All of these teams were expected to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season by so called experts.
The Steelers were likely the fifth or sixth team mentioned. And yet, at the end of the day, they’re the ones holding an NFL-record, sixth Lombardi trophy.
How did they do this? How did they overcome all odds to win the Super Bowl?
There’s an infinite number of ways to break it down and explain it, but in the end, the only thing that really matters is the fact that they truly wanted it more than 31 other teams in the NFL.
There were so many questions that piled up over the course of the season questions like:
1. Can Willie Parker ever be an effective running back again?
2. Can the Steelers offensive line hold up under pressure?
3. Can Ben Roethlisberger play through an injury once more?
And my personal favorite:
4. “Is Roethlisberger really an elite quarterback in the NFL today?”
The answer to all of these questions is a definitive yes.
While it’s very true that Parker struggled many times during the season, when his team needed him the most, he performed well. He went on an absolute tear during the playoffs.
The offensive line was somewhat quiet all year long. Questions were raised on whether or not it was their fault that Roethlisberger was sacked so often, or if it was his for holding onto the ball too long in an attempt to make a play.
Ben Roethlisberger, himself, took the blame for those sacks.
Roethlisberger had any number of injuries this year, none seeming to affect his performance much. As always, he played through the pain as all competitors do.
It’s laughable that people to this day claim that Roethlisberger is nothing more than a game manager. He’s been in the league for five years. Two of those years he’s raised a Lombardi Trophy.
In seventeen games, he’s led a come-from-behind drive in the fourth quarter to win it—four of those came this year—not to mention the one to win the Super Bowl on a Santonio Holmes' catch.
Defense was the motto for the year. The Steelers lived and breathed through their hard-nosed defense. Even in games that their offense struggled, the defense remained constant. Players, such as James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Ike Taylor, and Troy Polamalu, made plays in every game for the Steelers.
They boast the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for outside linebacker and pass rushing specialist James Harrison—not to mention a player that’s developed into arguably the best safety in the league in Polamalu.
That defense was No. 1 across the board in every defensive category except for rush defense in which they barely finished second to the Minnesota Vikings. Simply incredible.
Hats off to the Cardinals for making it an exciting game down to the finish for any football fan. There were some calls that not everyone could come to an agreement on, for both sides.
For instance, 90 percent of the NFL community is outraged that Kurt Warner’s fumble to end the game wasn’t reviewed, even though it was more than obvious that it was a fumble.
Kurt Warner, himself, has gone so far as to question the Steelers' dynasty and say that his arm was definitely moving forward.
I guess that no one told him that you actually have to have control of the ball for that to matter at all. Sour grapes is all that it is.
On the Steelers' side of things, Cardinals' tackle Mike Gandy was absolutely hugging Harrison on nearly every play to keep him off of Warner and was only flagged for it three times.
You can make the argument that holding occurs on every play, does that make it alright for the Cardinals claims to be justified and the Steelers not? Not at all.
Super Bowl XLIII was a testament to the saying that offense puts people in the seats but defense wins championships.
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