Steeler QB Big Ben enjoys this spotlight
Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 6:22 pm
By: By DENNIS WASZAK JR., AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger has done this twice now, this Super Bowl thing. He’s used to the attention, the questions, the hype and glare of the TV cameras.
Yet there was Roethlisberger with a video camera in hand to capture the moment, just like some newbie. He insists he is taking the same low-key approach since winning his first ring back in his second season, when the Steelers beat Seattle in 2006. It was the same three years later, when he engineered a late comeback as Pittsburgh rallied to defeat Arizona.
“I’m just taking it in stride, enjoying this opportunity, regardless of what comes and the outcomes,” he said. “I’m just taking it all in.”
This all comes after an offseason in which he was accused of sexual assault of a 20-year-old college student. A prosecutor in Georgia declined to bring charges, but Roethlisberger was still suspended by the NFL for the first four games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
“We’re all human,” Roethlisberger said Monday after the Steelers arrived at the Dallas airport. “We all make mistakes, and it’s how can you bounce back from your mistakes? Just like a football game, you throw interceptions, you lose a game, you’ve got to be able to bounce back and find a way that it doesn’t happen again.”
The Steelers are no strangers to this, making their third Super Bowl trip in six years.
“I definitely think it’s more a sense of calm on our side of the ball, being that we’ve been here,” linebacker James Farrior said. “A lot of guys in this locker room have got Super Bowl experience. I think it’ll help us out just dealing with everything that’ll be going on this week.”
Such as the throngs of media. The frenzied fans. Oh, and there’s also that little game to be played.
“Just like last time when we were in this game, it’s our intention to enjoy all of the elements that this week has in store for us and not fight against it,” said former UT Martin aide Mike Tomlin, looking for his second ring as the Steelers’ coach. “Part of you is somewhat resistant to some of the things, but we’re not going to make a negative out of what a wonderful week that we have awaiting us.
“We are going to embrace it all.”
Hines Ward certainly did, from the moment he stepped off the team’s charter flight at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Pittsburgh’s star wide receiver was ready for a rodeo of a week, decked out in a big black cowboy hat, a black sequined Western-style shirt, blue jeans, boots and a Texas-sized silver belt buckle.
“I’m in Dallas, Texas,” Ward said, smiling. “I wanted to put on my whole cowboy outfit and enjoy it. No nerves.”
He sure looked loose, and almost like a native Texan. Not bad for a guy born in South Korea who grew up in Georgia and has played in Pittsburgh for 13 years.
“Where’d I find all this stuff?” an amused Ward asked, repeating a reporter’s question. “A little place in Monroeville (Pa.). It’s my little diamond in the rough there.”
Ward’s Western wardrobe might have been the only unexpected thing about the Steelers’ first day in Big D.
“It is familiar,” bushy-bearded defensive end Brett Keisel said. “You know how to divvy up tickets and (know it will be) a hard time telling family and friends that they can’t come and stuff, but you know what to expect. You know what this is all about. You know what the media sessions are like. Hopefully that’s an advantage for us. Will it be? I don’t know, but I hope so.”
In Pittsburgh, titles are expected, and though this is the eighth time the franchise is playing in a Super Bowl, don’t think the thought of a seventh championship is no big deal. Especially at Cowboys Stadium, the home of a franchise the Steelers have played against three times in the title game.
“It is kind of ironic,” Ward said. “The two organizations that have had their wars over the years, their battles over the years. For us to be playing in Dallas’ stadium for a chance to win the Super Bowl is kind of ironic, but it would be a great thing to do.”
The Steelers might have learned a few things about the Packers in their last meeting — a 37-36 win in 2009. Not that Tomlin is giving away any secrets.
“You get yourself into trouble when you try to have preconceived notions about how the game is going to unfold,” he said. “What happened at Heinz Field in ’09 is going to have no bearing on what happens in this stadium. So many of the components of those teams are different, so it’s really irrelevant.”
But even Tomlin acknowledged that that meeting could help ramp up the expectations for a hard-fought, close Super Bowl game.
“This is going to be an execution-oriented game,” Tomlin said. “The team that executes better is going to have a better chance to win. So we’re going to sharpen our sword for battle with that in mind.”
When he took over as the Steelers coach in 2007, he set some lofty goals for himself and the franchise. And, he’s one win closer to achieving the biggest of all.
“It’s probably about two Super Bowls short of my vision,” he said. “But that’s just me. I’m not in a reflection mode. I’m really not. I’m just trying to go and do it.”