If you have social media, and were following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ many platforms, you knew about how the team re-aired Super Bowl 43 in its entirety Sunday to the enjoyment of the vast Steelers fan base.
I watched, and was enthralled as if the game was just last season. James Harrison’s interception return for a touchdown at the end of the half is still the greatest play in Super Bowl history, and it gives me chills every time I see it.
This got me thinking about the Steelers’ last two championships. Both in 2005 and 2009, the Steelers didn’t just have a great team, a great team bond and tremendous defenses, they also had a lot of, we’ll call it, “magic” on their side.
Think of the 2005 playoffs...
- Carson Palmer’s unfortunate knee injury
- Ben Roethlisberger’s “tackle” vs. the Colts
- The Roethlisberger rushing touchdown vs. the Seahawks in the Super Bowl
Think of the 2009 playoffs...
- Troy Polamalu’s incredible pick-six of Joe Flacco
- James Harrison’s interception returned for a touchdown
- Santonio Holmes’ toe-tapping catch after a Ben Roethlisberger dart
You get the drift, and I could go on with both of these seasons and how both of those teams seemed to be a team of destiny in one way or another. There was more to it than just the typical X’s and O’s.
When you think about it even further, almost every Super Bowl champion, not just those six Steelers teams who have stood atop the mountain at the end of the season, has had some of this magic to help them hoist the Lombardi trophy as the confetti falls.
Will this upcoming team have that magic? Will they have the players capable of stepping up when it matters the most?
Ben Roethlisberger’s health, and rightfully so, is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but it always has been. Even before his elbow injury, there was a pretty good chance Roethlisberger would miss some time throughout the season. Maybe it was a twisted ankle, a banged up shoulder or a concussion, Roethlisberger rarely plays all 16 games in a season.
That is a fact.
But if Roethlisberger is healthy, and stays healthy, does the offense have the firepower to go out and win a game in the 4th quarter when they need a drive to win? Does a mix of Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster have that Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El, Nate Washington and Willie Parker feel to it?
That certainly is debatable, but those Super Bowl champion players certainly had the knack for the big play, for creating that “magic”.
What about the defense? Everyone is excited about the potential this defense has heading into 2020, but can they actually bring the propensity to get the key turnover again next season, as they did in 2019? Can T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Devin Bush, Bud Dupree, Terrell Edmunds, Steven Nelson, Joe Haden and Cameron Heyward compare to those defenses of Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, James Farrior, Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark and Aaron Smith?
Again, it is debatable, but the players who have a ring were able to make the big play when it mattered the most.
This “magic” is not something which can be predicted, but more so what is expected. There have been seasons where if Roethlisberger and the offense need a drive in the 4th quarter for a game-winning field goal, it was a lock. Then there were times when the same scenario felt as if it was an insurmountable mountain to climb.
Every Super Bowl team has had this “magic”, but will the Steelers have it in 2020? Only time will tell...