Monday, February 02, 2009

Random Thoughts from Steeler Nation

Now that I've had a chance to exhale after what was perhaps too close a call for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, I thought I would throw out some thoughts that came to mind during and after the game.

Leslie and I were talking during the last minute or so; the celebration was underway shortly thereafter, with horns honking and fireworks going off in her small suburb as well as the usual bad craziness in Oakland and the South Side. My friend Steve is a Shift Commander at Allegheny County 9-1-1, and was relating to me some of the public safety preparations in place, win or lose.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin, asked after the game what he was thinking when Larry Fitzgerald scored for the Cardinals with a little over 2 minutes left, said:
"I cannot say enough about these guys and what they are willing to do for each other and for Steeler nation..I was thinking if they were going to score that it would be fast, so there was a lot of time left...Steelers football is 60 minutes...It's not gonna be pretty, you can throw style points out the window, but these guys are gonna fight to the end."
Tomlin is a man of passion, honor, and integrity; it's easy to see how he impressed the Rooney family that hired him as only the 3rd Steeler Head Coach in 40 years. There's a formula in place within the Steeler organization that allows and encourages people to excel according to their strengths, but also expects those strengths to grow and be consistently displayed..

The rewards are rich ones, but for guys like Tomlin there are intangibles at work. The material trappings, the atta-boys, the fame and media attention, all pale in comparison to having a vision in your mind for success and seeing that vision brought to fruition for the glory of your chosen profession. There's a personal angle to this that I may explore more tomorrow.

To give some props to the Cardinals, they played at the same level they did throughout the post-season. Kurt Warner steady and consistent. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most skilled players in the NFL, and definitely the cutest. They did a fine job.

Ben Roethlisberger continues to excel as a journeyman quarterback of consistency, poise, and distinction. Some of his improvisations and responses to pressure were just magnificent. Fortunately, the Steeler offensive line was equally consistent, providing Big Ben enough time to work his magic.

James Harrison, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year who scored on an interception return that is the longest play in Super Bowl history, played his college ball at Kent State University.
Among those who played their college football there as well include Steeler legend Jack Lambert.
In Lambert-esque fashion, Harrison was penalized for a nasty personal foul in the second half.

Santonio Holmes, the game's MVP, switched to another gear for this game. I thought it interesting that the Holmes continued to handle punt returns (he returned one for a TD against San Diego on Jan. 10), but the Steelers put their larger running backs in to handle kickoffs.

It was great to see Joe Namath, the pride of Beaver Falls, walk up with the Lombardi Trophy and be met by many Steeler players who wanted to touch it before it got to the podium.

It's time for bed. Early start for work tomorrow. Enjoy your Groundhog Day.

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