Super Bowl XLKAI

February 5, 2009 

Forget Holmes.

Forget Harrison.

Forget Fitzgerald.

The real superstar from Sunday you've been waiting to hear about is me, right?

No?

Well, I don't have another column idea planned for this week, so make sure you're sitting down.

And if you own sock suspenders, I highly recommend you fasten them.

I covered locals watching the Super Bowl last year and regretted not staying long enough to capture the reaction to David Tyree's amazing catch, so I vowed to stick it out this year as long as it didn't turn into a blowout.

I was sent to Jackson's in Richland, a favorite watering hole of many local die-hard Steelers fans, where I found the Mann family of Richland playing the role of Cardinal island in a sea of black and yellow. Although I was hoping for some red and white Arizona gear, I figured their reactions would contrast enough to get the point across.

And when Harrison completed his record-breaking 100-yard pick six, they proved me right:

Steelers fans Tim Hager, right, of Yakima, and Alan Masterman of Richland celebrate Rodney Harrison's 100-yard touchdown off an interceptiton at the end of the first half as the Mann family of Richland, dad Mike, left, Amber, 14, Michael, 11, and mom Toni, watches in disbelief.

After seeing this shot on the back of my camera I couldn't decide how to feel. It was stoked to have something good in the bag at halftime, and I figured I wouldn't get anything much better.

But I was rooting for the Cardinals, and if they pulled off the upset, then it would make no sense to use this shot.

I had also been watching the Steelers fans nearest to the Manns and nobody was nearly as animated as Masterman and Hager.

So when the pair spent most of the third and fourth quarters outside, I started to question my choice to stay through the game. True to my previous analysis, the Steeler fans on the other side of the table kept their cool, and Kristin Mann was quick to turn down her enthusiasm when my camera came up:

When Masterman and Hager came back, Toni and Michael left to go buy a shirt, which had to be exactly when Santonio Holmes made a reception that put the Steelers on Arizona's 6-yard line with 49 seconds left, and produced the best reaction out of Amber that I captured.

This was a potential candidate, but without her family there, I didn’t feel it was the best representation of the afternoon. "Get back here!" I kept thinking as my right leg bounced incessantly.

Toni managed to make it back for Holmes' ensuing touchdown catch, and this ended up being the first runner-up:

Arizona still had one last-ditch effort, though, and I was on high alert, so when the room erupted after the Cardinals' final drive ended in a controversial fumble call, I thought my choice to stay the whole game had been justified. I hadn't noticed one detail on my camera's tiny LCD, however:

Innocent as the scratch was, the perceived nose pick axed this shot. With so many others to choose from, there was no reason to potentially embarrass Toni.

Part of me wanted to publish the runner up as proof I had stayed the whole game...as if any reader would even care, but weekend editor Jeremy Dutton confirmed what I had thought would be my best shot a couple hours before.

In the end, I could have left at halftime, but if I had, I'd have the same regret as last year. Plus, the online photo gallery was proof enough I had stuck it out. And though I would have preferred to partake in some beer and chicken wings, there are way worse assignments than hanging in a bar and watching one of the best Super Bowls ever.

~~~~~

kyau@tricityherald.com
(509) 585-7205
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