DETROIT -- I've never seen anything like it and I've covered 22 Super Bowl games now. There were more Steelers fans in Ford Field than at some games in Heinz Field. They completely took over. They dominated even more than the Steelers did Sunday.
The game will not go down in Super Bowl history among the classics and will take a back seat to at least three of the Steelers' previous four victories. And Ben Roethlisberger did not exactly follow Tom Brady's lead with a virtuoso performance. When he threw that interception in the end zone, the air went right out of every Steelers fan in Ford Field.
But none of that matters, now, does it? When you and your fans have waited 26 years and come as close as they did over the past 12 years when they appeared in six AFC championship games, it just doesn't matter. All that matters, as Joey Porter said last night, is that the Super Bowl trophy is going back to Pittsburgh.
It looks the same as the ones they captured in the 1970s but this one is not a relic. I believe the Steelers should put it on display somewhere public over the next few weeks for all of Pittsburgh to see. They should take it around the way the Penguins shared the Stanley Cup with their fans.
And how great is the Jerome Bettis story. You want to buy the movie rights to that right now? It would be such a sappy story unless it were real -- the lovable Bus playing in his only Super Bowl, in his hometown, in his last NFL game, wins it. Everybody cries tears of joy. Cut.
I also don't care what anyone thinks about Bill Cowher, and I've had my differences with him through the years as a beat writer, you cannot say he can't win the big one anymore. That's been erased forever. He's on a different level now, looked at differently by everyone in the business and by fans and writers too.
Roethlisberger, for all of his problems throwing the ball yesterday, made some good decisions and some big plays. That 22.6 passer rating, the lowest by a winning Super Bowl quarterback, is a little unfair. He ran for one touchdown, ran for a big first down and made that big pass to Hines Ward to set up another touchdown. He put his body on the line a few times, including once when he got steamrolled trying to make a tackle after he threw the interception in the end zone.
Had Roethlisberger lofted the ball high to Cedrick Wilson on that play, he might be the MVP of the game. Again, that does not matter. He is the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl and his reputation will remain intact. Had the Steelers lost because of his interception, it might have been different but there's no sense even discussing that because they won.
You will soon hear talk about whether the Steelers can repeat. That happens when any team wins. I probably will write something like that this week myself. But forget about next year, at least for awhile.
Enjoy this, sip it up, revel in it. As a fan, your team just rewarded you with the best feeling in the world -- the Steelers won the Super Bowl. It's been a long time coming.