With the score 24-0 in the first half, it was looking like my kind of game. But of course the Steelers had to make it way too interesting, hanging on to defeat the New York Jets 24-19, aided by a gutsy goal line stand and some brilliant first downs when it counted most to end the game.
Diehard Steeler fans had to be ecstatic with that first half, especially because of all those yards on the ground, watching Rashard Mendenhall run like the reincarnation of Franco Harris (kind of hard since Harris was there, doing the ceremonial coin toss with his running mate Rocky Blier.)
So the Steelers will face the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. Green Bay has already been installed as the favorite, which continues the theme--it's become a cliche, but few really counted on Pittsburgh to get to the Bowl this year, including me. Meanwhile the Packers weren't very impressive on Sunday. They beat a second and then a third string Chicago quarterback, and the third stringer almost beat them. Rodgers, like Big Ben, had a sub-par game, but both made plays when they most needed to. Even so, I'd give the edge to Ben in quarterback play on Sunday.
I'm also inclined to give the edge to the Steelers in the big game, based on their experience, their team play, and Big Ben. He threw some dumb passes on Sunday, but he never gives up, and he's been tested. Rodgers can be brilliant, but he and this Green Bay team haven't been really tested. The unknowns as usual are injuries and the flow of the game on that day. The Steelers lost their young center Maurice Pouncey, and that probably hurt them in the second half. He says he'll play but nobody will know that yet. Anyway, get ready for the hype.
Congratulations Pittsburgh. I can hear you singing: the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl!