Judge David Johnson used to be called "The Bus" in kindergarten.
The Bus has left the building.
I really get a kick out of these NFL champion discs. These retrospectives focus on the Super Bowl winning team, and deliver a season overview, set to thundering orchestral scores, and narrated by tough-sounding dudes (this time Harry Kalas). It's about as macho as you can get, and the games take on epic feels. If any sport so deserves such a metaphor it is football.
The Pittsburgh Steelers seemingly had their championship shot in 2004. They were tearing through the NFL, wunderkind Ben Roethlisberger was unstoppable, guiding his team to an undefeated record. Pundits and water cooler talkers alike had them pegged as the favorites. But then my boys the New England Patriots played the spoiler and blew them out in Pittsburgh in the 2004 playoffs. I'm not a huge football fan, and far from an expert on human anthropology, but as the Patriots bulldozed the Steelers' dreams, I could feel the life-force ebb away in that stadium.
2005 found the Steelers removed from their dominance of the year before. They bounced through an uneven season, before catching fire in Week 14. They finished the regular season 15-5 and entered the playoffs as the sixth seed. From then on, they tore through the elite of the AFC, taking out the Bengals, shocking the formidable Colts, and finally downing the Broncos in the AFC championship game. The Seahawks awaited them in the Super Bowl, and, with Jerome "The Bus" Bettis's final game looming, the Steelers made history as the first sixth seed in NFL history to win the championship. If it had to happen to a team other than the Patriots, I'm glad it was the Steelers.
The main feature of this disc is the 70-minute season overview, culminating in highlights from the Super Bowl. Each of the Steelers' games is touched upon, with the regular season meetings given fairly brief glances, the exception being a few pivotal head-to-heads like the rematch with New England and the showdown with the Colts. Once the program brings us into the playoffs, the games are dwelt longer upon and the sweeping score swells. Oh yeah! Get me a steak and broadsword!
There was, indeed, lots of drama during the Steelers run, but no play was more historical than the denouement of the Colts face-off. Following a botched call that took away a key interception from the Steelers, the Colts made a run for the win. Several plays later found Bettis barreling into the end zone but—unbelievably—he coughed it up, and the Colts recovered the fumble, heading downfield for the touchdown, and the win. In what is, I hear, called the "Immaculate Redemption," Roethlisberger made a stunning shoelace tackle, saving the score, and ultimately the Steelers' season. Great stuff (unless you're a Colts fan) and given much hullabaloo on this disc. From that point forward, the Steelers marched into history, and the program ends with Jerome Bettis's tearful thank you to the Steelers faithful in Pittsburgh. If you bleed black and gold, I daresay you will not come away from this disc with dry eyes.
A crapload of bonuses accompany the main program:
• Game of the Week: Steelers at Colts
This is another great DVD from NFL films, but I have to admit there's a certain ridiculousness in reviewing discs like these for recommendation. I mean, if you're a Steelers fan, you probably own this already, or should (you should). If you're not a fan you'll likely have zero interest reliving the season that's not about your team winning the championship. So there you go, for what it's worth.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Game of the Week: Steelers at Colts
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