DETROIT--The Pittsburgh Steelers finally have "one for the thumb" and they did it in front of a sea of terrible-towel waving fans at Detroit's Ford Field. Thanks to three big offensive plays and a defense that was able to bend without breaking, Pittsburgh rolled to a 21-10 victory in Super Bowl XL and its first title in 26 years. "It's surreal right now," said head coach Bill Cowher about bringing the city its fifth Lombardi Trophy.
"It is a rewarding feeling to give that trophy to Mr. Rooney. That's what he brought me here to do.
It really does complete a void that's been there." Helped by just a 285-mile drive from Pittsburgh to Detroit, Steelers fans decked out in black-and-gold jerseys lit up the streets of Motown all weekend. From the NFL Experience to the Winter Blast to the vast array of parties held each night, chants of "Go Steelers Go" rang out from every nook and cranny of the city. In fact, some reports listed the advantage inside the stadium at 25 to 1 while places such as the Hockeytown Café and Chef Steff's served as headquarters for hordes of Steelers fans without tickets. Six minutes into the fourth quarter, with the Steelers leading 14-10, Antwaan Randle El threw one of the Super Bowl's all-time greatest passes to Hines Ward for a touchdown that secured victory. "I was so open," said Ward, who was named the game's MVP, "that I just kept thinking, 'Please, ball get here, huh!' It just seemed like it happened in such slow motion, you know? But it was a great play call, at just the right time, something that we had run before and had some success with, and it worked again.
It was kind of typical of the night. We sputtered some, and gave the ball away a few times, but we made big plays. And big plays in big games is what it's all about." In addition to dominating the Detroit landscape in the days leading up to kickoff, Pittsburgh also dominated the Super Bowl XL storylines. The Steelers, the AFC's No. 6 seed, became the first team in NFL postseason history to go on the road and beat the No.
1, No. 2, and No. 3 seeds. The three-game run was enough to make Pittsburgh a four-point favorite over the Seahawks, the NFC's top seed. Even the pre-game Super Bowl MVP celebration had a bit of a Western, Penn.
, controversy as Joe Montana (raised in Monongahela) and Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw were both no shows. The duo combined for eight Super Bowl wins and five MVPs, yet chose to pass on participating for their own reasons. Of course, there was also some local griping about the Rolling Stones playing halftime as well as the National Anthem pairing of Aaron Neville and Aretha Franklin. But no story was bigger than Jerome Bettis returning to his hometown of Detroit to compete for an NFL Championship in his final game.
Bettis, the NFL's fifth all-time rushing leader, is headed to Hall of Fame and considered retiring a year earlier. However, he chose to come back for one more season. "It's been an incredible ride," said Bettis after the game. "I came back to win a championship, and now I have to bid farewell." In 1933, Art Rooney purchased the Steelers for $2,500; about the same price many folks paid for their Super Bowl XL ticket.
And while the game may not be remembered for its on-field brilliance, it will be long remembered for its big plays and the Steelers earning "one for the thumb." In addition to Randle El's pass, there was Willie Parker's Super Bowl record-setting 75-yard touchdown run just 22 seconds into the second half as well as a 37-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Ward on a third-and-28 play that set up the team's first score. Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers are Super Bowl Champions for the fifth time and no NFL team has won more. "We got the win, and that's all that matters," Roethlisberger said. "It was absolutely awesome to come up here and win one for Jerome.
By: Keith Gentili