This wasn’t the way Antwaan Randle El envisioned the season would end. He wanted to be one of the players hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night. He wanted the confetti falling on his head, not the Packers.
He had experienced all of that once before when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, and he was hoping for it again.
“Having won it before, you know what to expect afterwards,” said Randle El. “You expect the confetti to be coming down for you. From that standpoint it’s tougher to lose, having won and knowing what it feels like to win. The losing end is no fun at all.”
You could see the pain in his eyes, the almost constant smile not visible, as he stood outside the training room waiting for a team meeting to begin.
“It is starting to really sink in.” said Randle El. ‘You didn’t get the goal you set out for back in March and April. It’s setting in. I am not turning the television on, not watching SportsCenter.
“It’s tough to watch because you are on the losing end of it. I had never been on the losing end of a Super Bowl. It hurts. But we had a great opportunity and thank God for getting where we did with the team we had, coming together throughout the year. It says a lot about the character we have. But we came up short, that’s the bottom line.”
And what hurts Randle El the most, is they had a chance for a come-from-behind win late, but couldn’t get it done.
“Frustration comes when we had an opportunity to seal the deal,” said Randle El. ‘To get the ball with 1:57 left, that is what you live for and we didn’t pull it off.”
As is the case every time you lose, there is always a play you want back. From Super Bowl XLV, there are three Randle El would like back.
“It would be all three turnovers,” said Randle El. “You have to give Green Bay credit for the plays they made.
“It leaves a bad taste in your mouth for quite some time. But you have to pull yourself back together and get going with life. We had opportunities. You can’t say we didn’t have a chance. But we just didn’t get it done.”
Randle El’s hope is that this wasn’t his last shot with the Steelers at a Super Bowl. With the emergence of a young receiving corps that includes Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, Randle El doesn’t know what his future holds.
“I would love to be back here,” said Randle El. “There isn’t even a question of where I want to be. But we have some young guys playing extremely well. That’s just that. I know what my abilities are but it comes down to numbers. If it works out, it works out. If I have my choice I would stay here.”