By Teresa Varley
The excitement from the Steelers 2008 season returned on Monday at the premiere of the Super Bowl XLIII Champions DVD at the AMC Loews Waterfront Theater in West Homestead.
Steelers fans cheered "Here We Go Steelers," when Hines Ward, LaMarr Woodley, Willie Parker and James Harrison arrived, and broke into chants of "MVP, MVP, MVP," when Santonio Holmes walked through the doors.
"It's my first time seeing Santonio since the Super Bowl and all those guys," said Ward. "It was our chance to watch the highlight tape together. It gives you a different perspective as a player. You see all of us going crazy on the sideline when James scored.
"It's fun to reflect on the time and see the reaction of your teammates and fans. It gets you hyped. It's great to share with our fans and be the first to see it."
The fans that were on hand were thrilled to see the players, who stopped and signed autographs and posed for pictures.
"It's definitely a good opportunity for us to show the fans we are still here and we thank them for all of the support we got from them all season," said Holmes. "We look forward to a lot of people being able to get the DVD and the opportunity to relive history."
It's the first time some of the players have been in town since the Super Bowl celebration parade and for linebacker LaMarr Woodley, the feeling of being a champion returned the minute he got back in Pittsburgh.
"When I flew in town and got here I thought, I really feel it now," said Woodley. "I really feel like we won the Super Bowl. It really hit me."
And after watching the DVD, that feeling was especially strong.
"The excitement came back tonight," said Parker. "It's real memorable and reminiscent. This is a DVD premiere and we had all of these fans here. It's fun to be here and reminisce with our teammates."
The DVD opens paying tribute to the previous five Super Bowl championships the Steelers won, highlighting the team's rich history.
A recap of the 2008 regular season shows how the Steelers faced the toughest schedule in the NFL head on and conquered every obstacle in their way en route to the post-season.
"They counted us out at the beginning and we prevailed and kept believing in ourselves and before you knew we won the championship," said Parker. "That let's you know you can get anything accomplished when you believe in yourself and your teammates."
Parker is featured as the AFC Divisional playoff game against the San Diego Chargers unfolds, with commentary from Parker and his teammates about his 146-yard performance.
It was then on to the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens, one that both teams knew would be physical from the get-go. NFL Films provides great sideline feed, with audio from Hines Ward and Dick LeBeau. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is also heard saying, "Defense wins championships," and moments later it was the defense that sealed the deal – for the Steelers, that is, with Troy Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown to send the Steelers to Super Bowl XLIII.
The DVD saves the best for last, a recap of Super Bowl XLIII, and as the voice over states, "In Pittsburgh, the names and faces change, but the championship tradition lives on."
The first half is highlighted by the record-setting 100-yard interception for a touchdown by Harrison, a play he has seen replayed numerous times, almost a little too much now.
"I have seen it," said Harrison. "I am getting a little tired of seeing it. It was cool. It was all right. Without those other 10 guys on the field I don't make it down there so I give all of the credit to them."
Holmes was one of the players that NFL Films put a microphone on for the game and he can be heard on the sidelines at the start of the second half telling teammates, "Let's be great. Let's go down in Super Bowl history."
And on the team's final drive, Holmes once again is heard from.
"Time to be great," said Holmes on the sideline. "I am daring to be great right now."
And as everyone knows, he did just that, with his spectacular game-winning touchdown grab.
"I honestly forgot I was mic'd up before the game," said Holmes on Monday night. "That enabled me to go out and play as free as I wanted to. I didn't think about it. I didn't change anything or talk different. Everything just went as expected."
After Holmes touchdown, Tomlin called the defense over on the sideline and told them they could go out and make an impact proving they are the best defense in the league. They did just that and hearing that again from Tomlin in the DVD meant a lot to Woodley.
"It was real big to hear Coach say that," said Woodley. "Throughout the whole year we had been playing pretty good. We had some tough battles here and there. But this defined us as a defense, how we went out there and finished. I think we went out there and showed everyone why we are the number one defense in the NFL."
The DVD also has bonus video of the Lombardi Trophy presentation and the Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger post-game press conferences. It also has video from Media Day and features on Tomlin, Roethlisberger, Parker, Dick LeBeau, the Steelers Defense and Steelers Nation.
The DVD is available at Steelers Sideline Stores and online at steelers.com.