STEELERS vs. CARDINALS SUPER BOWL XLIII SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2009 KICKOFF IS AT 6:00 P.M. TELEVISED ON NBC RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
*POST-GAME QUOTES *
QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER
(on the game-winning touchdown pass) "I was going to throw the ball in the flat. They covered it up so I went to Hines (Ward). He was covered, getting held. But all of a sudden, I saw him go to the corner. I threw it and thought it was going to be picked. He made a heck of a catch."
(on capping the season with a Super Bowl win) "I'll tell you what, I'm so proud of this group of guy. We hung through some tough times, some adversity. They talk a lot about this offense, and you know what, I'm so proud of the way we responded that last drive. I hope we silenced some critics."
(on being nervous in his first Super Bowl, compared to now) "I felt a lot better. I didn't have the jitters. I actually didn't feel really nervous, but when the planes flew over, that's when I was the most nervous. I'm just excited for everybody that we got this win."
(on getting WR Santonio Holmes more into the offense with WR Hines Ward not 100 percent) "Not really, I mean 'Tone's (Santonio Holmes) an integral part of our offense as it is. We just saw some things. I saw some stuff with him that I knew he was going to get open. If you get the ball to 'Tone he's going to make plays and he did it tonight."
(on what the winning touchdown play was called) "Drop back, scramble right, scramble left, find someone open."
(on the defense closing out the game) "We were just hoping that our defense could hold. We had all the confidence that they could do it. They've done it all year."
(on his impressions of Kurt Warner) "I mean, Kurt Warner is Kurt Warner. He is a phenomenal football player. He threw the ball, I don't know his numbers but I know they had to be good. He is a heck of a competitor and I told him it was an honor for me to play in this game against him because his autobiography was the first one I ever read, so it was really an honor to play against him."
(on his last touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes) "The first read was the running back in the flat but he wasn't open. Then I was going to try to bang it to Hines (Ward) real quick, but someone was closing on it and I was a little nervous about it. It wouldn't have been a touchdown. I looked back, scrambled right a little bit and saw 'Ton in the corner. I tried to throw it high so he was going to catch it, or no one was, and luckily he made a heck of a play."
(on going back to his receivers despite their dropped passes) "I'm just letting them know I have confidence in them. He walked by me and said, 'my bad' and I said, 'it doesn't matter,' because that's the type of player he is, that's the type of confidence I have in him and he came back and made a play."
(on this Super Bowl compared to last Super Bowl) "I played a little better than I did last time so it feels a lot better, to be able to come back on that last drive, probably a drive that will be remembered for a long time, at least in Steelers history. So, it feels really good, really special."
(on the game-winning drive and touchdown throw to WR Santonio Holmes)
"I'm really proud of the way these guys played. That was a heck of a drive. We got backed up early on the drive with the penalties and we had to work the ball all the way down the field. On the scoring play that put us ahead the first read wasn't open, the second read wasn't open and I kind of felt (Santonio Holmes) at the last minute, so I let it go and thought the corner dropped off but (Holmes) went out and just made a heck of a grab."
(on how his emotions differed in this Super Bowl compared to the first one he appeared in)
"I felt better. I really wasn't that nervous. I felt more nervous when the planes flew over."
(on what he said to his offensive teammates late in the 4th quarter and with the Steelers trailing)
"I just said to guys, 'It's now or never guys. You'll be remembered forever if you do this. All the film study, all the hard work, all the stuff that people talked bad about us, it will be for nothing. We have to go out and do this.' It was a rotten start on the first play, but we pulled through and found a way."
(on what the win means to him)
"It's the Super Bowl (laughing). It's the ultimate high right now."
(on the difference between his performance in this Super Bowl as opposed to his earlier experience)
"Winning the Super Bowl is all that matters. That's what makes me the most happy, and I think I played a little bit better this time."
(on the roller coaster of emotions he experienced in the fourth quarter and with the Cardinals in possession of the football)
"I thought to myself I might go from the ultimate high to the ultimate low here in a matter of seconds. Our defense came through, just like they have done all year and I am really proud of the way they played. I am really proud of this offense, too, because a lot of people have talked bad about us, but starting with the offensive line, we did something special tonight."
(on his emotions)
"We're so happy to be able to do this for the Rooneys. This is also for the fans. We love winning this for the fans and we know right now in Pittsburgh they're going crazy. There are people in the streets and I am sure there is snow on the ground, but it's really special to win one for the Rooney's. They're very special."
(on MVP WR Santonio Holmes)
"I just told him to not let it go to his head. He has potential and the sky is the limit for that guy. He can go where no receiver has gone and this will be a big confidence booster for him."
(on the interception return for a TD by LB James Harrison at the end of the first half)
"We couldn't see the ball because it was behind the line. But then all of a sudden James (Harrison) started running out and all we were thinking was that he had to score because if he gets tackled, it's nothing. Those are the types of plays he has been making all year, that's the reason he was the Defensive Player of the Year."
(on the significance of the football he was holding onto at the podium)
"That's the ball I took the knee with at the end of the game and held on to. I gave the ball in the last game to Jerome (Bettis)."
(on the play of opposing QB Kurt Warner)
"Kurt Warner is Kurt Warner. I think he's a fantastic football player. I don't know his numbers, but he is a heck of a competitor and I told him it was an honor for me to play in the game against him because his autobiography was one of the first one I ever read, so it was really an honor to play against him."
(on what happened on his game-winning TD throw to WR Santonio Holmes)
"The first read was the running back in the flat, but he wasn't open. Then I was going to try to bang it to WR Hines (Ward) real quick, but someone was closing on him and I was a little nervous about it, it wouldn't have been a touchdown. So I just kind of looked left and scrambled right a little bit and saw (Santonio Holmes) in the corner and decided to just throw it high, because either he was going to catch it or no one was going to catch it, and luckily he made a heck of a play."
WR SANTONIO HOLMES
(on winning touchdown catch) "It was a play that we drew up that we were hoping to get open in the back of the corner. The defensive back bit up on the short route and Ben (Roethlisberger) held onto the ball long enough to get it to me."
(on how he managed to get both feet down in the end zone on winning catch) "My feet never left the ground. All I did was extend my arms and use my toes as extra extension to catch up to the ball."
(on play of Steelers offense) "Everything was pretty good and went smooth for us. Ben (Roethlisberger) had a couple of mistakes here and there but he's one of those guys who knew to keep fighting and win the game for our team."
(on what this win means to the Steelers) "We're going down in history with one of the greatest games ever played in the Super Bowl. We finished it up the way we needed to and brought another championship back to Pittsburgh."
(on if he ever dreamed of making the game-winning catch in the Super Bowl) "I definitely asked the Lord to help me today. I asked Him, 'Can I be the guy to win this game?' I told my coach earlier this evening that I wanted to be a great playmaker for this team. The Lord was willing to look out for me today and gave me the opportunity."
(on what he told Ben Roethlisberger prior to winning drive) "Before that drive, I told him, 'Ben, I want the ball in my hands no matter what…no matter where it is.' I wanted to be the one to make the play, and I did it for our team."
(on what he said to Ben Roethlisberger on the final drive) "I dared the team. I came up and told Ben that I want to be the guy. '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."
(on the final touchdown) "I knew it was a touchdown 100 percent. 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."
(on how far he has come from Ohio State to Super Bowl MVP) "This is a wonderful blessing. I would definitely like to thank the Lord for putting me in this situation. I'd like to thank the Lord for helping me overcome all the things I overcame, the coaches for sticking with me, this organization for being behind me and believing in me and my quarterback for giving me this opportunity to make plays for him all season.
(on if there was any doubt from teammates when the Cardinals scored) "There was a couple guys grabbing me and telling me, 'Ten, you are going to be the guy to make a play for the team. Don't give up on it.' I almost lost it for a minute dealing with the time, but God was behind me 100 percent. My guys we telling me, 'Ten, who wants to be the superstar? To be the superstar, now is the time to step in and shine."
(on the sixth Super Bowl for the Steelers) "World Champions, we are going down in history. We are going down in history right now."
(on if there was anything extra said in the huddle on the last drive) "No, I was telling those guys give them everything. This is what we worked hard throughout the summer, why we put in those extra hours in the film room throughout the postseason. Those guys have been spending so much time together, and believe in themselves. I stepped in the huddle and told them this is where we stand up on the podium. We became World Champions. Those guys believed in me.
(on if he could feel his toes) "I knew my toes were on the ground the whole time. Once I extended my arms and my body everything just flowed right together. I never left the ground."
(on if he could have drawn up a better Super Bowl game) "No. My quarterback gave me the opportunity to get into the game early. They kept believing in me. The plays weren't there all game for us, but we made the ones that really counted."
(on describing the touchdown) "There was a play that was designed for me to get into the back corner of the end zone. The defensive backs both came down on Hines (Ward) knowing that he was our go-to red zone guy. When they went to him, Ben held the ball for an extra second and it gave me the opportunity."
(on if he ever dreamed he would be here) "All my friends, all my family members have been texting me throughout the whole postseason saying that I was going to be the Super Bowl MVP if we make it there. I really didn't want to believe them because I didn't want to put such expectations on myself, but I'm here now. I thank all these guys for believing in me, my family and definitely my kids for sticking with me."
(on if the rule change of pushing the receiver out of bounds changes his approach to catching the ball) "Not at all. Once I know I get two feet on the ground the hands take care of the rest. Once I get my hands on the ball I am not worried about if the defender is close to me. I am just worried about making the play."
(on what was going through his mind when Larry Fitzgerald scored the touchdown) "Things weren't going well for him early in the game, but he stuck with it. The coaches believe that he could be their guy to make plays and he did just that. I sat on the sidelines and I said, 'This just can't happen to us right now.' Bryant McFadden and Nate Washington came to me and grabbed me on the sidelines and told me, 'You're going to be the playmaker, You're going to be a star for this team. You're going to make things happen.'
(on if he was 100 percent sure he got his feet in) "One hundred percent I knew I had my feet down. I never left the ground once I extended my hands. I stood up on my toes so I wouldn't get pushed out of bounds. I knew once I grabbed a hold of that ball everything else would fall into place."
(on if he knew he was going to be the MVP) "It was coming down to the last drive. I stepped in the huddle with Ben and told him I wanted to be the guy to make the plays for the team and he gave me the opportunity to make the play. I became Super Bowl MVP thanks to his help."
(on if the team believed they were going to win) "We always believed. We went 15-4 this season. We never lost two games in a row. We always believed that we could become World Champions."
(on if he knew Hines Ward was not 100 percent) "Coming into the game, we talked on the way here. He said he was going to give 100 percent effort even if he wasn't healthy and he did just that. He opened up the game for us early. He was doing what he was supposed to do for us."
(on Pittsburgh's defense carrying the team) "The defense definitely went out there and did its job. Having that 99 yard interception return for a touchdown was priceless. The catches made in the game to myself from Ben really helped seal the victory."
(on what it means to be the MVP of this game) "It means hard work and dedication. 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 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."
(on the last drive) "It was definitely making plays. It was me sticking with them. At the beginning of every game he (Ben Roethlisberger) tells me, 'No matter what goes on, just stick with me.' I stuck with him. He was able to get me the ball. I wanted to move the chains and be that guy that everyone looks up to."