By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com While his teammates headed back to Pittsburgh wide receiver Santonio Holmes was hanging out at Disney World, the reward that comes with being voted the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.
Holmes had nine receptions for 131 yards in the 27-23 win over the Cardinals, but none more important than what came in the game-winning drive.
On first and 20 from the 12-yard line Ben Roethlisberger hit Holmes for a 14-yard gain. Roethlisberger went back to Holmes for a 13-yard gain to the Steelers 39-yard line.
"I came up and told Ben that I want to be the guy," said Holmes of the conversation they had before the final drive. "I told him 'I wanted to win this game for you guys, man. Just give me the ball, give me the chance to make plays and I will do it for you."
Roethlisberger took his words to heart and with just 1:20 to go went back to Holmes, who turned a short reception into a 40-yard gain to the Cardinals six-yard line.
He stuck with Holmes and with just 35 seconds to play he was a man of his word. Roethlisberger found him in the right corner of the end zone and not only did Holmes hold onto the ball, but he managed to keep both feet in bounds for a six-yard touchdown.
"I was going to throw the ball in the flat," said Roethlisberger. "They covered it up so I went to Hines (Ward). He was covered, getting held. But all of a sudden, I saw (Santonio) go to the corner. I threw it and thought it was going to be picked. He made a heck of a catch."
The officials reviewed the play to make sure that Holmes had both feet in bounds and control of the ball, but he didn't need a replay to know it was a touchdown.
"I knew it was a touchdown 100 percent," said Holmes. "My feet never left the ground. All I did was stood up on my toes and extended my hands. I knew it would be 100 percent."
Holmes celebrated on the sidelines with his team and after the game enjoyed the spotlight of being named MVP as he held the Vince Lombardi Trophy during the presentation to the team.
"Winning this means a lot of hard work and dedication," said Holmes. "I looked forward to the season. In the offseason, things didn't go my way like I wanted them to go throughout the season. I didn't become a 1,000-yard receiver this year like I hoped, but throughout the postseason I told Coach (Tomlin) I wanted to be a playmaker. I wanted to be a guy that you could trust and depend on 100 percent, and those guys believed in me.
"It means the world to me. I've lived out the moment with the dreams I've accomplished right now. I am just thankful for being in this situation and my teammates for helping me."
Afterwards Roethlisberger joked with him to not let the success go to his head, but he also had great things to say about the hero of the game.
"He has potential and the sky is the limit for that guy," said Roethlisberger. "He can go where no receiver has gone and this will be a big confidence booster for him."
And his quarterback isn't the only one who thought Holmes would be the man.
"All my friends, all my family members had been texting me throughout the whole postseason saying that I was going to be the Super Bowl MVP if we made it there," said Holmes. "I really didn't want to believe them because I didn't want to put such expectations on myself, but I'm here now."
And it's just the beginning.