My Most Excellent Superbowl Adventure
I was sitting there in my usual spot in section 227, with my nephew Jay. It
was a snowy cold day of 26°. The Ravens just got the ball back with about 4:39 left in the game.
Ahhhh . . . . I remember it so clear. Joe Flacco dropped back to pass, spots Derrick Mason to his
right and lets the ball rip. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere comes Troy Polamalu flying through
the air snatching that Flacco pass. Troy then took off for a 40-yard touchdown return,
weaving and darting to the end zone making the score 23-14, Pittsburgh. Heinz field erupted
in a sea of terrible towels, the noise was deafening. When the clocked ticked down to 00:00
you could here the Chant. "Na Na Na Na . . Na Na Na Na . . Hey Hey Hey . .Goodbye" and at that point I knew "Here we go, Steelers, Here we go. . . Pittsburgh goin to the superbowl. . . here we go!
So starts my most excellent Superbowl adventure. It was early Wednesday morning January 28th, the program director (wife) and myself left for the Pittsburgh International Airport early in a snow and sleet storm. As we sat at our gate, we wondered if our flight was departing_Pittsburgh or not. However the announcement came and we boarded the plane. I looked out the window and the ground crew was performing a final wing deicing and then the nudge, the oh so sweet nudge of the plane being pushed away from the terminal. In a few minutes we were airborne and I looked back thought the window and said to myself, "See Ya". We landed in Orlando late-morning to sunny sky's and a humid 82°. The first thing I noticed was the sweat on my forehead as we got our rental car. We set the Garmin up and off we went West on Route 4. We traveled about 65 miles to Lakeland where we stayed at The LaQuinta Inn which was about 25 miles East of Tampa. After we got settled in our hotel, I pulled out my Superbowl Intenary and the first item on the list was to find Guy Junker, Stan Savran and Scott Paulsen. They were doing a ESPN_Live_Broadcast at the Belleview Biltmore Resort in Clearwater. I got my picture taken with the guys and they did a shout out to the Pittsburgh radio audience for Cindy and me. Then we were off to find a Steeler bar or two. The
first place the Garmin lead us to was O'Brien's Irish Pub. There we meet some fans from Pittsburgh, that we got to know. The crowd was small so we left and followed our friends to Tank's_Tap_Room. Now here was
a Steelers bar. KDKA was camped out there for the week and Steeler fans were everywhere. On Friday we decided to hit the NFL_experience. We spent the entire day there and before we left we found the parking lot where we would be parking for the superbowl. We then plotted an escape route to lead us around the traffic on game day and saved it to the Garmin. Then it was back_to_Tank's_Tap_Room for another round of Steeler partying. Well the big day arrived and off to Raymond James Stadium we went for a Superbowl Tailgate. When we arrived at our parking spot, the first thing you noticed was no Cardinal fans. None Na..Ta nothing. There were black -n- gold tailgaters everywhere, no mater where you looked. Every once in a while some Cardinal fans would park, however they would scurried away like mice. After some hours of tailgating. I noticed people walking south and wondered what was going on. It was a mass_Steeler_migration moving towards the Stadium. As we joined the migration it got bigger and bigger until it was a ocean of people. When we got through the main gate, we were greeted by what looked like miles of crowd gating. After going back and forth for what seemed hours, we arrived at the first of many check points. I got through the first few, however at the walk through metal detector, I set it off. Well when the security_Nazis manning the hand wand detectors took one look at me they obvious decided this guy can not be real. After setting off the wand a few times, the guy said I would have to leave if I can not pass the wand scan. Then he looked down at my shoes and saw the little NFL pins on my shoe laces. He just looked disgusted and waved me on by. I passed the last check point with a breeze and I was in. The first order of business was Party-about which involves finding Steeler friends and beer. There was plenty of both to be had. We made our way to our seats and watched the pregame festivities. Sitting next to me was two guys, one was a Giants fan and the other was a Jets fan. It was just weird to see fans neither Steeler or Cardinal. He took one look at me and I could tell the he was unhappy that I was sitting beside him . So I started making general football talk and that loosened him up a bit. After the player introductions was the coin toss and the Steelers won that. In the 1st_quarter the Steelers took the opening kickoff and moved down the field on a 71-yard scoring drive ending in a Jeff Reed 18-yard field goal to take the 3–0 lead. In the 2nd_quarter the Steelers marched 58 yards and scored when Gary Russell went into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 10–0. The Cardinals got going for the first time midway through the second quarter as a 45-yard completion from Kurt Warner to Anquan Boldin moved the ball to the Steelers 1-yard line. On the next play, Warner threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight
end Ben Patrick. The Cardinals were again on the move marching the ball to the Steeler 1-yard line.
But with 18 seconds left, Warner's pass was intercepted in the end zone by linebacker James Harrison,
who then took off down the sideline for the longest play in Super Bowl history, a 100-yard return for a touchdown, increasing the Steelers lead to 17–7 at halftime. The halftime show featured Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, with The Miami Horns and a gospel choir. Their halftime performance consisted of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" , "Born to Run", "Working on a Dream" and "Glory Days". The Steelers started off the 3rd_quarter with another long scoring drive. Moved the ball 79 yards in 14 plays and had to settle for another Jeff Reed field goal to give them a 13-point lead, 20–7. In the 4th_quarter, Warner then led the Cardinals down the field on an eight-play, 87-yard scoring drive, making the score 20–14. The Cardinals got two more on a holding in the end zone by jeff Hartwig making the score 20-16. On the ensuing free kick the Cardinals took over on their own 36 and Warner threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald on a post route to give the Cardinal their first lead of the game, 23–20. As the chants rose up from the Steeler Nation, Here we go Steelers, here we go. Here we go Steelers, here we go. We all knew it is not over until it is over. With 2:37 left in the game and
two timeouts remaining. Roethlisberger then completed two passes to Holmes for 27 yards. After an 11-yard reception by Nate Washington and a 4-yard run by Roethlisberger, he completed a 40-yard pass to Holmes at the Cardinals 6-yard line. Two plays later, Holmes caught a pass in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown, managing to land with his toes inbounds before falling out of bounds. After a booth review, the touchdown pass stood. Reed's ensuing extra point made the score 27–23 with 35 seconds remaining. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley forced a fumble while sacking Warner, which defensive end Brett Keisel recovered, giving the ball back to Pittsburgh with five seconds left. Roethlisberger took a knee, sealing the Steelers' NFL record sixth Super Bowl title. Steelers win!