The run up to this Super Bowl not only brings up bad memories to this Steelers-hater. It is reliving them.
Back in 2006, Seattle was going to their first Super Bowl vs. the Steelers. But did the NFL and the sports media focus on that? No. It was all about the Steelers going back to the Super Bowl. Seattle was just a bit player.
And I think that atmosphere was factor behind perhaps the most infamous botched Super Bowl of all time. The referees, particularly one from Pittsburgh, so rigged the game against Seattle that Seahawk coach Mike Holmgren remarked afterwards that it is hard to beat Pittsburgh and the refs. And last year, head ref Bill Leavy admitted his role still haunts him:
I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game, and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights, and I think about it constantly. I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better ... I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn't good enough ... When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It's something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl it's difficult.
The NFL and the sports media certainly created an atmosphere that made it that much more difficult for the refs to be impartial.
Now, it’s happening again.
You’d think with storied Green Bay going to the Super Bowl, one would hear at least as much about “The Pack is Back” as about Pittsburgh. But no. The pre-game hype has been Steelers, Steelers, Steelers.
ESPN stands out in this regard. On Tuesday the 25th, who was featured as the lead on their home page? Troy Polamalu. And this morning, this fawning article practically declaring the current Steelers a dynasty is their lead story.
All we need now is for the refs to help the Steelers yet again in a Super Bowl, and the repeat of history will be complete.
I’ve seen this movie before, and I don’t like it.