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Holmes gets MVP for great catch

SUPER Bowl-winner Santonio Holmes sat on the grass alongside the end zone ?? legs outstretched, head bowed, arms wrapped tightly around the ball.

He'd come too far to let go.

The kid who once sold drugs on a street corner had grown up to become Most Valuable Player of a most remarkable Super Bowl.

Holmes, who overcame his gritty childhood in rural south Florida, made a brilliant touchdown catch with 35 seconds left to give the Pittsburgh Steelers their record sixth Super Bowl title, a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

"I dared the team," Holmes said. "Just give me the ball, give me the chance to make plays and I will do it for you."

He was true to his word on the 6-yard winner.

After a pass to the left corner went through Holmes' hands, Ben Roethlisberger lofted the ball toward the right corner, over the hands of three Arizona defenders. Holmes leaped to get it ?? and somehow managed to drag both feet in bounds, his toes barely scraping the grass before he tumbled out of bounds.

The referee took a look at the replay to make sure Holmes had control of the ball and got both feet down. The third-year receiver never had any doubt.

"I knew it was a touchdown 100 percent," he said. "My feet never left the ground. All I did was stand on my toes and extend my hands."

Holmes was so good - nine catches for 131 yards, four of them on the winning 78-yard drive - that he outshined teammate James Harrison, who seemed to be a shoo-in for the MVP award after three quarters.

Harrison, the NFL's defensive player of the year, returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half. The longest play in Super Bowl history gave the Steelers a 17-7 lead heading to the locker room, and they stretched it to 20-7 after three periods.

Amazingly, Holmes' catch came at exactly the same point - 35 seconds remaining - as Plaxico Burress' 13-yard touchdown catch in last year's Super Bowl, giving the New York Giants their upset of the unbeaten New England Patriots.

That finish was a classic. This one was even better.

"Santonio is a guy who just loves to deliver in big moments and big games," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.


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