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Old 01-21-2009, 09:36 AM   #1
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Default Bires: Steelers believe in Obama

Bires: Steelers believe in Obama
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 1:13 AM EST

PITTSBURGH — If the Steelers win the Super Bowl, there’s a good chance Mike Tomlin will get a very important phone call. The White House may be calling.

Over the years, U.S. presidents have been known to call coaches of championship teams. If Barack Obama follows suit, the first team he’ll congratulate as president will be the winner of Super Bowl XLIII.

If the Steelers win and Obama does call Tomlin, it would be our country’s first African-American president congratulating the second black coach to win a Super Bowl.

How’s that for history?

“In regards to potentially getting a phone call (from President Obama), I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “I’m just trying to put together a decent game plan at this point.”

For an hour or so Tuesday, Tomlin set aside his preparations for the Super Bowl match-up against the Arizona Cardinals. Like millions of Americans, Tomlin was glued to a television at team headquarters to watch Obama’s inauguration ceremony.

Typically, Tomlin’s weekly press briefings begin at noon. But yesterday, it was pushed back. Chairman Dan Rooney gave everyone associated with the team the chance to watch the historic inauguration on any of the many TVs on display at the Steelers’ administration/football complex on the South Side.

Even in the lobby, a small crowd that included former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis had gathered to watch.

Rooney, who endorsed Obama during the election campaign, was at team headquarters, too, watching the inauguration. But on Monday night, he was in Washington, D.C., for a private “Yes We Did Celebration” party that was part of the inauguration festivities.

Rooney even gave Obama a game ball from the Steelers’ 23-14 win over the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

“What we are doing here today pales in comparison to what’s going on in our nation’s capital, President Obama’s inauguration,” Tomlin said. “As a citizen and a parent, the hope that he potentially brings to the table is exciting … the hope for the future, the hope for our children, I’m more excited about that than anything else going on right now.”

The morning after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, then-president George Bush called Rooney to congratulate him.

Since Obama is a self-proclaimed Steelers fan, surely he’ll call either Tomlin or Rooney or both if the Steelers win another Super Bowl.

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