ defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau would carry the same advantage? I’d still take Mike Tomlin over Whisenhunt any day. I will give Whisenhunt credit for his work in Arizona and he’s a much better offensive coordinator that the current Steelers coordinator Bruce Arians.

• If I could have any other NFL player on my team, I’d pick Larry Fitzgerald. He never seemed to develop a huge ego and has amazing hands. I’d pay big bucks for him and the Cardinals would be mad to let him go. His 64-yard touchdown made me almost break down in tears, but I owe him major props for that catch. That play has been playing in my head since Sunday and won’t stop. It’s a lot like one of those stupid boy band songs that once in your head won’t leave.

• Santonio Holmes was really a great first-round draft pick for the Steelers a couple years back. His performance on the last Steelers drive proved he deserved MVP. His touchdown catch was … wonderful. I’m waiting for the name of the play. (Immaculate touchdown?) I was on the other side of the stadium when it happened. I saw the ball and I just had a feeling it was picked (Ben Roethlisberger apparently had the same reaction.) I couldn’t look and I just look at the crowd. It was dead silent and all of the sudden, the Steelers fans go crazy! Santonio caught it! He caught it! The Steelers win!

• The Cardinals — both fans and players — really are a class act. I didn’t think there would be any Cardinals fans (There were only about 5,000 Seattle fans in Detroit). I’ve never met one Cardnials fan. I assumed they were all bandwagoners with their storybook ending. I have the utmost respect for fans wearing their Cardinals gear after the game and sticking by their team. That is a sign of a true fan. They really represented.

• When the Ravens started losing two weeks ago in the AFC Championship, you could tell they were getting upset and too aggressive. The Cardinals players just kept their cool and played good quality football. If one of the Steelers even blinked, the Vince Lombardi trophy could have just slipped away. There are players on certain teams that I can never have any respect for, such as the Ravens, who suggested they had a bounty against at least two Steelers, and the Patriots for getting caught videotaping the other team’s coaches. In all honesty, if the Cardinals weren’t playing the Steelers, I would have definitely rooted for the Cardinals.

• Although, to set the record straight, there were two things the Cardinals did that really bothered me. The first was repeating “Shock the World! The Cardinals are going to shock the world!” Many teams, including the Steelers three years ago in Super Bowl XL, would go around saying that. No, it’s not a huge deal, but it really got under my skin. Couldn’t they find their own saying? Also, there was the issue of the Terrible Towel. The Terrible Towel is a Pittsburgh original. First of all, the Cardinals stole the towel and made these wimpy knockoff white towels. Then, the Cardinals actually defaced the Terrible Towel when the Phoenix mayor and mascot sneezed in it. That is just disrespectful. And it should be noted that any team that has defaced the towel (Titans, Bengals, Ravens) have suffered a huge blow to their season.

• Speaking of being bothered, there so many businessmen in attendance. Most of them had no idea what was going on. There were two seats next to me that were actually empty. And it just occurred to me: Why weren’t real fans there? Why weren’t 70,000 hardcore Steelers and Cardinals fans there? Why did these lame people who aren’t huge football fans attend? I was lucky enough to attend two Super Bowls, both of which my favorite team won. This experience is so rare and so unforgettable, and I wish all of those hardcore Steelers fans — the ones who check news updates every day, never miss a game, and always dress in black and gold — got to go to the game. I wouldn’t have wanted to seen Super Bowl XLII between the Giants and the Patriots. I really wish that next year, the NFL gives more opportunities for the regular people to get in. Because, honestly, I don’t think most of those corporate people even cared who won.

Most people I’ve talked to said this was a great game and it was. This is a game that we will all be watching in 50 years. It was just unbelievable. Steelers, hold up those rings and before you know it, it will be time for the lucky seven for number seven, Yeah, it was a sloppy game, but it was the best Super Bowl I’ve seen.

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