Monday, February 02, 2009

Score One for the Big Guys

For those of you who missed Super Bowl XLIII last night between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, it was one for the books. Pittsburgh came out on top with an impressive last-2-minutes drive into the red zone, culminating in a double-take where wide receiver Santonio Holmes first missed--then caught-- a touchdown pass from quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger, to win the game 27-23.

For a game with such a nail-biter ending, it's positively hilarious that the real "play of the game"-- the one that everyone will remember-- came at the end of the first half. Pinned down on the 3-yard-line, Pittsburgh defensive linebacker James Harrison (pictured above) defied all of the physical laws that ought to apply to his 6-foot, 242-pound body, stealthily cut off a route and intercepted a pass to prevent the Cardinals' go-ahead score. Then, to add insult to injury, Harrison managed a hulking, clumsy, lumbering and unwieldy 100-yard return run-- the longest play in Super Bowl history-- to score a defensive touchdown as the first half clock ran out. Upon reaching the endzone, Harrison collapsed, heaving, and remained supine and practically motionless while the crowd went wild.

Watching the big guy run back a touchdown hardly ever happens in football, but it is a thing of beauty. I would put last night's game in the top-5 Best Super Bowls in My Lifetime. Last year's game between the (undefeated) New England Patriots and the (grossly underrated) New York Giants still holds the #1 spot in my mind, if only for the truly epic "underdog" status of the Giants going into that game. (The Giants won.) But Harrison's record-breaking runback last night left a lot of people breathless... including Harrison.

Again, for those of you who missed it, here it is:

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