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- Super Bowl Review: Bettis Farewell

Chris Pokorny February 6, 2006
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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So, how entertaining was Super Bowl XL? If you're a Steelers fan, then it probably seemed like the greatest game in the world. If you were a Seahawks fan, you have to feel disappointed. From my perspective, the game was a little better than average. It was very similar to last year's game in terms of scoring, but no where near as exciting as the Panthers and Patriots matchup two years ago.

The game had a lot of hype heading into the weekend involving both teams. For the Steelers, it was mostly about the irony that Jerome Bettis was finally playing in the Super Bowl in what would likely be the final game of his career. On top of that, the Steelers had won three consecutive road games in the playoffs against the top three seeds in the AFC. For the Seahawks, a lot of eyes were on MVP running back Shaun Alexander. The Seahawks had cruised through two home playoff games, ending a long drought for the city of Seattle.

I picked Seattle to win this game, but I felt that the game would be very close. Overall in the first half, the Seahawks performed better. It wasn't a whole lot better, but it was fairly significant to the point where they needed to take advantage. The first half was only a sign of what was to come in the second half: Seattle failing to execute. The Steelers deserve credit for not giving up the big play, but the Seahawks probably had the greatest success moving the ball against the Steelers than the Bengals, Colts, and Broncos did.

On the first drive, their gameplan was brilliant. Hasselbeck threw it to Darrell Jackson over and over again, and Alexander ran it occasionally. What happened to those type of plays after the first quarter though? Near the end of the first quarter, John Madden and Al Michaels were showing the statistics of receivers in the past who had five catches after the first quarter ended. Guess what Jackson finished the game with? Five catches. No, that was not a direct result of the Steelers shutting down Jackson. The Seahawks simply did not stick to what worked, and it cost them.

A lot of people are complaining that Shaun Alexander did not show up. I realize that he is the MVP of the league, but let's be honest: even the best rarely rush for over 100 yards against the Steelers. Edgerrin James did it earlier in the year, and Alexander really never had the chance to touch the football enough. Give credit to Joey Porter for stopping what could have been a great run to the outside though, which took place in the second half I believe.

Were the penalties really that bad? It is very difficult to call a perfect football game, and the officiating crew at the Super Bowl did a solid job. The questionable calls seemed to be the pushoff from Jackson, the holding call on Locklear, and the cut block on Hasselbeck. The replays did show a slight pushoff on Jackson, so that call is definitely understandable. The other two penalties were really the only bad calls in the game, and even though they really hurt the Seahawks, had a much less significant impact that penalties we've seen in other games.

The Steelers were not very sharp throughout the game. Ben Roethlisberger made some mistakes, Willie Parker couldn't find running room, and the cornerbacks were getting beat. How did Pittsburgh win? Because they came through in the clutch. When Roethlisberger needed to make the big throw, he did. When Parker needed the big run, he got it. When the secondary needed to make a play, they intercepted Hasselbeck.

Roethlisberger's scramble play across the field to Hines Ward set the tone for the rest of the game. It had to kill the Seahawks knowing that the Steelers were able to execute a play like that while they were just barely missing touchdowns. The speed factor of Parker finally showed up on the record-breaking 75-yard touchdown run, and Antwaan Randle El executed the same play that the Steelers ran against the Cleveland Browns during the season beautifully.

Although the fourth quarter was basically dull, the Steelers did what they've been able to do against great teams: put it away with pure running. Bettis had some tough yards, and you have to appreciate the fact that this was the final time that we'll see the big man shifting and jumping over defenders.

Ward deserved the MVP for the game, and not just for this game. He's been a true Steeler for years and always seems to be involved in a clutch play. Roethlisberger was too inconsistent for the honor, Parker only had one run, and no one on the defense individually outshined the other.

As far as the non-game aspects were concerned, the commercials in the first half were very enjoyable. After halftime, I didn't even see any that were close to being good. The best commercial was the FedEx one, and the weirdest was definitely the dinosaur and robot having a car as their heir. I never like the halftime shows, so honestly, I just flipped it over to FOX to watch The Simpsons.

On a final note for this game, I would like to bid farewell to ABC hosting football games for a long time. The same goes to the pairing of Michaels and Madden, who will be on separate networks next season. Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers on becoming the 2005-2006 Super Bowl Champions. However, anyone that says the Seahawks didn't deserve to be there or that they "such" have no clue about football. There's a reason they made it that far; they just fell one game short.

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