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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Published: Monday, 2/6/2006

Not Ben's best game, but win is all that counts

DETROIT - Ben Roethlisberger was far from super.

He looked more like Neil O'Donnell, the only Pittsburgh quarterback to lose a Super Bowl in six tries, than Terry Bradshaw, a four-time Super Bowl winner and two-time MVP.

Yet Big Ben woke up this morning feeling fantastic.

And so did the Steelers

Nation, which flooded Ford Field, turning it into a sea of black and gold.

Roethlisberger, born and reared in our backyard in Findlay, is the first quarterback not named Bradshaw to win a Super Bowl ring in Pittsburgh.

No one will remember Roethlisberger's disputed one-yard touchdown dive at the goal line, his less than impressive stats, or his two interceptions.

Nor will they recall that receiver Antwaan Randle El had one more touchdown pass than Roethlisberger - off a perfectly-executed double reverse.

The Steelers whipped the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 last night in Super Bowl XL, sending Big Ben and his boys out a winner.

Roethlisberger, who turns 24 next month, is the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.

"I can't even believe it's real right now," he said. "It will start to sink in here pretty soon."

It was the fifth championship overall for Steelers owner Dan Rooney, but the first in 26 years for the franchise, and the first for coach Bill Cowher.

The guy wearing the white No. 7 jersey with the bad beard certainly didn't wow any of the 90 million viewers with his throwing.

Roethlisberger completed just 9 of 21 passes for 123 yards. He had a rather pathetic passer rating of 22.6 and was sacked once.

It didn't matter.

His effort, which included 25 yards rushing on seven carries, was good enough to secure Roethlisberger a hefty bonus - $500,000 to be exact - for winning the Super Bowl.

That payout comes on the heels of the $250,000 he pocketed two weeks ago for getting the Steelers to the AFC championship game in just his second season.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers finished the season with an eight-game winning streak.

"We got the win and that's all that really matters," he said. "Boy, it feels so good. I'm going to take some time off, and rest and relax."

Roethlisberger came into the Super Bowl on a real hot streak, completing 68 percent of his passes for 680 yards.

He had seven touchdown passes and one interception in Pittsburgh's three road playoff wins.

Even though his performance was so-so against the Seahawks, Roethlisberger capped one of the great playoff runs in NFL history, going 4-0.

He has won 27 of his 31 career starts and is 5-1 in the postseason, the only loss coming to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game last year as a rookie.

Roethlisberger has enough time left in his career where multiple Super Bowl wins could be a distinct possibility.

He already has a leg up on Hall of Famer Dan Marino, who passed for more yards and touchdowns than any other quarterback in NFL history, yet was 0-1 in his only shot at the Super Bowl.

Hall of Famer Jim Kelly has four Super Bowl losses on his resume, as does Fran Tarkenton.

Make no mistake.

Big Ben joined a very exclusive group.

"Winning a Super Bowl gives you a bigger chip in the game, and people perceive you to be better than you are," said former quarterback Phil Simms, a Super Bowl MVP and current analyst for CBS Sports. "It gives you a stronger voice in the game. For a young quarterback, it verifies to the organization and to your teammates how good he is and that he's the man that can lead them. He'll carry that tag forever."

It took the Steelers' offense nearly 19 minutes to pick up its initial first down against Seattle.

During that brutal stretch, Roethlisberger had more yards rushing than passing.

He was 4-for-11 for 41 yards and an interception late in the second quarter after hitting Cedrick Wilson with a 21-yard strike.

On first down from the Seattle 22, Roethlisberger rifled a pass for Ward in the right corner of the end zone. Ward should have had a touchdown catch, but the ball clanked off his hands and out of bounds.

Roethlisberger was sacked on second down for an eight-yard loss, setting up a third-and-28 play from the 40.

Roethlisberger had no choice but to reload.

Doing his best imitation of Tarkenton, Roethlisberger scrambled to his left, tip-toed behind the line of scrimmage, and then found Ward wide open across the field at the 3-yard line for a 37-yard gain.

Three plays later, on a third-down play, Roethlisberger took the snap and scampered around left end.

He lunged for the end zone and was met head on by Seattle's D.D. Lewis, who drove the 240-pound Roethlisberger backward.

Big Ben barely broke the plane of the goal line with the nose of the ball while he was in the air. An official review confirmed his touchdown run with 1:55 remaining.

Roethlisberger, who earned a reported $4.5 million off the field in 2004, much of it coming from local endorsements, figures to benefit the most from Pittsburgh's victory in the big game.

"He's already done well on a regional level, but this is his chance to really break out nationally, to become a household name," sports marketing agent Bob Dorfman said.

Now that Roethlisberger has a Super Bowl ring, he would appear to be the perfect pitchman for any product.



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