TAMPA, Fla. — Sully received quite a Super ovation.
US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the rest of the crew for Flight 1549 were honored before Sunday's Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Arizona for helping rescue 150 passengers after an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River.
Sullenberger, praised last month as a hero for a skillful landing that saved lives after both the plane's engines were disabled following a collision with a flock of birds, was introduced to a standing ovation at Raymond James Stadium, along with co-pilot Jeffrey B. Skiles and flight attendants Doreen Walsh, Sheila Dail and Donna Dent.
All 155 passengers and crew members were rescued.
The NFL also honored Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, during a pregame ceremony. He was joined on the field by John Elway, Roger Craig and Lynn Swann — stars of Super Bowls played 10, 20 and 30 years ago, respectively — for the coin toss.
As for the game itself. It was a stunner. It seemed to get better with every play and the Pittsburgh Steelers saved their very best for the end.
Somehow, Santonio Holmes managed to keep his feet planted in the end zone as he pulled in Ben Roethlisberger's pass for a 6-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left, and the Steelers shocked the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 Sunday for their record sixth Super Bowl championship.
The fourth quarter was filled with wild swings. The whole game, really, featuring heroes in step with today's economic times: first the Steelers' James Harrison, cut by so many teams that he thought of quitting football to be a bus driver, and then Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, a former Super Bowl MVP since deemed over the hill by three different teams.
The biggest story, though, belonged to Holmes.
Earlier this week, Holmes told the tale of his childhood in poverty-stricken Belle Glade, Fla.
He admitted he didn't need the money he got selling drugs for food or to help his family. He mostly spent it on shoes and gifts for himself.
"I'm pretty sure some kids can get a feel for changing their lives and not doing those type of things, and can get an opportunity to get out of the ghetto, the 'hood, to be successful," he said a few days ago.
He couldn't have found a better stage to get his message across.
Moments after Warner's 64-yard lightning strike to Larry Fitzgerald put the Cardinals ahead 23-20, the Steelers rallied.
Roethlisberger lofted a pass over three defenders into the back right corner of the end zone, and Holmes stretched every inch of his 5-foot-11 frame to catch the ball. Officials went to an instant-replay review, and it confirmed what every Steelers fan packed into Raymond James Stadium already knew -- touchdown.
As Bruce Springsteen sung at halftime -- Glory Days!
"Before that drive, I told him, 'Ben, I want the ball in my hands no matter what, no matter where it is,"' Holmes said. "I wanted to be the one to make the play."
The Steelers won their second Super Bowl title in four years and broke a tie with Dallas and San Francisco for the most. They also made 36-year-old Mike Tomlin the youngest coach to win the crown.
Arizona lost in its first Super Bowl. The Cardinals' last NFL championship came in 1947, when the franchise played in Chicago with leather helmets.
Together, the teams managed to do something that few football fans believed was possible in this game: Equal last year's Super Bowl, when the New York Giants upset the undefeated New England Patriots.
The Giants won that game when Eli Manning lofted a 13-yard TD pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left.
Hmmmm, 35 seconds left. Sound familiar?