TAMPA, FLA. — TAMPA, FLA. - It was only fitting that a former Raven played a factor in last night's Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium, the site of the Ravens' NFL title eight years ago.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who spent 10 days of the 2004 offseason with the Ravens before being abruptly cut, returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first half.
The longest play in Super Bowl history came at a critical time. With the Arizona Cardinals trailing 10-7, they were 1 yard from taking the lead.
But Harrison jumped a slant route by Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin and rumbled down the sideline for his first interception return for a touchdown.
"I guessed on it," Harrison said. "After that, it was about my teammates helping me get to the other end."
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner was surprised to see the NFL Defensive Player of the Year there.
"They showed an all-out blitz, and James did an excellent job of holding in toward the line of scrimmage and then popping out," Warner said. "I couldn't' see him around our linemen and the pressure."
Making jump from Delaware
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco must have been smiling after Arizona's first touchdown.
The Cardinal who made the 1-yard reception in the second quarter was Ben Patrick, who was Flacco's tight end at Delaware in 2006. That season, Patrick caught 64 passes, six for touchdowns.
Patrick finished his second NFL season strongly, especially in the playoffs.
He scored the Cardinals' last two points on a conversion pass from Warner in the NFC championship game. He then leaped over Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Larry Foote for a 2-yard catch in the end zone last night for his first touchdown of the season.
Patrick became the third player from Delaware to suit up for a Super Bowl. Perhaps one day, Flacco will find himself on that list.
Picking it up in playoffs
The Cardinals' defense continued to be a turnover magnet in the postseason.
When Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby picked off Ben Roethlisberger's deflected pass, it was the Cardinals' ninth interception in four playoff games.
In the regular season, Arizona was one of the NFL's worst with 13 interceptions in 16 games.
The Steelers' Gary Russell has made a habit recently of reaching the end zone. His 1-yard score in the second quarter - the first of this year's Super Bowl - was his third touchdown in his past four games.
This has been an interesting twist of fate for Russell, a second-year running back out of Minnesota. He was inactive for the first two games of the season and spent one week on the practice squad before getting re-signed to the active roster in October.
Obama chooses Steelers
President Barack Obama selected the Steelers to win the Super Bowl while praising some of the biggest stars on the Cardinals.
It wasn't exactly a good sign for the Steelers - Obama picked the losing New England Patriots last year.
"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."
Obama talked football during an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's pre-game show.
Obama had already conceded earlier in the week that he was pulling for Pittsburgh. Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a longtime Republican, endorsed Obama's presidential bid and campaigned for him.
"Rooney didn't just endorse me. That guy was ... going to steel plants campaigning for me," Obama said.
After one deep breath, Jennifer Hudson (below) returned to the spotlight with a flawless performance of the national anthem.
Wearing a flowing white top with black pants and a cropped black jacket, the singer/actress, 27, looked apprehensive when she first climbed onto the round blue stage on the field of Raymond James Stadium. Then she took the breath and launched into the anthem.
Hudson used the Super Bowl's massive television audience for her first public appearance since the October slayings in Chicago of her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew. Her estranged brother-in-law has been charged in the killings.
Hudson looked relieved when she was through.
Pittsburgh kicker Jeff Reed's 18-yard field goal on the opening drive tied a Super Bowl record for the shortest field goal. ... The game-time temperature was 68 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. . ... Arizona won the coin toss and chose to defer until the second half.
Sun news services contributed to this article.