When asked to write up a set of questions for any Pittsburgh Steelers player to answer for me in interview form, dozens of names ran through my mind. Up to and including Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Troy Polamalu, and virtually every member of the Steelers.
That being said, I've decided to get Santonio Holmes to answer a few questions for us all. At least, I hope to have him answer them.
I'll be giving the question and then my reasoning for asking that question.
The Question: Now, Santonio, you certainly came up big in the Super Bowl, what are your feelings about being there? The excitement in the air, winning in such a fast paced game, and finally earning the honors of being the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player? What does that mean to you?
The Reasoning: I'd absolutely love to hear about the Super Bowl experience from someone who's played in it, and played such an instrumental part in the winning of one.
The Question: What is the one play that sticks out in your mind as your own greatest play? From any of your years as a football player.
The Reasoning: Being a former football player myself, it would be an interesting change of pace to hear what his favorite play was. Certain plays and games just stick in your memory forever. I want to know what his is.
The Question: What is the one area of your game that you're trying to improve upon the most this offseason and season?
The Reasoning: No player is perfect and the way to get as close to perfect as possible is to practice and work for it. I want to know where he feels he needs to improve to become one of the greatest receivers in the NFL.
The Question: Are you working with Limas Sweed at all? Helping him with his concentration and whatnot? What tips have you given him since he was drafted last year?
The Reasoning: Players are people too, they build relationships and in many cases a football team is a part of your extended family. Interaction happens whether or not you're absolutely crazy about each other and you can make your own time on the field more enjoyable by liking the men you're playing with.
I want to delve into Holmes' mind and find out how he's giving back to the team.
The Question: What was going through your mind before, during, and after you caught the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl?
The Reasoning: There had to be a million things running through his head during the plays leading to that and directly after: I want to know what they are.
The Question: Being an Ohio State alumni and playing in Ohio twice a year, do you do you feel that some people still view you as just an Ohio State Buckeye? Or are they still as receptive to you even though you're playing against a division rival?
The Reasoning: Tying in his college and NFL play is key. Some people follow players because they played for their favorite college team, and since the majority of Ohio residents are Buckeyes' fans it's intriguing to see their reactions to a favorite player playing for a rival.
The Question: Do you partake in any pregame rituals? Maybe a special meal, special way to get to the stadium? Anything?
The Reasoning: Athlete's can become very superstitious, even without knowing it. I want to find out what makes Holmes tick.
The Question: What do you do in your spare time, as little time as that may be?
The Reasoning: As I've said, these guys are more than just football players, they're people and they have lives themselves. We already know Santonio Holmes: The Football Player, we want to know Santonio Holmes: The Person.
The Question: Do you play the popular Madden games? If so, what team do you use? If it's the Steelers do you tend to bomb the ball to yourself all the time or do you mix it up a bit? What's it like seeing yourself in the game as well?
The Reasoning: I want to have fun with this, and more importantly, I want him to have fun with it. Madden is played by millions of people, it's safe to assume that he plays it as well.
The Question: What has been the most important thing that Hines Ward has taught you about the NFL or the game of football in general?
The Reasoning: Players learn from each other and Holmes got a huge bonus by being able to be mentored by Hines Ward, I want to hear about what Ward did for him.
The Question: What's the first thing you bought with your rookie signing bonus?
The Reasoning: Like I say, I want to delve into his persona, figure out who Santonio Holmes is.
The Question: What are your personal goals for the 2009 season?
The Reasoning: I want to know what kind of season he expects from himself, and only himself.
The Question: What about the team as a whole? I know you're going to say a Super Bowl win is the only option, but I'd like to know more about the plans for the offense, are you aiming to take over the number one receiver position this year?
The Reasoning: Everyone wants to know what players think about their team goals. This simply touches on it without asking him to reveal any sensitive information like new plays or new formations.
The Question: If you could choose one mantra, or one motto for this season, what would it be and why?
The Reasoning: Throughout my years playing sports, we always had a motto for the year and one for each and every week. I'd like to know what the Steelers are using to fuel their locker room.
The Question: How much film do you watch on the defense you're going to be facing in the coming week?
The Reasoning: I want to find out just how much work he puts in when it comes to watching film. It's a meticulous task but it's well worth it in the end.
The Question: What NFL players did you idolize growing up and why?
The Reasoning: Every young boy's dream is to be an NFL player. We've all been playing in the backyard and said something to the effect of: "Did you see that catch? I'm the next Lynn Swann.
The Question: If you'd of never made it to the NFL, what would you be doing right now?
The Reasoning: Every prospective NFL player has to have a backup plan, nothing is guaranteed in this world.
The Question: Any advice for someone who wants to one day be in the NFL? Tips, tricks, motivation factors, anything?
The Reason: This ties in with knowing where you came from. We all need to give back to the community, to our roots. Besides, every potential player wants some tricks of the trade to gain the upper edge on his competition.
The Question: Well, thanks for your time Santonio, is there anything else you want to add or anything you want to say?
The Reasoning: I'm leaving it open, just in case he has something important that he'd like to get off of his chest.