Posted: Monday February 6, 2006 1:09AM; Updated: Monday February 6, 2006 11:49AM
By my unofficial eyeballing of the Ford Field crowd, I put the ratio of Steelers-to-Seahawks fans at about 25-to-1 in favor of the relatively nearby and always rabid diehards from Pittsburgh. And that might be conservative. There was black and gold as far as the eye could see, and every last Steelers fan had one of their trademark Terrible Towels.
OK, I'm willing to let Aretha Franklin -- who sang in the pre-game show -- get away with using the "R-E-S-P-C-T'' angle for the Super Bowl. But I tuned it out all week when the Seahawks and Steelers tried it.
Boy, those Pittsburgh fans don't really forget or forgive, do they? They booed New England's Deion Branch and Tom Brady in the pre-game salute to the Super Bowl's previous 39 MVPs. Both Patriots earned the honor after beating Pittsburgh in the AFC title game at Heinz Field.
Does Redskins owner Daniel Snyder really think he helped ArtMonk's Hall of Fame chances with his two-sentence fit of pique on Saturday, after the longtime Washington receiver again failed to garner the necessary votes for election to Canton?
Snyder issued a statement saying: "Art Monk has earned a place in the Hall of Fame. Redskins fans know it, NFL fans know it, and it is long overdue for the Hall of Fame electors to confirm it.''
Not a smart move. That won't win Monk any votes, but it might lose him a few.
So Michael Irvin misses the Hall of Fame once again and says he's fine with it this time. "It's not about me,'' Irvin said. Which is what people invariably say when it's all about them.
After saying the spotlight should be on Troy Aikman, his former Cowboys teammate who made the Hall, Irvin went on to add: "I'm so happy because I'm part of that story. I'm happy for me. I'm happy to be a part of this. Ultimately, when this thing is said and done, if I sit down and write a book on my life, I can't write it without Troy, and ultimately he can't write his story without me.''
But it's not all about him.
The strangest sight of my Super Bowl week came on Saturday night, when I ran into Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his right-hand man Berj Najarian as they were standing curbside outside the Marriott Renaissance Hotel, waiting to flag down their ride after dinner.
For three of the last four years, Belichick had a very different Super Bowl experience, and was chauffeured everywhere he and his team needed to go. But this year, he was just another coach who didn't make the big game, even though he will be a part of things today as a member of the ABC pre-game show cast.
I made it to SportsIllustrated's Super Bowl party on Saturday night. Kind of. Sort of. That is, after our shuttle bus driver got lost on the 45-minute drive out of downtown to suburban Mt. Clemens, Mich., and then got the vehicle stuck for more than an hour after backing over a curb in the snow, necessitating a rescue convoy of SUVs to be sent to fetch our group -- which included SI's Rick Reilly -- and belatedly deliver us to the event.
But hey, a party's a party.
OK, so it snowed on Saturday. Precipitation happens. Detroit did just fine with this Super Bowl extra large. The people were consistently helpful. The transportation system didn't break down (my Saturday night shuttle bus debacle aside). And while I don't expect the NFL will be back here for this game any time in the next couple decades, there's no reason to remember Detroit in anything but a largely positive light.