Obama's Steelers prediction proves apt

Updated: February 2, 2009, 7:37 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama predicted the Pittsburgh Steelers would win the Super Bowl and they proved him right.

Obama, who talked football during an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's pregame show Sunday, didn't predict a score, but said, "I think the Steelers are going to eke it out in the end."

That's just what happened.

Santonio Holmes made a brilliant 6-yard catch deep in the right corner of the end zone with 35 seconds remaining, lifting the Steelers to a record-setting sixth Super Bowl win, 27-23 over the Arizona Cardinals.

I couldn't hear him. I heard a congratula-
tions and I thanked him for it. But I didn't hear much of the conversation.

-- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin
on a phone call from Barack Obama

The Steelers, winning their second Super Bowl in four seasons, led 20-7 in the fourth quarter, only to see Kurt Warner and the Cardinals stage a remarkable rally to go in front 23-20 with 2:37 remaining.

Obama wasn't accurate with his pick last year, selecting the losing New England Patriots.

"I'm still wondering how that guy made that catch," he said of the crucial helmet-top reception by the New York Giants' David Tyree. "It was one of the greatest plays in pro football history."

Coach Mike Tomlin took a congratulatory phone call from Obama after the game. External noise prevented Tomlin from making out what the president was saying.

"I couldn't hear him," Tomlin said. "I heard a congratulations and I thanked him for it. But I didn't hear much of the conversation."

Tomlin handed the phone back to Steelers owner Dan Rooney, an Obama supporter.

"He said 'Congratulations.' He said that the players played great," Rooney said of Obama. "They did really well. Things like that."

NFL GameDay: Super Bowl XLIII highlights

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The Steelers defeat the Cardinals 27-23 in one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever.

Obama had already conceded earlier in the week that he was pulling for Pittsburgh. Rooney, a longtime Republican, endorsed Obama's presidential bid and campaigned for him.

Obama also had some praise for the Cardinals on Sunday morning.

"I love Kurt Warner's story; I love Larry Fitzgerald -- seems like a wonderful young man," he said. "It's a great story but Rooney didn't just endorse me, that guy was out at going to steel plants campaigning for me. Franco Harris was out waving towels at my rallies."

Asked if he had a Terrible Towel in the other room, Obama said: "I do, actually. I'm not going to be rubbing it in because we've got some Arizona congressmen here, and I may need their vote on the recovery package."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.