Damn, what a game! Sure must be a great time to be a Steeler fan. First, former Steeler great Rod Woodson is inducted into the Hall of Fame and then the current edition goes out and gets one for the thumb defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl 43. As pundits argue whether this was the best Super Bowl ever, or Big Ben should have been the MVP, or what was the greatest play, let’s step back and give respect where respect is due. The success this top rate organization has had over the years is not a fluke. If you do right by people, you will be rewarded. The Rooney family takes care of its own and now once again, they are champions. It’s that simple.
It’s apropos the Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in Super Bowl 43 because few teams in sports have exercised patience and professionalism which has allowed the franchise to become the best organization in sports. Three coaches since 1969 (each has won a Super Bowl) should not be taken lightly and the Rooneys deserve serious respect for the model of consistency they’ve created.
Most organizations would have caved into media and fan pressure and fired Bill Cowher after a three year 13-26 stretch from 1998-2000. If that wasn’t bad enough, Cowher goes 6-10 in 2003 and the Steelers were at a franchise crossroads. They stood pat and just two years later won their 5th Super Bowl title in Detroit.
Cowher goes 8-8 the next season…resigns (not fired or forced out) and the family instrumental in enacting the NFL Rooney Rule, does the incredible thing of hiring a fiery yet professionally composed coach barely in his thirties who just so happens to be Black. There was mad heat boiling under the surface because of the move and for the Rooney family to give a Black man the keys to their franchise is simply remarkable. Look at football on every level and you will see very few Black coaches though Blacks make up a large percentage of players. Simply put, the Rooneys put their money where their mouth is and cared less about conventional wisdom. Remember, Miami passed over Tomlin for Cam Cameron and Miami’s loss gave Pittsburgh the fame. Makes perfect sense Tomlin will be the first coach to shake President Obama’s hand on the White House lawn; they both have bucked the odds.
Some teams make great moves regardless of what’s at stake. I created a quote to inspire my children: The good are separated from the great simply by the risks they take. The Rooneys never publicly patted themselves on the back after their bold move once again showing class and exemplary diligence to create a model locker room that really isn’t based on winning. The wins come from stressing dedication and discipline individually within the organization dynamic. A dynamic that has washed over the entire city because of its work ethic. Pittsburgh is a beautiful and hard working town because the people give a damn. They don’t make excuses like Philly. If other organizations followed suit, sports would once again become something to be revered by the masses. The Steelers do not do drama and while Joey Porter was beloved, it was time to part ways.
Plax had to go, too.
In Tomlin’s 10-6 initial season, Santonio Holmes fumbled frequently returning kicks, but the Steelers stuck with their 25th pick and he finished with 824 yards receiving. In 2007, Santonio began to show his talent and led the league in average per catch–finishing with 942 yards total. This season had it ups and downs as Holmes was benched after an arrest for marijuana possession. Just imagine if that was Philly, New York or Boston. Would he still be a Steeler or would a mistake he made early in life be blown out of proportion similar to many other mistakes by young kids in sports–Michael Phelps included? Because of the foundation the Steelers are based upon, Santonio fought hard, did all the right things, learned from his terrible mistake and now this is his reward…
Damn…the tip toes. You go boy!
If he doesn’t make that catch the Steelers would have dealt with the press as it has so many times before. The media will not dictate what moves they make and trust the media at large would have called for Santonio’s head. Why don’t other franchises do the same? Why do other franchises let their fan base be influenced by the media and ultimately make quarterback or coaching changes with no back bone to speak of? Why do organizations make moves just because a team doesn’t win the Super Bowl? So out of all the teams in the NFL, a coach is fired because he can’t get his team over the top? Do you realize how absurd that is. We gotta get it back people. It’s just a damn game. It’s cool to have passion for the team you love, but all this pressure blanketed on sports is becoming ludicrous.
Ben Roethlisberger. What more can you say about him? He’s a Steeler quarterback. He doesn’t do it pretty or with stats but the dude a winner. Ben is 26 and has an 8-2 playoff record with two Super Bowl rings? Classic. He gets away from the rush because he knows what’s at stake. Dude doesn’t want to go through another off season after winning his first in 2005. Some people go through things so their lives can be better later on and while some of us just don’t get it, Ben matured to become a clutch field general.
He didn’t do it alone and that’s what makes this franchise grand…
How many times was James Harrison cut and brought back. His will determined his destiny because he has the resolve of a soldier. I couldn’t help but see Reggie White flash green in and out of his frame as Harrison ran down the sideline for what was the turning point in the Super Bowl. The Cardinals had to have that tackle and could not make it because Harrison would not be deterred. It must be mentioned his team sold out to make sure he had a clean running lane. Check the blocks…
The run back is so indicative of how the last 40 years have gone for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I for one wasn’t shocked or surprised of the touch back (think about it).
It’s crazy to think this is a team that played in one playoff game between 1947-1972. After the merger and with the hiring of Chuck Noll, the franchise began to take a turn and become the model it is today. It’s safe to say the basis of this team was cemented in 1974 when Pittsburgh became the only team in NFL history to draft 4 Hall of Fame players in one year (Mike Webster, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Jack Lambert). Between 1969 and 1972, Chuck Noll drafted 5 other Hall of Famers (“Mean” Joe Greene in 1969, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount in 1970, Jack Ham in 1971, Franco Harris in 1972) and the tone was set for future success.
Look at this year: the Steelers ran through the biggest and the best by showing an undeniable will. They could have given up after Philly’s nine sacks, or all of the other sacks Ben Roethlisberger has suffered on their way to the title. They were the most consistent team in the NFL this season. Even though they faced the toughest schedule and all kinds of injuries, here they are. It pains me to see coaching carousels and fans coming down on players for stuff they do in their everyday lives just because they make more money. That’s moronic and while you rarely see the Pittsburgh Steelers in a negative spotlight, they are a family. They are a family that deals with everything the right way. They will not be influenced by the idiosyncrasies of the gossip man that unfortunately has become the voice of our society today and thank God for that.
Before I get off here, I must give props to one Larry Fitzgerald. He plays with more than his soul. He thinks of his deceased Mom on and off daily and it shows on the field. He wants to be the best and this has been evident way before University of Pittsburgh. His mother plays through him and in 11 we are witnessing one of the best coming out parties of any player in any sport. He is a true soul model and I don’t doubt for one second, Pittsburgh brass and fans wouldn’t collectively mind if he was a Steeler.
I was texting my son Gaston throughout the game and I was very moved emotionally by Larry’s performance. He matched Pittsburgh’s intensity step for step, sweat for sweat.
He wasn’t the only Steeler who isn’t a Steeler who showed and proved their mettle.
Thank you Jennifer…