Mike Tomlin, Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger tell the story
of their electrifying road to the Super Bowl
Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm of Mad Men narrates
With the toughest schedule in the league, the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers faced a rough road to a record sixth Super Bowl victory. Find out what philosophy SS Troy Polamalu lives and plays by, how QB Ben Roethlisberger felt to achieve every football players' dream, what coaching point head coach Mike Tomlin made after watching practice tape that paid off with an interception being returned for touchdown and more in the newest installment of the Emmy Award-winning America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions exclusively on NFL Network.
America's Game: 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers debuts Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on NFL Network. This episode includes exclusive video and sound of the Steelers during team meetings, practices, road trips, inside the locker room and leading up to Super Bowl XLIII.
The story of the 2008 Steelers is told through the eyes of head coach Mike Tomlin, Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger, who provide an intimate portrait of how they became Super Bowl champions. The show is narrated by Mad Men's Golden Globe-winning actor Jon Hamm.
America's Game, which won an Emmy Award for best sports series, delves deep into the story behind the making of Super Bowl champions. Each episode is a 60-minute documentary (available in high definition) featuring key members of the winning team telling behind-the-scenes accounts from their championship season. With classic NFL Films action combined with news clips and photos, highlights from team radio broadcasts, footage from inside team meeting rooms, sideline audio and other exclusive features, America's Game provides an epic and intimate portrait of championship teams, in one groundbreaking series.
Below is a sampling of what's notable and quotable from America's Game: 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers:
Roethlisberger's inspiration to never give up
Roethlisberger developed his resiliency on the field as a quarterback at Miami University under then-head coach Terry Hoeppner. Coach Hep, who died of brain cancer in 2007, remained a main source of inspiration for Roethlisberger through his favorite poem, "Don't Quit."
Roethlisberger on Coach Hep: "He just was an amazing person. More than a coach, I really was like a son to him."
Roethlisberger on the poem, "Don't Quit": "(Coach Hep) would read it to us once or twice a year. He would get really into it and emotional about it. It was really something special, especially when he passed, so I put the poem up in my locker so that every day I could see it and know that no matter what, don't give up, don't quit."
Roethlisberger's final drive
Down 20-23 in the fourth quarter, with 2:31 to go, Roethlisberger knew it was time for the offense to step up: "I told the guys, I said 'Listen, we've been criticized a lot this year… (our critics) will be right if we don't ... go down this field right now and score a touchdown. If you guys want to be remembered forever, this is how we do it."
Roethlisberger after reminiscing on how different this win felt when compared to his Super Bowl XL performance: "To win it with my offensive line, it was an emotional, amazing journey."
Roethlisberger on how he felt after the win: "most little boys growing up ... want to have the game-winning drive and throw a touchdown pass to win the Super Bowl -- I got to do that."
Tomlin's sleepless night delivers "Immaculate Interception"
The Steelers' preparedness to successfully cover James Harrison's 100-yard interception return late in the second quarter was the payoff of a sleepless night suffered by Tomlin.
Tomlin: "I'm watching a practice tape on Wednesday night -- I can't sleep, I'm at the team hotel and I decide to make a cut-up of every interception we had in that practice. I noticed that we weren't rallying and getting offensive."
"(Thursday) I ran that cut-up. Didn't say much, other than the fact that we're going to need this kind of performance, but it's probably not going to be enough. We're going to need to get out in front of people. We're going to have to run one, maybe two back."
Tomlin on Harrison's return: "(I will always remember) the convoy of bodies in front of James -- Brett Keisel, Deshea (Townsend), LaMarr Woodley -- the number of people out in front of him and willing to peel back and get people chasing him as he ran out of gas is as spectacular as the play itself."
Polamalu on Tomlin: "It's pretty amazing the way things worked out. (Tomlin) showing us that film and driving that point across. Him getting out of bed…that's the sign of a great coach."
Polamalu on what motivates him during games: "When the fire starts getting hot, I want to make sure I've got my hands on the wheel and I'm driving the bus instead of giving someone else the wheel."
Roethlisberger on Polamalu: "You just expect it (big plays) from him. I mean, he might be one of the greatest athletes that I've ever met."
"The sticky Lombardi"
Tomlin spoke all season about how good it felt to hold the Lombardi trophy in their hands. Said Roethlisberger, "(Tomlin) always just talked about hoisting the sticky Lombardi and passing it around and kissing the sticky Lombardi. We got so tired of hearing it I think we just wanted to do it so he'd stop saying it."
Polamalu on the trophy: "Coach always talks about passing around the sticky Lombardi. All these marks have a lot of memories of a lot of players that have worked really hard to get their hands on it."
Polamalu after looking back on the experience: "What they should stop doing is washing (the trophy). I think that the finger prints, the slobber, the Gatorade, whatever might be on it should always be a part of the trophy."
Quick quotes ...
"Football is the ultimate team game. In no way were we going to waltz in there and win a World Championship on the strength of our defense alone. It was football justice and I believe in it." -- Tomlin on how satisfying it was to see his offense step up after acknowledging that the team was mostly known for their top-ranked defense.
"I'm not a pocket-passer, I can make throws in the pocket. I'm not a running quarterback but I can make plays with my legs. I honestly think that I'm just a crazy gun slinger back there, I guess!" -- Roethlisberger on his style of play.
"That was probably the most physical game in the history of football." -- Polamalu on AFC Championship Game vs. Ravens.
"It's a five-star matchup because we're in it." -- Polamalu on the team's motto that carried them through their tough second-half season schedule.
"We used that saying quite a bit over the second half of the year. And somewhere along the line, we all believed it." -- Tomlin on the team's motto.
"A lot has been written and said about our defense ...that our defense carried us. And they did." -- Tomlin on his top-ranked defense.
"It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you reach the end zone -- even if it's only by an inch. That's a definition of Steelers football that they could all agree on." -- Roethlisberger on how the definition of "Steelers football" evolved and changed during the season.
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