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Published: Monday, 2/2/2009

Steelers bring out Wildcat

BY ED BOUCHETTE
AND CHUCK FINDER
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE

TAMPA - The Steelers finally brought out the Wildcat Sunday night.

They used the Wildcat formation three times in the preseason, then did not show it at all during the regular season. They waited until the Super Bowl to use it again.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger split wide to the left, and Willie Parker took a direct snap on first down from the Arizona 33 late in the first quarter. Parker was stopped for no gain, but the Steelers went on to score their first touchdown on Gary Russell's one-yard run for a 10-0 lead.

ROBINSON'S BIG PLAY: Bryan Robinson, a Woodward High graduate and defensive lineman for the Cardinals made one of the game's biggest plays early in the game. While the Steelers were driving, he deflected a pass from Roethlisberger, and it was intercepted by the Cardinals' Karlos Dansby in the second quarter.

Scott High's Nate Washington had one catch for 11 yards.

IT'S A TEAM GAME: The Steelers ran onto the field as a team rather than individually. It has become a tradition at Super Bowls that began with the New England Patriots. The Cardinals ran out as a team as well.

The Steelers did that in Super Bowl XL, but not before linebacker Joey Porter held back his teammates to allow Jerome Bettis to run onto the field by himself in his hometown of Detroit.

CHALLENGE BONUS: Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt successfully challenged two plays last night and earned a third, if needed. Coaches are allowed to challenge two plays a game, but if they are right on both, they receive a third challenge.

ROONEY RECORD: Steelers chairman Dan Rooney broke out of a tie with Don Shula to become the first Pro Football Hall of Fame member to participate in seven Super Bowls.

THEISMAN STILL WAITING: Of all the quarterbacks who have started at least two Super Bowls, the only one who is not in the Hall of Fame is Joe Theisman among those eligible for induction. Four others are still active: Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, and Roethlisberger.

STRANGE CHOICE: Steelers linebacker James Farrior called "tails" for the opening coin toss that came up heads. The Cardinals opted to defer their choice, and the Steelers then opted to receive. It's the first time in Super Bowl history that a team that won the toss then kicked off because of the new rule implemented in 2008 that permitted the winner to defer.

GOLDEN GOALS: The Steelers' defense enters each game with goals set by coordinator Dick LeBeau. Among them are limiting the opponent to 17 points. They feel if they can do that, they'll win. The Steelers' offense does not have a goal as to how many points it must score.

"Nope," said coordinator Bruce Arians. "You have to score more than the other team. Don't turn it over, don't beat yourself, that's the main thing."

HALLS OF CHANGE: The Pro Football Hall of Fame will consider a change in its structure that would permit someone such as LeBeau to be considered in a separate category.

As it stands now, LeBeau's playing career can be considered but not together with his brilliant coaching career.



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