I’m sitting here writing this entry watching the Pro Bowl. Never did get why they have an all-star game for football. Tough to play this violent game at 3/4 speed.
Anyway, onto the topic of the day and I have to admit that I am a bit of “geek” when it comes to the Super Bowl. I think all guys have some sort of hobby or thing they get geeky about, whether they know even the most trivial items. My geek thing is the Super Bowl. This goes beyond knowing what happens when the Steelers play in this game. I know more about the Super Bowl that I know about my own life.
This game got my attention in 1979, when the Steelers and Cowboys squared off in Super Bowl XIII. I wasn’t a hardcore Steeler fan at the time. I was a kid growing up in Connecticut who quickly became enamored with the game and the spectacle. While I knew little about football at the time, I knew this was big. It was great game decided, of all things, a dropped pass by the Cowboys Jackie Smith that might forced the game to overtime.
As the years went on, I made sure I was somewhere to watch the game from start to finish. I didn’t care about the parties, the commercials. I just wanted to see the spectacle. When the Bears and Patriots met in Super Bowl XX, I was in the perfect location to cash in on my first Super Bowl bet. I mean I lived 45 minutes from Foxborough, Massachusetts and I was convinced Chicago would win convincingly.
As the years went on, college and the work world, I wondered if I would ever get actually see a Super Bowl in person. A job offer from WTAE was my ticket to Super Bowl XXX, covering the Steelers and Cowboys ( a rematch of the first Super Bowl I had ever seen ). I then began to realize the adage of “how rare an opportunity” it is to go the Super Bowl since the Steelers didn’t go again for a decade. However, I was there for the magic carpet ride that ended in Detroit at Super Bowl XL.
Three years later, I was there to witness two of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history in Tampa. James Harrison’s electrifying interception return before the half … and Ben Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl winning pass to Santonio Holmes. Now I’m going back again with the Steelers. My fourth Super Bowl. Amazing for a kid who is more than a fan of the game.
I used to collect programs from each game until they started asking for $15 for a program ( really?). More recently I have collected the DVD hilights of each game … as well as the “America’s Game” series in which NFL Films does a masterful job of telling the stories of each of the 44 previous Super Bowl Champions. Its a must-see.
For a kid who grew up watching the game, it was a moment to remembe to hold the Lombardi Trophy after a Super Bowl. ( Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa ).
I’m more than just a fan of the game, I’ve become a bit of a historian. Maybe its the roman numerals. I don’t always remember my brother’s birthday, but I can remember the storyline from Super Bowl XVIII. ( Raiders 38, Redskins 9 in Tampa; Marcus Allen MVP. Trust me. I didn’t google that ). Let me just share with you some of my Super Bowl favories:
Best game: Super Bowl XLIII ( Steelers vs Cardinals ) or Super Bowl XXXVIII ( Patriots vs Panthers ) Both great shootouts!
Best play: ( Tie ) James Harrison INT return ( XLIII ) and David Tyree’s catch using his helmet ( XLII )
Best team effort: Chicago Bears defense crushing the Patriots ( XX )
Most dramatic moment: Terry Bradshaw’s TD pass to John Stallworth to rally the Steelers past the Rams ( XIV )
Biggest blowout: San Francisco 55, Denver 10 ( XXIV ). We kind of knew it was over … at the coin toss.
Most emotional moment: Seeing Jerome Bettis call it a career on the podium with the trophy ( XL ).
Most devastating loss: Bills go wide right, losing to Giants 20-19 ( XXV ). A win and they might have gone on to win more.
So what will happen this year between the Packers and Steelers? Classic or blowout? Memorable or one to forget? Who really knows … and that’s why I love this game.