It's probably safe to say that the majority, if not all NFL coaches whose seasons ended for their clubs prior to Sunday's Super Bowl matchup were tuned in to the game last night. Coaches tend to be coaches even when watching football on television, but for Pittsburgh native and Bills quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt there was a clear rooting interest.
"We had a house full of Steeler fans here," said Van Pelt by phone from his home. "We were loud, there were about 20 of us and there was a lot of yelling and screaming. We had the Terrible Towels going. It was good."
Along with family and friends Van Pelt also had a few colleagues with him.
"I tried to watch it as a fan, but watching with a couple of other coaches from our staff you do talk football," Van Pelt said. "Being a fan you want to watch it as a fan. If it were two other teams, maybe I would have watched it in another way, but with me being a Steelers fan growing up I watched it as a fan."
Of course there were some instances where x's and o's came up between the professionals.
"I could tell you exactly what happened on Kurt Warner's interception and we talked about that," he said. "It's all the same stuff offensively or defensively that you see throughout the course of the year, so you're just seeing it in a different view on TV. As coaches we see it (on tape) from the end zone or up high, but you can still see plays develop and what happens with protection breakdowns and blitzes, and what gives them problems. You see that as coaches too, but we were basically fans."
Even if hometown teams aren't involved, for coaches they might still be rooting for one team over the other.
"I think you can always get ties to one team or another knowing assistants on one team's staff," said Van Pelt. "The guys with me knew a couple of guys on Tomlin's staff so just by knowing guys in the business you might be pulling for one team."
Naturally Van Pelt was pleased with the outcome of the game as the Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl title, the most in NFL history. And the come from behind finish pulled off by Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes left Van Pelt impressed.
"It was amazing," said Van Pelt of the game-winning touchdown play. "He threw it just where Holmes could catch it. It was just over the DB's hands and what a catch. That's just two guys making a play.
"You can scheme the game as much as you want, but when it comes down to it you need guys that can make plays and on that drive he made a lot of plays, Holmes did. And Ben running around all night making plays that's just two guys making plays and sometimes that's how easy it is."
Just as it was easy for Van Pelt to pull for the team he watched growing up.