On the Road -- Finally -- to Super Bowl XLV

Mike Prisuta arrived with the Steelers in Dallas on Monday and has a few short stories to tell.

It was only a little bit later than the scheduled 9:30 a.m. departure time for the Steelers' charter to Super Bowl XLV when the pilot addressed the congregation just prior to takeoff.

"It'll take about 2:39 to get to Dallas," the plane's loudspeakers proclaimed.

It's actually taken about six months, but who's counting?

-- Before they could get to Dallas, the Steelers had to get to the airport. The scheduled arrival time for that was 8:30 a.m., which meant navigating rush-hour traffic. The Parkways East and West had become parking lots, as usual. And the checking of a week's worth of baggage for everyone -- not something the Steelers have to deal with when they're heading to Cincinnati or even San Francisco -- caused yet another snarl, once again bringing cars to a halt before they'd had a chance to be parked.

This one was handled relatively painlessly and efficiently by Steelers' and airport personnel.

Wonder if the Packers' loading and boarding and other never-before-experienced logistical issues were dealt with as smoothly?

-- There were TV trucks with cameramen stationed on the rooftops positioned just on the other side of the chain-link fence where the Steelers parked their vehicles. And there was a TV news helicopter circling above. It was similar to what you might expect to see when the Pope visits.

Apparently no story is too small -- even large men executing the relatively simple task of exiting parked SUVs -- at the Super Bowl, or even on the way to the Super Bowl.

Film at 11.

-- Back in '05 the Steelers wore green Notre Dame No. 6 jerseys in honor of Jerome Bettis, who was headed home to Detroit.

This time it was the offensive line that upheld what has become something of a Steelers' tradition by showing up in green Michigan State No. 76 jerseys in honor of Flozell Adams, who was heading back to Dallas, where he spent the first 12 seasons of his NFL career.

The jerseys even had Adams' name on the back.

Trai Essex was the one who got the ball rolling, but it had been Max Starks and Jonathan Scott who had been among the Steelers to mention the Adams' storyline in the wake of the Steelers' AFC Championship Game victory over the Jets.

Scott had done so in the locker room just after the Jets had been bested, mentioning how happy he was for Adams right about then.

Scott has never been to a Super Bowl before, either.

All of that speaks to the impact Adams has had during his brief tenure with the Steelers, not that Adams accepted the gesture as proof of all he's contributed, at least not publically.

"They actually all told me they wished they had gone to Michigan State," Adams said.

Well, doesn't everyone?

Mike Tomlin put the Adams tribute in perspective during the team's afternoon media session.

"Flozell is a joy to be around" Tomlin said. "It might sound funny because he doesn't always have a great disposition, but we enjoy that about him, too. The thing that's probably most impressive about Flozell is that his intentions have been so pure since the day he joined our football team. Here's a guy that's made some money in this league, has garnered some personal accolades in this league, a five- or six-time Pro Bowler, or what have you; this guy just wants to win.

"He's brought that mentality and approach since Day One. He's a veteran player. He doesn't ask out of anything. He works extremely hard. He has a can-do attitude. All of those things endear him to his teammates and there's a lot to respect there. He's a big reason why we're here.

"Those guys felt it necessary to honor him. I'm just glad that they did."

No news there. Still, that needed to be said.

Welcome home, Flo.

-- The Steelers were greeted by more helicopters circling above, a crowd of media and other various well-wishers behind a police barricade on the tarmac and a police escort that looked as if it could invade Oklahoma and get away with it upon touchdown in Dallas (the first touchdown of Super Bowl XLV).

Players poured off the plane doing what they had been doing since arriving at the airport in Pittsburgh -- snapping pictures and taking videos.

Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Keisel included the buses, the team plane and at least one media member in their photographic efforts.

"I don't think you can ever get tired of this, coming to a Super Bowl," Roethlisberger said. "You just want to experience it all because you never know if it's going to be your last one.

"Take as many pictures and videos as you can."

Tomlin's stated objective is for the Steelers not to make a "negative" out of the Super Bowl hoopla and hysteria.

Hines Ward apparently took Tomlin at his word and sported a cowboy get-up fit for Halloween.

"We're enjoying this," Ward insisted. "We know right now there are a lot of guys that would like to have this opportunity.

"I'm in Dallas. I'm in Texas. I wanted to put on my whole cowboy outfit and enjoy it."

Trick or treat, Packers.

And welcome to Dallas.

-- One of the last players to exit the plane was Maurkice Pouncey, who did so wearing a boot and working a set of crutches down the steps.

"I don't know what his chances are," Tomlin said. "He's not on a running clock until Wednesday."

The issue, Tomlin insisted, is a high-ankle sprain.

Don't hold your breath regarding Pouncey's participation.

His contribution to Super Bowl XLV will apparently be wearing a No. 76 Michigan State jersey along with the rest of the offensive linemen on the way here.


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