The 37th edition of the AFC-NFC World Championship Game featured the Oakland Raiders, with a long history of Superbowl triumph, and the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team with a long ... See full summary »
The 39th renewal of the AFC-NFC World Championship Game pitted the New England Patriots, two-time defending champions, against the Philidelphia Eagles, who hadn't won a championship of any ... See full summary »
Jerome Bettis gulped bottled water, and the sweat glistened on his round, expressive face. He was talking fast and a good octave higher than his normal register. "I'm still in a place," he said, shaking his head. "This is amazing." The record will show that Bettis carried the football only 14 times for 43 yards in Sunday's Super Bowl XL. Despite the best efforts of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he did not score a touchdown. It really didn't matter. The story line everyone outside of Seattle hoped would come to pass did. Thirty-three years after he was born here in Detroit, "The Bus" became a champion when the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10. The story of the NFL's fifth all-time leading rusher is over. Finally, he is at peace. At last, he is home. "It is an end," Bettis said. "It's been an incredible ride. I came back to win a championship, and now I have to bid farewell. "It's totally, totally a blessing. I'm probably the luckiest football player who ever played." As a team, the Steelers were desperate to win for Bettis. Linebacker Joey Porter, the emotional leader of the team who usually leads them onto the field, asked Bettis to take the field first. "He said, 'You lead us out there,' so I did," Bettis said. "They gave me a moment I'll never forget." Said Porter, "It was Jerome's day. It was his time to shine in his hometown." Bettis said he had been mulling retirement all season long. In the middle of last week back in Pittsburgh. he couldn't remember whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday. Bettis sat down separately with Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and president Arthur Rooney Jr. and told them he planned to retire after the game. "I let them know this was it," Bettis said. "It was probably going to be my last game, either way. My body's been breaking down. I didn't want to talk to head coach Bill Cowher and distract him from preparation. Still, he knew this was the last ride."
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