This truly is the year of the African American.
All within a few weeks, a Black man became president, two Black women reigned supreme at the Australian Open, and even the Republican Party got a brother to lead them into the future. And now – just in time to ensure that Black History Month got off to an amazing start – the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, became only the second Black head coach in U.S. history to win the Super Bowl, leading his team to an exciting, come-from-behind 27-23 win over the high-octane Arizona Cardinals. Tomlin, 36, also became the youngest head coach to hoist the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.
"We have a team that doesn't blink in the face of adversity," Tomlin said. "It's never going to be pretty or perfect."
And the Steelers were in a battle for their football lives after surrendering a 20-7 lead. Just before the final two-minute warning, the sticky-fingered Larry Fitzgerald split the Steel Curtain like a diamond razor, racing up the middle for a 64-yard TD.
"I actually was thinking that if they were going to score, that's how you want them to — extremely quickly," Tomlin said. "As soon as we missed the tackle and he was running down the middle of the field, I was over it by the time he got into the end zone. There's not a bunch of time to sit around and say 'Woe is me' if you've got intentions of winning."
Tomlin’s troops rallied their two-minute, no-huddle offense. Then quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger and wideout Santonio Holmes hooked up on double dose of drama – a 40-yard connection that moved the squad to the 6 yard line, and then a picture-perfect, toe-tap touchdown in the corner of the end zone to win the game with 42 seconds left.
"Those guys know that when the chips are down," Tomlin said, "that (No.) 7 and company will ante up and kick in."
Tony Dungy, who recently retired from the Indianapolis Colts, is the only other African-American coach to win a Super Bowl. To accomplish that fete, two years ago he defeated the Chicago Bears, coached by Lovie Smith, the only other Black head coach to make it to the NFL championship game.
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