Either the Philadelphia Eagles or the Kansas City Chiefs will be Super Bowl champions by the end of the night. In either case, it would be the second for the franchise in not a great span of time. The Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017. The Chiefs won in 2019.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting at home, as they have since the end of the regular season, when their next opportunity will be. Their last trophy was earned during the 2008 season. Even if they win next season it will have been a decade and a half. Many teenage fans will have lived their entire life without seeing their team win.
Which is a shame, because it’s a special feeling. And those who played on those teams tend to get revered. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes gets a ton of credit for sealing their last Super Bowl victory, for obvious reasons.
But the game was not in hand until defenders LaMarr Woodley and Brett Keisel converged on Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. Woodley brought him down for a sack, stripping the ball loose, which Keisel recovered to put the game out of reach.
And Woodley would like that ball back from Keisel. Or so the latter joked last week. The two former teammates had the opportunity to get together recently, which Keisel posted about. “Great to see my guy”, he wrote. “He asked me for this football back”. What followed is a laughing-with-tears emoji and a photo of Woodley’s famous Super Bowl sack.
Or maybe he’s not kidding. And he only has himself to blame. He talked about it a few years ago in a conversation with some of his former teammates in a filmed segment for the Steelers’ website. He told a story about how Keisel asked him if he wanted the ball—and he foolishly declined.
“He caught me in the heat of the moment. We won the Super Bowl!”, he told a stunned Willie Colon, who couldn’t believe he turned down the ball. “If I get to his house, I’m gonna steal that ball. He owes me that ball”.
Of course he was joking then and he’s joking now. I’m sure he would probably like to have the ball, but it’s not as though he’s genuinely hounding Keisel to give it up. After all, both sides of that play were crucial to ending the game. Just knocking the ball loose doesn’t get the ball back—although time likely would have expired, truth be told.
Unfortunately, neither Woodley nor Keisel, nor anybody else in a Steelers jersey, has even had the chance to make another play like that in some time. Yet another Super Bowl passes in which they are watching from their couches like the rest of us. But at least they have an achievement to fight over.