Wow. Last night, the Steelers played on Monday Night Football and destroyed the Ravens. Hallelujah!
To say that the Steelers were dominant doesn't tell the tale. They embarrassed the Ravens, and did it in spectacular fashion. Ben Roethlisberger was nothing short of magnificent, throwing for 5 touchdowns and finishing the night with a 158.3 passer rating. He proved that, while Brady and Manning are clearly the best two QBs in the NFL right now, Roethlisberger is third (with the legendary Brett Favre not far behind).
On the defensive side of the football, linebacker James Harrison had a tremendous night. 9 tackles...3.5 sacks...3 forced fumbles...a fumble recovery and an interception...Harrison did it all. No defensive player in the NFL had a performance this weekend that was as dominant; Harrison owned the Ravens, as well as Week 9 of the 2007 NFL season.
What made the night so special, though, wasn't just the great victory. The night was special because of the presence of so many Steelers legends who came back for the game to help celebrate the team's 75th anniversary. These men were gods in western Pennsylvania while I was growing up; before children could name the four Gospels, they knew Rocky Bleier, Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Mean Joe Greene, L. C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Chuck Noll, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, and Mike Webster. These men were part of the greatest single team in football history, and remain the greatest of all NFL dynasties (as noted by Redskins fan Tony Kornheiser). To see Big Ben, Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, and the rest of the current team put on that kind of show for those beloved legends was wonderful.
One more thing was confirmed last night. The Patriots and the Colts are the best two teams in the NFL (in that order, with apologies to Indiana John), but the Steelers are third, hanging right there with them (I suppose the Cowboys, the Packers, maybe the Giants, and, oddly enough, the Lions bring up the rear). If they play their best, and have some luck thrown their way, it's possible that Mike Tomlin's Steelers could be playing in the Super Bowl in a few months. Let the praying commence.