Monday, January 19, 2009

Celebration in the "Burgh"

The Steelers hadn't been able to celebrate an AFC championship at home in 13 years, and a record crowd at Heinz Field stayed into the night to savor the 23-14 victory against the Baltimore Ravens that punched the team's ticket to the Super Bowl for a seventh time.

"This is for you," owner Dan Rooney said to the fans at a mid-field ceremony punctuated by Zambelli fireworks lighting up the wintry sky last night.

The Lamar Hunt Trophy presented to the AFC champions was handed over by Rod Woodson, who with Dermontti Dawson served as honorary co-captains for the game.

Had it not been for a super play by super safety Troy Polamalu, the outcome could have been an Edgar Allan Poe-like horror.

With the Steelers nursing a two-point lead in a game that was way too close for comfort, Polamalu intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown with 4 minutes, 24 seconds remaining. It was the final score against the rival Ravens, who lost three times to the Steelers this season.

"That's Troy," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who dedicated the victory to the troops serving overseas. "He comes out of nowhere. I was just so happy that he scored."

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