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RUSH: Jane in Bloomington, Indiana, welcome to the EIB Network. It’s great to have you here.

JANE HOEPPNER: Thanks, Rush. Steeler dittos from snowy Bloomington.

RUSH: Thank you very much.

JANE HOEPPNER: Rush, I just want to talk a little football here. My husband was Ben’s coach when he was at Miami University, and —

RUSH: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Who-o-o-a here!

JANE HOEPPNER: I just want you to know that Ben is even better than he seems.

RUSH: Wait a second. Was your husband a position coach or the head coach?

JANE HOEPPNER: No, he was the head coach.

RUSH: Your husband was the head coach at Miami of Ohio when Roethlisberger was the QB there?

JANE HOEPPNER: Right. We recruited him.

RUSH: Yeah, he’s from Findlay, Ohio.

JANE HOEPPNER: That’s correct. That’s right. That’s right. And when he came for his recruiting weekend, he wanted to make sure that I knew how to pronounce his name and spell his name, because (garbled). You know, even as an 18-year-old, he had such promise, and not only talent on the field which obviously we all can appreciate that, but he had that special something that has brought him to where he is, you know, as a player.

RUSH: Do you remember who else…? I don’t know this.

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm?

RUSH: I should, but do you remember who else was recruiting Roethlisberger against your husband?

JANE HOEPPNER: Ohio State, and surprisingly Duke. His dad went to Georgia Tech so he had a soft spot for the ACC. But the story was that there were some that didn’t pronounce his name correctly or whatever, and having an odd last name, I can identify with that.

RUSH: How would people know? What is your last name? People want to know your husband’s name, the coach.

JANE HOEPPNER: Our last name is Hoeppner, which sounds good, but when you throw in the O and the E, it’s kinda hard to read.

RUSH: Right. And I remember Roethlisberger has said your husband was one of the most formative mentors and people in his life.

JANE HOEPPNER: He was, yes. Yes.

RUSH: Your husband had a lot to do with singing Ben’s praises for the Steelers, correct?

JANE HOEPPNER: There is no doubt. There is no doubt. They really had a kind of a special thing with each other, and they were there at some of those high points in their lives, really.

RUSH: Do you still talk to Roethlisberger?

JANE HOEPPNER: Yes. He’s just special. He’s just a neat person, and for him to experience all that he has in really such a short time and at a relatively young age and be able to handle it the way that he has is just a tribute to his family. I loved the quote about his dad and it’s just absolutely the truth.

RUSH: Oh, you shoulda seen him with this little kid reporter.

JANE HOEPPNER: I know. I’ve seen it. And when you were saying that I thought, ‘I knew exactly how he was,’ because there’s nothing superficial about him, and…and… Well, you understand that! As much as publicity and as many people want a piece of him, it would be easy for him to be different than the way he is. So I just —

RUSH: Well, he does breathe rarefied air. You know, there are only 650 people in the country who do what he does.

JANE HOEPPNER: Yep.

RUSH: — and in terms of the position he plays there’s only 32 —

JANE HOEPPNER: Right.

RUSH: — and not all those are in his league. So it’s really rarefied air.

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: He’s one of the four or five leaders on that team, but he’s clearly one of them, and he has kept a level head.

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: He’s been through a lot for his age.

JANE HOEPPNER: A lot.

RUSH: Success, challenges and so forth.

JANE HOEPPNER: There is that.

RUSH: But he does seem to have a really level head.

JANE HOEPPNER: And I think his family and his faith, I think, it’s a tribute to that, I really do.

RUSH: Well, this is a thrill for me.

JANE HOEPPNER: (giggles)

RUSH: I’m talking to the wife of the coach at Miami-Ohio, recruited Roethlisberger. Are you going to talk to him this week? I bet he’s swamped and hard to get to.

JANE HOEPPNER: He’s swamped. I really… Right, right, right. We may text, but probably won’t talk. But we came to Indiana University, and then Terry passed away in ’07, and so, you know… It’s been an interesting time for me to be able to see him. I wish Coach could, you know, just see where he is. We went to the last Super Bowl when they were at Detroit in ’06, and of course that was great, and with the win and all, but it’s just where he is right now. It’s just real special.

RUSH: Well, congratulations. I know that’s gotta make you very proud. There are very few…

JANE HOEPPNER: Very proud, yes.

RUSH: Well, because your husband was in the process of molding young men —

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: — to be the best they could be at what they do, and Roethlisberger is at the top of that hill.

JANE HOEPPNER: Yep. Yep. For sure.

RUSH: Well, thanks. Jane, thanks for the call. This has been a treat. Now, obviously as the wife of a football coach, I know you can’t be objective here.

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: But I want you to tell me what you really think about the outcome of the Super Bowl.

JANE HOEPPNER: I think the Steelers really came on as the year went on, and my sense is they’re hitting their stride right now, and I think it is going to be one great game, but I (giggles)… I’d never bet against the Steelers.

RUSH: Yeah, uh-huh. You know, let me tell you something. I had a friend of mine send me an e-mail last night. He knows that I’m a football expert.

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: He knows I’m a Steelers fans, and he said, ‘The line out there is six points. I think that’s not enough.’

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: He said, ‘They’re going to have to raise this line to get some Cardinal money out there. They’re going to have to go to at least seven. What do you think?’ and I said —

JANE HOEPPNER: Well… (laughing)

RUSH: This is the truth. Jane, you won’t say it, but I will.

JANE HOEPPNER: (laughs)

RUSH: On paper… On paper… They don’t play on paper, I understand. On paper, this is a decisive Steelers win. On paper, this isn’t even close, but they have to hype the Super Bowl.

JANE HOEPPNER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: So they have to make it look like it’s a game. Now, anything can happen, you know, on any given day, injuries and turnovers and this kind of thing. But from what I’m hearing, if Larry Fitzgerald — number 11 for the Arizona Cardinals — for some reason has a bad day or can’t go, they don’t have a prayer. They’re making this a one-man offense with Warner of course throwing the ball, but somebody’s gotta catch it. Anquan Boldin is —

JANE HOEPPNER: There’s going to be so much talent on that field, there’s no way, and that’s the best thing about football.

RUSH: Yes.

JANE HOEPPNER: Ohhhh! The only reason I dread Sunday is because I don’t want it to be over, but, you know, it’s just the greatest game.

RUSH: That’s one of the greatest comments from a woman about football I have heard: ‘I don’t want it to be over.’

JANE HOEPPNER: Ugh! I don’t. (laughing) I don’t! (laughing)

RUSH: Most women say that about their relationships; you said it about a football game. That’s fabulous.

JANE HOEPPNER: Well, thank you, Rush. Good to talk to you. I appreciate your taking my call.

RUSH: Thank you, Jane. It’s a thrill.

I’m going to give you a little preview here of my discussion with The Hutch; and, by the way, we’re going to be talking to Tony Dungy on Thursday about his great, great new book called Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance. Everybody wants to matter. I went through the chapters here. This is just great. How do you…? What does it take to live a life of significance? There’s a chapter in here: ‘Choose Influence Over Image.’ That’s a part, that’s a section. There are four chapters on that. Everybody thinks this game is the Steelers’ defense versus Warner, the Arizona QB, from the grocery stores of Iowa. That’s the story of Kurt Warner. In fact, you want to know the real story of Kurt Warner? I’m going to make you cry, ladies. He was in Iowa on a snowy day one day, and Kurt Warner is in the grocery store sacking groceries. A woman comes in that just really appeals to him.

He says, ‘I want to take you to dinner.’

‘I can’t. I can’t go to dinner.’ I’m making this real short. ‘I can’t go to dinner.’

‘Why not?’

‘Well, my son is disabled, in a wheelchair.’ I’m not sure what it was, my daughter and so forth.

Warner says, ‘I’ll take all four of you to dinner, or all three of you, take the four of you.’

They did, and that’s who he’s married to. The people that know him say he’s one of the top five people in all of football. So the game is Warner, the sentimental favorite, the good guy, with the two great receivers — really the one special one, Larry Fitzgerald; and Anquan Boldin out there causing trouble a’la T.O. now and the; with the Edgerrin James on the trail end of a wonderful career. They’re an upstart team — and here they come: the big, bad Pittsburgh Steelers; who maim everybody they play with, and they send ’em off the field in carts, and they go to the hospital! So everybody thinks this game is going to be the Steelers defense, number one in the league, against the Cardinals offense. I don’t think so.

I think I know how that’s going to come out. This game is going to hinge… I want to see if The Hutch agrees with me on this. I know he won’t just on principle. This game is going to come down to the Steelers offense. Jane, I know you’re still listening. This game is going to come down to the Steelers offense versus the Cardinal defense, because if Warner doesn’t turn it over — if the Steelers defense doesn’t score some points, the Steelers offense is going to have to; and they did 35 against the Chargers. But against the Ravens, the defense had to do it. The defense had to score the points that won the game. So watch the Steeler offense and the Arizona defense. Of course, analyzing this stuff is kind of silly, too, because you can’t predict turnovers and you can’t predict injuries. You can’t predict a whole bunch of things that can totally change momentum.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I’m being inundated with e-mails about our last caller, Jane Hoeppner, from Bloomington, Indiana. And, by the way, I’m also being inundated, ‘You didn’t get the Kurt Warner story quite right.’ I know, I didn’t have a lot of time. It’s a great inspirational story. The fact of the matter is the essence of the story was right. You know, the lengths people go to keep me accurate when you vote for the wrong people, some of you. Some of you have no right to tell me I made a mistake. Anyway, I’m being inundated with e-mails about Jane Hoeppner, who called from Bloomington, Indiana, she’s the widow of Terry Hoeppner, who was the coach of Miami of Ohio. After his success there, was hired at the University of Indiana and passed away at age 59 due to a brain tumor after getting a great start on rebuilding the program there, complications from a brain tumor. ‘Rush, do you really realize who you were just talking to? Do you realize that was Jane Hoeppner?’ I did. I did. I don’t want to embarrass people, but this is a funny little e-mail. The subject line: Jane Hoeppner? And it’s from a guy named Zack. He said, ‘That was the wife of the late Terry Hoeppner, right? Even though I am a Northwestern guy, the fact that she called in to you makes me like Indiana football a little better. Even though they beat us this year and cost us our tenth win.’

I’m being inundated with e-mails from people that cannot believe I spoke to Jane Hoeppner. ‘Rush, you lucky dog, you have no idea who –‘ I knew who I was speaking to, but she wanted to talk about Roethlisberger, not herself. But her husband passed away at age 59, and there’s a link you can read about him at ESPN, ‘Won nine games as Indiana’s coach but he’ll always be remembered as the program’s rock. Passed away Tuesday after a long fight with brain cancer. The man hired to revive Indiana’s foundering football program in 2004 had a three-ton limestone boulder placed in the north end of the end zone of Memorial Stadium, died of complications of a brain tumor Tuesday morning in the hospital with his family. He was 59.’ So he was a very, very popular coach.

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