Congratulations to the Steelers. Somehow I knew I'd be writing that even as I decided to stick with Seattle. I'll take nothing away from their efforts or the trick play resulting in Antwaan Randle El's touchdown pass, which was beautifully executed. And like all teams that win, they seemed to gain energy rather than lose it as time went on, and they capitalized on Seattle's mistakes in execution which resulted in multiple penalties. The box score shows 3 penalties for 20 yards for Pittsburgh and 7 penalties for 70 yards for Seattle. The Seahawks' penalties cost them more than yardage; it seems like all of the penalties came after Seattle's big plays. Again, not to take anything away from Pittsburgh's play, which was good and improved over the course of the game, but Seattle lost that game on its own. It was a gritty game, and not necessarily a fun first half for people who are not hard-core football fans.
Pittsburgh was also the beneficiary of some rather poor play-calling in the first half. Ben Roethlisberger's TD run did not look like a TD to me. I saw the replay from a number of angles and the ball did not appear to break the plane of the end zone. And Seattle's first TD was revoked on a B.S. offensive pass interference call against Darrell Jackson. I understand the offensive pass interference rule, but the fact of the matter is that Seattle had Pittsburgh beat and Pittsburgh's defense was not going to be able to make a play for the ball either way. Defensive pass interference is not called when a ball is "uncatchable;" this should have been ruled "uninterceptable" and the TD allowed to stand. Had those calls gone the right way, that would have been a 14-point shift in Seattle's favor during the first half, which would have changed the complexion of the second half immensely and who knows how it would have ended up. It's maddening to see the refs make such one-sided calls.
So I finish my postseason with a pick'em record of 5-6. At least I'm within the range of what chance would have produced, so I can take pride in being as good at predicting football games as a coin. The game was at least as much fun as having the companionship of our friends, sharing a meal and spending a night talking football.
Oh, and a word about the Rolling Stones. They looked, and sounded, terrible. Not unlike my feelings about Brett Favre, I feel compelled to say, "Hey, you guys were on top of it all for a long time -- and no question, you've still got some good moments for the future. But isn't it pretty much time to hang it up?" The entertainment star of the show was Joss Stone, who got to show off her funky, bluesy voice that sounds like it belongs coming from a woman twice her age. Hey, I watched the game with two women, The Wife and one of our friends; her husband is not into football so he was in and out of the game all night long -- so that meant paying as much attention to the music and the commericals (which I thought were reasonably entertaining this year).