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Old 02-02-2009, 12:07 AM   #1
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Default Steelers, Cardinals Set Another Standard

Steelers, Cardinals Set Another Standard
By JOE HENDERSON | The Tampa Tribune

Published: February 1, 2009

TAMPA You may now stop watching Super Bowls.

No need to try and top what we just saw. Save your breath. Save your energy.

A lot of people, including me, said there was no buzz about Super Bowl XLIII. What were we thinking? You will never see a better one than the one Pittsburgh and Arizona staged Sunday.

How good was it?

It was so good that the longest touchdown in Super Bowl history a 100-yard interception return by Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison on the last play of the first half was one just of a handful of artery-popping moments in what just might have been the best of the 43 of these games ever played.

The decisive blow was a 6-yard tippy-toed catch by Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes, the game's MVP, with 35 seconds to go, catching the ball over triple coverage and somehow managing to stay inbounds. It wiped out a 3-point Arizona lead and gave Pittsburgh a 27-23 victory.

We all need to take a deep breath now.

Arizona needs a hug.

The Cardinals were heroic, wiping out a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the NFL's top-ranked defense. It looked like they had won the game when nonpareil receiver Larry Fitzgerald went 64 yards with a pass from Kurt Warner for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:37 to play.

But then Ben Roethlisberger, who had been dormant for much of the second half, led Pittsburgh on an eight-play, 78-yard drive to immortality. The Steelers aren't really built for such things, but you couldn't have told it on that drive. He hit Holmes for 40 yards to put the ball at Arizona's 6, and two plays later Holmes made a catch for the ages.

Harrison's Huge Play

We can't forget the massive play by Harrison at the end of the half.

For as long as there are televisions, video tape and ESPN, Warner will see Harrison intercept the pass at the goal line, just as Arizona was about to take the lead. He'll see Harrison not the swiftest sort pick his way down the sideline at Raymond James Stadium like a guy with no shoes trying to run on hot pavement.

He'll see Harrison tumble into the end zone to complete the 100-yard return, the longest scoring run in Super Bowl history.

And he'll know that turned the game around, leading to a 27-23 Pittsburgh win, a sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy for the Steelers, and the unquestioned designation of Titletown for the city they represent.[/B]

It also proved the adage that you really do win with defense.

You have never seen a play like that in 42 previous Super Bowl games. Harrison got huge blocks by cornerback Deshea Townsend and linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Even after the official signaled touchdown, the celebration was delayed by a booth review of the play. It was close, too. Had the score been overturned, the half would have been over and Arizona curiously would have had a shot of momentum over a bullet seriously dodged.

Instead, the Cardinals were given a gut punch.

The catch by David Tyree of the Giants last year against New England is about the only one that deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence. Harrison, the NFL's defensive player of the year, totally snookered Warner on the key play.

It came just as Arizona was driving to take the lead at halftime. The Cardinals looked like they had taken Pittsburgh's best punch, rallying after falling behind 10-0. They reached the Steelers' 1-yard line with time for probably three plays they were out of timeouts - as Warner dropped to pass.

At worst they would get a field goal to tie the game.

Check that.

At worst, they would have a catastrophe.

Yeah, you could argue that Harrison's play was the best ever in a Super Bowl.

Until Santonio Holmes stepped up.

Super Steelers

[B]So once again we are left to consider an organization that is the best in football.

The six Super Bowl championships speak as testament to Pittsburgh's stability and patience. In that sense, this championship team really didn't look that much different than the Steelers of yore.

They have followed the same basic formula for decades rib-busting defense, just enough offense to be successful, and resolute faith that they're doing the right thing.

And they never quit.

No one doubts that now.

Nor do they doubt the standing of the organization with a six-pack of Super Bowl rings.

It is the stuff of dreams.

Or, in Arizona's case, the stuff of nightmares.

But what a game.

It was one to be savored and saved. This is why they make such a fuss about the Super Bowl. This is why Pittsburgh defines what football really is.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers, Cardinals Set Another Standard



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Old 02-02-2009, 12:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers, Cardinals Set Another Standard

i really didnt think this game could match last year's from an unbiased fan's point of view.. but holy crap.. it was even more exciting in all honesty. football fans saw arguably the two greatest super bowls in history 2 years in a row now. thats great for the nfl.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers, Cardinals Set Another Standard

It honestly wasn't that exciting until the 4th quarter. Yes, it was good. Harrison's return was EPIC. But as a whole, it was...meh. Then the 4th quarter started and all hell broke loose.

And I loved the way it ended. That last drive defined Ben's legacy as our quarterback.
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