Monday, February 2, 2009

STEELER FANS ENTER STATE OF RAPTURE



rapture rap·ture n.
1. The state of being transported by a lofty emotion; ecstasy.
2. An expression of ecstatic feeling. Often used in the plural.
3. The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven.
To enrapture. Sentence usuage: The Steeler fans were lifted to a level of rapture never experienced before in winning the coveted "six-pack" trophy.



Yeah, that about describes it.

In a game for the ages, a championship in which they pulled ahead of the rest of the NFL by winning their sixth Lombardi Trophy of the 43 that have been awarded (13.95% of all Lombardis ever manufactured by the way) the Pittsburgh Steelers once again showed the nation, no, the entire world, why they are the greatest sports franchise in existence and why their fans idolize them as they do.

Their rabid fan base was not disappointed. They had the bejezzus scared out of them, true, but "Mr. Clutch" pulled it out again.

Above: President Obama declared late last night that what used to be called a "clutch" is officially being renamed a "Roethlisberger".

Ben Roethlisberger pulled another Houdini escape in the last two minutes of a game that was so compelling that words cannot do it justice. Imagine this: In the aftermath of this contest that one day may be considered the greatest game of all time, there were three plays that were ranked by "ESPN" in the top ten of all time SuperBowl plays! #10 was Fitzgerald's 64 yard touchdown that gave the Cardinals their first lead with 2:40 left. #3 was NFL Defensive MVP James Harrison's interception and 100 yard return for a touchdown as the clock struck 0:00 in the first half and of course, #1 was the combination Picasso-Michaelangelo-DiVinci pass from Big Ben to an outstretched Santonio Holmes. This pass was so perfect that three Cardinals defenders couldn't get at it and Holmes footwork and hands were so amazing that even the predictable review that now accompanies every Steeler touchdown couldn't overturn it. It was that good. No, scratch that, it was even better than that.


Above: Big Ben struck midnight on the Cardinals when the Steelers scored the game-winner with just :35 seconds left in the fourth quarter..

After watching about two hours of post game coverage (I was too wired to fall asleep) I came up with the following 22 conclusions:

1) I have been fortunate enough to watch all six Steeler SuperBowl conquests (and yes, their lone loss) and I used to feel that SuperBowl XIII was the best one...It's now second-best in my estimation. The Steelers held off a furious Cowboys rally late in that game, but never had to pull the heroics that occured last night.

2) Ben Roethlisberger is already at John Elway status for being a clutch quarterback only it took Elway twice as long to get there. Think about that.

3) Arizona's offense was incredible. To the Steelers credit, they kept a lid on it for three quarters, but they wilted in the fourth and needed the offense to bail them out. Without being able to run the ball, somehow they did it.

4) I'll never be able to figure out how they won this championship having such a weak offensive line. It's a further testament to Roethlisberger.

5) Santonio was amazing in that last drive (four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown) but I have a problem with Ben not getting the MVP. What does this guy have to do to win one? How much more heroic can a quarterback be? Ben was very classy and didn't whine about it.

6) James Harrison's interception and run is undoubtedly the greatest defensive play in SuperBowl history.

7) The Steelers conducted themselves with humility in their victory. This is why they are so loved by their fans. Santonio needs to lose the salt shaker routine with the football however.

8) Kurt Warner was so gracious as a losing quarterback that I have become a big fan of his as a result.

9) Larry Fitzgerald is an alien. He has to be. Tell me one other player who goes up to get a ball and catches it every time. His hands are like vises.

Above: This is what Larry Fitzgerald looks like when he's not using his "cloaking device". Notice the telltale dreadlocks and muscular arms. He first gave his true identity away by making one catch after another that no other human could possibly make.

10) Mitch Berger's dad was spotted sitting in the stands crying after the game. Yeah, Berger's not a good kicker by a longshot, but he's a champion now. He'll have a ring to prove it too.

11) Mike Tomlin has got to be one of the most riveting speakers I have ever heard. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during his job interview and listened to the Rooney's comments afterwards.

Above: Hines always wears his emotions on his sleeve or even his cheeks. Yesterday's tears, however, were tears of joy. He played in a very limited role because of his knee injury.

12) This SuperBowl was so perfect in every way, from the pregame including the singing by Faith Hill and Jennifer Hudson, to the honoring of the USair flight 1549 crew, the six jet flyover (always my personal favorite) General Petraeus,Joe "Willie" Namath and "The Boss" at halftime. Sandwich around all of this the most exciting game in history and you have, quite simply, the NFL's finest hour as an organization. That takes in a lot of games.

13) John Madden called it, "A real SUPER, SuperBowl."

14) Bob Costas said that the Steelers, "Perhaps rank as THE model franchise in all of American sports.

15) Dan Rooney, when asked if he has room in his trophy case for another Lombardi Trophy responded quickly, "We'll make room."

16) Big Ben described the pass play to Santonio that he called in the huddle as, "Scramble left, scramble right, get open."

17) Ben is the second-youngest qb to win two SuperBowls (Brady youngest).

18) The Steelers have now won six Lombardi's to the 49ers and Cowboys five.

19) Why would Pitt students want to emulate the Hoopleheads of West Virginia and start burning furniture in the streets? Hey, have fun, but don't light fires to demonstrate your joy, that's just plain stupid.

20) I loved Art Rooney standing in the background while his Dad, Dan accepted the trophy. "You never know how many more chances he'll get to do that," he commented. A truly grounded comment by a man who comes from a wonderfully-grounded family. That's another reason why the Steelers are so loved.

21) Mike Tomlin calling himself, "The most blessed coach." True Mike, and now you know why we're the most blessed fans.

22) The Steelers should have quite the lovefest whenever they get to visit the White House and new President Barack Obama. Obama said yesterday that, "The Steelers, after his beloved Bears, are his favorite team. Don't forget," he added, "Dan Rooney was out campaigning for me. Franco Harris was waving a Terrible Towel at rallies for me."

Above: Art II knows that you won't always have your Dad (or Granddad) around to accept the Lombardi Trophy. He's to be congratulated for honoring his dad's lifetime of accomplishments. In the photo above, his grandfather, "The Chief", Art Rooney Sr. accepts their first Lombardi Trophy from then Commissioner Pete Rozelle after winning SuperBowl IX, their first of now six championships.


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All-Time SuperBowl Records

TEAM............ WINS................................LOSSES....... RECORD

Pittsburgh Steelers IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL, XLIII.......... XXX.........6-1
San Francisco 49ers XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXIX...................... 5-0
Dallas Cowboys VI, XII, XXVII, XXVIII, XXX........V, X, XIII..... 5-3
Green Bay Packers I, II, XXXI................................ XXXII.. 3-1
New York Giants XXI, XXV, XLII........................... XXXV....... 3-1
Oakland/LA Raiders XI, XV, XVIII........................ II, XXXVII.. 3-2
Washington Redskins XVII, XXII, XXVI.................. VII, XVIII.... 3-2
New Eng. Patriots XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX.. XX,XXXI,XLII... 3-3
Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts V, XLI....................III........... 2-1
Miami Dolphins VII, VIII..............................VI, XVII, XIX,. 2-3
Denver Broncos XXXII, XXXIII................ XII, XXI, XXII, XXIV 2-4
Baltimore Ravens XXXV........................... .................... 1-0
New York Jets III...................................................... 1-0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers XXXVII.......................................... 1-0
Chicago Bears XX........................................... XLI......... 1-1
Kansas City Chiefs IV..................................... I............ 1-1
St. Louis/LA Rams XXXIV............................ XIV, XXXVI....... 1-2
Minnesota Vikings................................... IV, VIII, IX, XI 0-4
Buffalo Bills............................... XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII 0-4
Philadelphia Eagles........................................ XV, XXXIX 0-2
Cincinnati Bengals........................................ XVI, XXIII 0-2
Tennessee Titans......................................... XXXIV...... 0-1
Seattle Seahawks ..........................................XL.........0-1
San Diego Chargers....................................... XXIX....... 0-1
Carolina Panthers...................................... XXXVIII...... 0-1
Atlanta Falcons .........................................XXXIII...... 0-1
Arizona Cardinals....................................... XLIII....... 0-1

Never Appearing In a SuperBowl:

Cleveland Browns
Detroit Lions
Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints

Above: All time SuperBowl records. Interesting statistics: 31 of 43 (72.09%) Lombardi Trophies have been won by just eight teams (25% of teams)! Five teams have never been to the SuperBowl )15.6%), while a total of 15 teams have never won a SuperBowl game, an astounding 46.87%! Biggest SuperBowl losers? Vikings and Bills (both 0-4).

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