Everything fell into place

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:15 AM ET

DETROIT -- No need now to remind the Indianapolis Colts and especially the Seattle Seahawks that the best team doesn't always win the Super Bowl.

Often it is the most opportunistic one.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are champions of the 2005 season and because of the way they did it are worthy of the title.

But at almost every crucial point in their four-game playoff win streak, the Steelers had so much fall into place. Opportunity knocked and they made the best of it, pounding their way through the door.

It started in Cincinnati when, in the opening minutes of their AFC wild-card game, defensive lineman Kimo Von Oelhoffen rolled into Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and ripped apart Palmer's knee.

DIRTY PLAY?

Some say it was a dirty play, some say it was an accident, but the end result was that the Bengals' hopes, along with Palmer's ligaments, were shredded. The Steelers didn't have to worry about beating up on backup Jon Kitna, he did enough damage on his own.

Next up was the Indianapolis Colts, everyone's favourite to not only capture the Super Bowl, but barely break a sweat along the way.

In what was their most dominating effort of the playoff run, the Steelers pulled off the upset of the playoffs. But even then, they needed some luck.

When Jerome Bettis fumbled on the goal line late in the game and the Colts' Nick Harper picked it up, all he had to do was go to the outside and run down the sideline unmolested for the game-winning touchdown.

Instead, Harper cut to the inside and into the arm of Roethlisberger who made the unlikely saving tackle.

The Steelers were full measure for their AFC championship win over the Denver Broncos, but an argument could be made that the opponent was drastically overrated.

We take you back to Ford Field, where on Sunday night just about everything that could have gone right for the Steelers did.

They survived a first half in which they were borderline dominated, yet got some Rolling Stones-style satisfaction when they went to the break with a 7-3 lead.

They survived Big Ben coming up small in his first Super Bowl. Two interceptions led to a passer rating of 22.6 for Roethlisberger, the lowest in the history of the Super Bowl.

The second-year quarterback had just nine receptions to just three different receivers, a sharp comedown from his performance the two previous weeks.

Even the stalwarts of the Steelers defence had an ordinary evening. Joey Porter, who talked a big enough game to fuel three days of Super Bowl hype, had just three tackles. Of course, the Seahawks ran much of their offence away from the savage linebacker.

And perhaps hampered by a bum ankle, wild-haired safety Troy Polamalu was barely heard from either.

Other than the trick-play touchdown by game MVP Hines Ward and fast Willie Parker's 75-yard Super Bowl record touchdown run, the Steelers did little on the other side of the ball. Even Ward had the jitters with a couple of uncharacteristic drops.

So just how did the Steelers win Super Bowl XL?

A couple of favourable calls from the officials didn't hurt. Nor did the Seahawks' inability to put more than three first-half points on the board despite a clear edge in play.

Most of all though, the Steelers showed the character of a champion, if not the performance.

Who knows what was said at halftime, but you can be sure 14-year coach Bill Cowher and 13-year veteran Jerome Bettis had their say. Just 30 minutes away from the first Super Bowl win of their careers, the pair saw opportunity and weren't about to let it slip away.

To their credit, the Steelers had the talent and desire to take advantage of their good fortune.

Sour grapes aside for the underdog Seahawks (and those who may have invested in them), few could argue convincingly that Lady Luck, like much of the Ford Field crowd, was decked out in black and gold.


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