TAMPA, Fla. - Ben Roethlisberger was along for the ride, and he knows it.
Some teams win a Super Bowl because of their quarterback, the Pittsburgh Steelers managed not to lose one in Detroit three years ago despite Big Ben's self-described bad game. Tom Brady, he wasn't.
As nervous as a teenager taking his driver's test, Roethlisberger was 9-of-21 with two interceptions and a 22.6 passer rating. He was so ineffective, the Steelers needed a wide receiver, Antwaan Randle El, to throw the pivotal touchdown pass as they beat Seattle 21-10.
Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl at age 23, but he was as much relieved as he was happy. Not long after, the mood of a player better known for his competitiveness than his perfectly placed spirals began to change.
'I obviously got a little bit upset I didn't play so well, I let the guys down and I didn't help the team win the game,' Roethlisberger said Tuesday, a three-deep crowd huddled around his Super Bowl media day podium. 'It fuels the fire that you want to come out and play a better game the next time. You have to get over the initial hoopla, the flash, the lights and just make it a game.'
Just a game. There's no such thing to Roethlisberger, who is such a competitor that he rarely holds the door open for someone because he doesn't want anyone - sometimes, even a date - beating him outside.
A friendly game of cards, a swat of the ping-ping paddle, a determined dribble of the basketball - almost anything sets off Big Ben, the man who refuses to lose. So imagine what a football game does.
Imagine what this second Super Bowl in four years is doing, the one he will play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals and coach Ken Whisenhunt, his offensive coordinator in that Detroit Super Bowl.
'Ben needs to win,' said defensive end Brett Keisel, one of his best friends on the team. 'I could be joking around, playing basketball, we could be playing H-O-R-S-E, and all of a sudden he wants to bet. When he bets, he just has this face, this look that comes over him that he's going to win. Me, being the smart guy I am, I never bet.'