Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger soaks up the atmosphere after landing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Monday.
Roethlisberger is capturing the moments with his teammates, coaches, media, and even briefly put the camera on a certain AFC North blogger Monday while on his way to the podium for interviews.
"How's it going?" Roethlisberger asked.
"Hey, what's up?" I replied, while rushing to change the batteries in my voice recorder.
Roethlisberger is soaking in every moment this week. Despite this being his third trip to the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh's quarterback has the enthusiasm of someone going through this experience for the first time.
This is a year no one expected Pittsburgh to return to the Super Bowl. Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, but the Steelers went 3-1 to start the season. Even when the playoffs began, most predicted the New England Patriots to come out of the AFC as the heavy favorites.
But instead, the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets for the chance to compete in their third Super Bowl in six seasons, this time against the Green Bay Packers. Roethlisberger is 2-0 in title games and is looking to join Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with three rings.
It's been a long year for Roethlisberger in many ways, but he seemed genuinely happy to get his team back to the Super Bowl for the third time.
"You just don't take this for granted, because you never know," Roethlisberger said. "This could be your last one."
Here are some other notes on the Steelers:
As a show of respect, every member of Pittsburgh's offensive line wore throwback Flozell Adams jerseys from his college days at Michigan State on Monday. Adams, who spent 12 seasons with Dallas, will be playing in his first Super Bowl, at Cowboys Stadium.
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin didn't rule out center Maurkice Pouncey, who is dealing with a high ankle sprain. Tomlin said the Steelers are aggressively rehabbing to see if he can return. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Pouncey will not play and has a broken bone in his ankle.
Schefter also reports that Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith will have an MRI on his surgically repaired triceps on Wednesday. Smith was listed as questionable for the Super Bowl on last week's injury report.
Roethlisberger and Tomlin addressed a Sports Illustrated report that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said no teammates came to Roethlisberger's defense during interviews this summer at training camp. "Well, I know for a fact that the commissioner came to training camp to talk about it," Roethlisberger said. "I'm not sure. I wasn't there and I'm not exactly sure what was said." It's no secret that Roethlisberger wasn't the most popular player in the Steelers' locker room, and the quarterback has spoken several times about working on being a better teammate this season. "Ben is a highly respected member of our football team, not only because of what he's done this year, but his line of work in previous years," Tomlin said. "We all fall short of perfection. We all make mistakes. His are well-documented, and he's doing as best he can in terms of moving forward with it."