Thursdays with Ben

Big Ben chats up Dan Marino, the underdog mentality, and touchdown celebrations in his weekly sitdown with the media.

Dan Marino said the other day he talked to you and told you to enjoy this because you never know when it's going to happen again. Is that the way you're approaching it?
We talked the other day and we communicated a little bit about that. He said, "Listen, enjoy this. You're young. You're doing the same thing I did. You think no matter what happens, you're going to get back. But it doesn't necessarily happen like that. On one hand enjoy it and have a good time, but take it serious enough to win it because you never know when it's going to happen again."

How tough is it to wait two weeks to play this game?
It's tough but we're going going to enjoy these two weeks. We're going to stay loose and have fun. Coach gave us a couple of days off and now we're ready to go to work.

Is it impressive that even though you had days off, guys were still in here working and preparing?
Absolutely. That just shows the determination and the attitude of this team. We want to be the best we can be. Guys were in here working out. If you weren't in here working out, you were watching film or getting treatment.

What did coach (Bill) Cowher tell you about the Super Bowl?
He trusts me to handle it the way I always handle things.

You said you ran out of gas last year, can you talk about that?
I hadn't lost a game and I was a little overconfident last year. This year, I understand where I'm at and where we're at as a team. I think I'm better prepared in this situation.

How big a difference is there in you as a quarterback from last year to this year?
I'm playing a little bit better, I'm not as tired. I saw some guys interviewing Heath (Miller) and he looked like he was ready to fall asleep. That's how I was last year. This year, I feel a lot more comfortable, a lot better. I think my play has reflected that.

What about the underdog mentality? Do you think the secret is out and that edge might be gone?
I think people have misconstrued that. I don't think we've been playing the underdog card, we've been playing the us against the world card. I don't care if you're a favorite or not, you can still play that card. I think it's us. We believe in ourselves and we believe that nobody believes in us except us. That's the approach we're going to continue to take because that's all we need is each other.

In what ways do the guys give you a hard time about only being 23?
All the time. I've got balls trying to fly into press conferences. We always joke around, it's business, but it's fun at the same time.

But do they make a big deal of you being such a young quarterback?
Not too much. They say as long as I keep playing good football, I'm all right.

Coaches seem to get all the blame for losses and very little for the wins. How crucial was coach Cowher during your playoff stretch?
We really kind of stopped looking at the season and started looking at each game and focused on them. I give him a lot of credit for instilling that in our heads and for us to accept what he said.

After your touchdown pass to Hines (Ward), you did a little touchdown dance. Was that something you planned?
It was just emotions. I didn't plan that. If I planned that, I looked pretty silly. It's just one of those things that you get so excited about a play like that and Hines made a good play. I was right by the sidelines and the guys basically came out and tackled me. Emotions were running high.

If you win the Super Bowl, will you be more known for that or the tackle against Indianapolis?
We're not going to talk about if we win or if we lose, we're just going to talk about the game we're playing.

What have you learned about their defense so far?
They're a very good defense in general. I think they lead the NFL in sacks. They're very fast, very athletic. It's going to be tough to find their guys and pick them up because they're always moving around. They may not be the biggest guys up front, but they're high-motor guys. They're always flying around. It's going to be a challenge for us to make sure we identify and pick up the right guys.

How did you talk to Dan Marino?
I just picked up the phone and talked to him.

You called him?
We talk all the time. We're pretty close. It wasn't as big a deal as people probably make it out to be.

What other kind of advice did he have for you?
Just talking about staying level headed and make sure I have fun, but make sure I don't take it for granted.

Did you play this game out in your mind when you were seven years old or on the plane on the way home from Denver?
My buddy from college called me – James Cooper – and we sat there and talked for a an hour or two. The first 10 minutes all he kept saying was, ‘You're going to the Super Bowl. Do you know you're going to the Super Bowl?' I said, ‘I know.' It was bizzare because when you're a kid, you don't talk about playing in the national championship game or the AFC Championship game, you talk about playing in the Super Bowl. That's when it kind of starting sinking in, when I was talking to him. Every kid dreams of doing this and I'm getting an opportunity to live the dream.

Every guy has a different moment when they realize it, that was your moment?
Yeah. It didn't sink in until then and I was like, ‘Wow, I really am going to the Super Bowl.'

Are people calling asking for tickets?
I've had a lot of people calling, but I left it on my voice mail, ‘If you're calling for tickets, I'm not giving you any.'


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