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In Super Bowl, Grimm's O-Line Stood Out




Former Redskin Russ Grimm fell short once again in his bid to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the weekend of Super Bowl XL was a great one for him, nonetheless.

As the Steelers' assistant head coach-offensive line coach, Grimm picked up another Super Bowl ring when Pittsburgh topped Seattle 21-10 in Detroit's Ford Field.

Grimm's offensive line carried the day in a game that featured an offensive line that is widely regarded as the best in all of the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks' unit, with Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson as its headliners.

An offensive lineman has never walked away from a Super Bowl as the game's most valuable player. Against Seattle, left guard Alan Faneca probably came as close any offensive lineman may.

The 6-5, 307-pound Faneca, an eight-year veteran out of LSU, came up with the game's key block when he pulled and opened the way for Willie Parker's Super Bowl record 75-yard TD run early in the third quarter.

Somewhere, Grimm was smiling. The same could be said for Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who made the change from Jerome Bettis' power running to Parker's speed in that third-quarter sequence.

Whisenhunt, a one-time Redskins H-Back/tight end (1989-1990), may be in line to take over for Norv Turner as head coach in Oakland.

Teammate Hines Ward earned the game's MVP honors. After having registered five catches for 120 yards and a 37-yard TD grab from Antwaan Randle El, Ward said to the media in Detroit: "I don't sit there and try to emulate my game after anyone. I just try to do the best to help this team win."

Added second-year QB Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest player at his position to win a Super Bowl: "You know what? Hines came out and made plays when he had to. That's what he does for us."

For all of the efforts of Parker, Ward, Faneca, Bettis, Roethlisberger and all of the Steelers, Seattle was doomed by three debatable calls.

Roethlisberger's dive into the end zone on his second-quarter TD looked similar to that Mike Alstott two-point conversion in Tampa Bay's 36-35 win over the Redskins on Week 10.

The message, judging from the Roethlisberger and Alstott sequences, is not so much that you have to get into the end zone. Rather, you just have to get close enough to make it look like you have.

Two other calls really hurt the NFC champs. That holding penalty versus right tackle Sean Locklear, which negated a key catch by Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens, could have been overlooked.

Then, you had to wonder about that low block called against Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck following the interception he threw. Given a 15-yard boost, the Steelers found themselves near midfield. From that vantage point, they were much more likely to try a gadget play.

Soon after, it was Roethlisberger to Antwaan Randle El to Ward for the dynamic 37-yard play that shocked Seattle and put the Steelers in control en route to the fifth Super Bowl win in franchise history.

In truth, those three calls could have gone either way. On Sunday night, they broke for the Steelers, who were the better team any way you look at it, close calls or no close calls.

Pittsburgh's offensive line was the best one on the field in this game. For all of its reputation, Seattle's group could not help league MVP Shaun Alexander get going. Alexander, instead, looked like a really mediocre back in this one.

It was a great day for Bill Cowher, born in Pittsburgh and the face of the Steelers for years. It was also a great day for Russ Grimm, who is also from Western Pennsylvania and who grew up on Steelers football just as much as Cowher did.

"It's something they can never take away from you," Steelers center Jeff Hartings said post-game. "It'll be there forever. It's the best feeling in the world."

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