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Old 02-07-2011, 12:10 AM   #1
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Default Mehno: Cheesed off after 'Stairway' denied

Mehno: Cheesed off after 'Stairway' denied
By: John Mehno
Beaver County Times

Monday February 7, 2011 12:25 AM

Seven can wait. Sorry, after a week’s worth of “Stairway to Seven” and “Seventh Heaven” and all the other plays on the Steelers’ quest for a seventh Super Bowl victory, it was inevitable.

People who had emotion invested in the outcome don’t want to hear this, but Super Bowl XLV was a darned good football game.

The Green Bay Packers won 31-25, and they deserved to. They were the better team, and they played better.

It went back and forth, although the Steelers could never quite catch up after falling behind 21-3.

When you strip away the overblown halftime spectacular, the funny commercials and the day-long pre-game show, the Super Bowl is a football game.

And what do we know about football games?

We know that turnovers are deadly, and that the line between winning and losing is sometimes razor thin.

The Steelers turned the ball over three times, leading directly to 21 Green Bay points.

Rookie receiver Emmanuel Sanders was the only one who officially sustained a foot injury, but the Steelers spent most of the game collectively shooting themselves in the foot.

None of the self-destructive mistakes was bigger than Rashard Mendenhall’s third-quarter fumble.

Green Bay was reeling, and Mendenhall’s fumble not only gave the Packers the ball, it gave them a pulse.

The swing was palpable, and although the Steelers fought back, they never really recovered from losing the ball in Packers’ territory.

The Pittsburgh mistakes started early, when Christina Aguilera, the only former Rochester resident ever to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, skated over some of the lyrics.

Patriotism aside, it was probably just as well. At the pace she established, the kickoff was in danger of being pushed back to 7 o’clock.

Ben (Piano Man) Roethlisberger never seemed to be especially sharp, and it looked as though he was short-arming the ball after being tackled in the first quarter.

Fox analyst Troy Aikman, who knows something about quarterbacking, never mentioned any change in Roethlisberger’s throwing motion, so perhaps it was just a mirage.

For the third straight postseason game, an opponent found a way to make deep threat Mike Wallace a non-factor for most of the game. He caught one touchdown pass and was close to another, but Roethlisberger overthrew him.

The Packers held on, despite losing Charles Woodson from their secondary and No. 1 receiver Donald Driver during the game.

Although the Steelers led the NFL in sacks during the season, they couldn’t find a way to get to Aaron Rodgers often enough.

For whatever reason, Troy Polamalu was rarely a factor — maybe it was his bad Achilles tendon, or maybe it was a Green Bay scheme that neutralized his impact.

Whatever the case, the flying hair that mattered belonged to Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews.

There was a play late in the game that makes you wonder if players disengage their brains, even though the stakes are as high as they can get.

Special teams player Keyaron Fox shoved a Green Bay player in full view of an official on the Packers’ last kickoff.

He got a personal foul penalty that cost 13 yards on the Steelers’ last drive at a time when every yard is precious.

But, yeah, he showed that guy he wasn’t going to take anything.

The weekend turned into something of a Friday the 13th troika for Pittsburgh sports fans — the Steelers lost the Super Bowl, the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin was found to have a knee injury that could end his season, and the Pirates sent their equipment south to start spring training.

Triple yoi.

It’s an uncertain future for the Steelers since the NFL labor agreement is about to expire and the storm clouds have been building.

Reality is that the Steelers are an older team, especially on defense, and they’re in a division where Baltimore is just half a step behind them.

Who knows what the future holds?

And there’s this, too.

If and when the Steelers get back to the Super Bowl, they’ll dust off all that “Stairway To Seven” and “Seventh Heaven” stuff again.
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