By Teresa Varley
More Coverage: Cardinals offense will be a tough test for Steelers
While the Steelers are still working on their game plan for Super Bowl XLIII, there is one player you just know is going to play a big role and that is the man that wears #43, Troy Polamalu.
Polamalu made the biggest play of the post-season to date when he intercepted Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
"He is an integral part of every game that we play because he is that good," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "When he walks out of the tunnel with a helmet on, he's going to be a factor in the football game. I don't expect that to change in Tampa."
While Polamalu was a hero, rookie wide receiver Limas Sweed had a tougher day, not able to pull in a sure touchdown near the end of the first half. Sweed did make some nice plays in the second half to rebound, including a big block.
Tomlin spoke to Sweed after the missed opportunity, but didn't share the message with inquiring minds at his press conference on Tuesday.
"I leave what is specifically said between him and I probably more important than anything else because I can't remember," said Tomlin. "Sometimes we get caught up in moments. I said what I thought needed to be said at that time. He did respond with some plays for us."
Sweed was at the team's practice facility on Monday talking to veteran players about how hard it is to make it to the Super Bowl. And Tomlin knows that to win that game, every player is going to have to step up. Sweed included in that.
"He is a young guy that has a desire to help us win," said Tomlin. "His actions on a day-to-day basis in this facility indicate that. Sometimes he fails. He fails inside stadiums and that's part of being a young guy. But we are in January and it's time for young guys to grow up. Hopefully he falls into that category. Hopefully some of those things that happened after that drop are an indication of the direction in which he is headed.
"We are going to need positive contribution from everyone in order to come back with the Lombardi Trophy."
If Super Bowl XLIII comes down to a field goal, the Steelers have confidence that their bleached-blond kicker Jeff Reed can get the job done.
"Jeff never disappoints us," said Tomlin. "We have a great deal of confidence in him. We don't take what he does for granted. I am not shy about saying that when he takes the field it's got to be three points. He's a unique person because he embraces that. I think it takes a unique personality to do what he does and do it well. He recognizes his position in the group is based on the ball going through the uprights. He likes it and we find a great deal of comfort in that fact."
* * *
The Steelers will sport white jerseys in Super Bowl XLIII as the visiting team. The Steelers have worn white twice in their six Super Bowl games, the first time in Super Bowl IX when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings.
The team also wore white jerseys in Super Bowl XL when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers were the home team in that game, but chose the white jerseys because they had worn them in their three road playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl.
The Steelers-Ravens AFC Championship game on Sunday night was the highest-rated television show on any network for the fall season.
According to CBS the game drew 40.64 million viewers and earned a 22.0 rating and 34 percent share of those watching television during that time.