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Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
The season is officially over (unless you count the Pro Bowl). The Pittsburgh Steelers are on top of the football world for a record sixth time after beating the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII.
The AFC North inbox has been flooded with mail the past 48 hours. Here is some reaction to the big game from ESPN.com readers:
On the Steelers and Super Bowl XLIII...
Rob from Arlington, Va writes: James, What a great super bowl, great season. It is nearly impossible to repeat in the NFL nowadays but I don't think it is unrealistic that the steelers could be even better (on paper) next year. they only have to resign mcfadden on defense and their offensive skill players are all signed. that leaves them a full draft and off season to put together an upgraded O line. How scary could Big Ben be behind a better O line?
Joshua from Orlando writes: James, I am sure that your inbox is full. But if you do read this, please say a word about the mental strength that Santonio Holmes displayed at the end of the game. That has to be the most underrated aspect of that now-famous catch. The man had just let the winning touchdown slip through his hands, and he comes back the very next play and makes an even more amazing grab to win the game. From possible goat to hero. What a game! What a catch! Way to go Steelers!
Markiyan from Kiev, Ukraine writes: Hey James! Congrats on the Steelers' Big Win! Now AFC North is officially best in the NFL - fan-wise, blog-wise, and now team-wise! But isn't it ironic that has always been tough and run-oriented, two most recent Super Bowl MVPs are wide receivers? Wow.
Gary from Hermiston, OR writes: James, love the blog. And I love my Steelers! That being said, I checked out Sando's blog after the game, and all he's talking about is the Cards getting robbed on the final play. And all these crybaby fans are crying referee conspiracy. Why does the Steelers success breed so much contempt? And why can't these people realize we were treated to one of the greatest Superbowls in recent memory? I'd even rank it higher than last years.
Reader from Vancouver writes: As exciting as it was to watch the Steelers win, that was another example of TERRIBLE officiating. Here are SOME of the calls which effected the game: roughing the passer on Roethlisberger, not calling intentional grounding on the same play, not reviewing the Kurt Warner fumble at the end of the game, and not calling Santionio Holmes for using the ball as a prop. This doesn't include the excess of flags. And that's off the top of my head! What kind of repercussions will we see from this game? Because I think I represent the majority of people in saying this was inexcusable in a game of this magnitude.
Mike from Sioux Falls writes: Hey James, this has been by far the best column all year. After reading a few of the articles after the victory, everyone seems to be forgetting Lamaar Woodley's amazing postseason carreer. Dating back to last year, he has four straight post season games with multiple sacks. Next year, will we be looking at the best duo ever? Thanks again.
Andrew from Pittsburgh writes: Hey James. Great job on your blog, and finally, what an end to the season! I can't believe how many people are complaining about the penalties called (which I guess is to be expected). The Steelers had only maybe 2 questionable calls, neither of which led directly to points. And that those same people blatantly ignore the fact that the Cardinals owned the fourth quarter in terms of penalties, two of which led to 2 points from the safety and phenomenal field position. And that they choose to overlook just what a phenomenal game it was. It's the first time in a while I've been completely on the edge of my seat like that. Great Super Bowl. Not sure if I'd rate it as #1, but it's in my top 3 all time.