It's two hours later, and I'm still giddy. I'm also exhausted, hoarse, and just plain drained from watching that game. The score might have been 21-10, but it was a much closer game than the score indicates, or at least it felt that way. I nearly had a few heart attacks, and during the 3rd quarter and into the 4th I had to go to the kitchen to wash dishes, I was so worked up. By coincidence or superstition or whatever, while I was working, the Steelers started turning the game around. When I ran out of things to wash, I had to go back to watching the game, and then the Seahawks made it a little more interesting. It was not a pretty game to watch, and the Steelers nearly gave it up a few times, but it doesn't matter.
THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS WON THE SUPER BOWL!!!
When the game was over, I screamed at the top of my lungs (my neighbors must think a maniac lives here) and then played the "Steelers Polka" and danced around the living room. I waved my Terrible Towel, shouted "Go Steelers!" at some passing fans, and made some celebratory phone calls to friends and family. I know *I* didn't win a championship tonight, but it's a fantastic feeling to watch my team win one. That's why I'm a fan. That's what it's all about.
I'm beyond happy that Hines Ward was the MVP. This guy was drafted the same year as Troy Edwards, only six rounds later, and despite outplaying Edwards in camp and in games, he couldn't get on the field for his first two seasons. Finally the team realized that Edwards was a bust and Ward was the real deal, and he became the big-game receiver the team had needed. Throughout his career, he's exemplified the Steeler way of playing the game. He's not flashy or brash, he just gets the job done, and in spectacular fashion.
Antwaan Randle El had that one great touchdown pass, and a few other excellent plays, but I'm surprised that nothing else came out of his nasty tackle in the first half. I thought for sure he was coming off the field on a stretcher, but not only did he get back up, he came back to make that unbelieveable touchdown pass on the run to Hines Ward. I hope the team can re-sign him, but I won't be the least bit surprised if he goes to another team. That's OK, we can always find playmakers. Same goes for Ken Whisenhunt, the offensive coordinator, who is likely to become the head coach for the Oakland Raiders. I thought Mike Mularkey's departure was a bad omen, but Whisenhunt came in and turned out to be a great offensive mind. Bill Cowher has a great record with assistants, so I'm sure we'll do OK if Whisenhunt leaves.
Speaking of Bill Cowher, I think this Super Bowl championship punches his ticket to Canton. 14 years coaching the Steelers, six AFC championship games, two Super Bowl appearances, and one title (and maybe more with this team... do I dare to dream?). He's got everything on his resume that he should need to make the Hall of Fame when he retires. And he's not done yet. The guy is only in his 40s and is now set for life with the Steelers. He could tank the next five seasons and he'll keep his job and I'll support that. He's won the big game. That's all he needed.
I can't believe that Ben Roethlisberger is not even 24 years old and he's taken the Steelers to a Super Bowl championship. Unbelieveable. I was excited when they drafted him two years ago, knowing even then that he was going to be a special player. But I had NO idea that he'd be this good this soon. He's got a long career ahead of him, and I hope it includes a few more titles for the Steelers. The AFC is a tough conference, and he's got some great quarterbacks for company -- Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Carson Palmer among them -- but I like his chances.
Finally, Jerome Bettis retires from pro football as a champion. What an amazing ending to what was already a Hall of Fame career. More than anyone else on the team, Jerome Bettis has been THE Steeler for ten seasons. Just a great, great guy and a fabulous football player. Congratulations, Jerome, and thanks for all those wonderful years and pounding runs through the line.
I have no idea what to do next. I'm definitely wearing my Steelers cap to work tomorrow, and I might just wear my Terrible Towel like a cape. Even now (12:35 AM), it's still draped over my shoulder. As with every year, I'm sad that the football season is over, but what a great way to go out. The party at my house was a hit again this year. James' chili was just as good, if not better, than last year, and our homemade pierogies got rave reviews. I think I scared some of my guests to the point that they'll never watch football with me again, but at least I've given them some great stories to tell their friends. I have to try to go to sleep now, but I don't think I'll be sleeping too much. I'm still keyed up. What a great, great night.