PITTSBURGH (AP) — Terrible Towels will wave again at the Super Bowl, where the Steelers will meet Green Bay after silencing Rex Ryan’s wild bunch. Look out Big D, here comes another Big D—in black and gold, and with an unmatched history of carrying off the Lombardi Trophy.
And here comes a quarterback with a history of winning the big ones.
“Shoot, any time you get to the Super Bowl, it feels good,” he said. “I don’t care what you’re going through or what’s going on. We put a lot of stuff behind us early and found a way.”
They clearly found a way to shut down the Jets’ season, ending it the way it started—with hard knocks. And not the kind on HBO.
The Steelers (14-4) will challenge the Packers, who are 2 1/2 -point favorites, with a versatile attack led by their quarterback and running back Rashard Mendenhall(notes).
And with a defense, led by James Harrison, that had a fumble return for a touchdown and a goal-line stand that shut down the Jets’ comeback in the fourth quarter. It will certainly test Aaron Rodgers(notes) in the title game in Dallas on Feb. 6.
That smothering defense set the tone for most of a frigid night at Heinz Field to end the Jets’ stunning postseason run. Ryan slammed down his headset when Antonio Brown(notes) caught a pass for a first down that allowed Pittsburgh to hang on and run out the clock.
“It’s not always pretty with us,” Roethlisberger said, “but we do the job. We have a lot of tenacity. We have a don’t quit attitude and mentality. Everybody is just always there for each other.”
The Steelers ended the Jets’ season with a dominant first half for a 24-3 lead. Mendenhall had 95 of his 121 yards and a touchdown.
“We played a good half. We never played a good game, and that was the difference,” Ryan said in a postgame interview with CBS. “You get to this point, you’ve got to play a great game against a great opponent and we played a good half and that was it.”
One more great game by Roethlisberger and his teammates and the season will end in a way hardly anyone could foresee back in September.
Now he will lead the Steelers into their eighth Super Bowl, a game they handle pretty well—and have a record six titles to show for it.
The cocky Jets seemed to have left everything they had in New England last Sunday. There was little trash talking all week and even less fire early in their biggest game since winning the championship 42 years ago. They haven’t been back to the Super Bowl.
The Steelers are regulars, including Super Bowl titles for the 2005 and 2008 teams, both led by Roethlisberger and a fierce defense sparked by playmaking safety Troy Polamalu.
Polamalu, his long hair flowing from under his helmet, didn’t have to do a whole lot this time. Not with the way his teammates whipped the Jets at the line of scrimmage before a spirited New York surge in the second half.
“We overcame a lot more obstacles this year than we have in the past,” Polamalu said. “But we still got one more to go.“
See Troy’s Postgame interview below: