The Super Bowl is just days away; I'm about as excited for this game as I was for my first root canal. If the Steelers win, they'll have a record setting (6) Super Bowl Championships. (Cough, Cough) 1 more than my beloved Dallas Cowboys. Then again, if the Cardinals win, it gets worse. Month long clips of Kurt Warner thanking God for delivering him another Super Bowl.
Newsflash: Were in the worst economic climate of the past 30 years, both Barack Obama and God have way more important things to worry about than Kurt winning a second ring.
I honestly think any Super Bowl prediction has to come with a less definitive nature than it once did. A year ago, an 18-0 New England Patriots team lost, because a third string wideout who you'll never hear from again had stick 'um on his helmet. So before you & I go guaranteeing victory, ease up.
This years Super Bowl includes not one, but two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. Both head coaches have won this game, yes as assistants, but they've won it. Pittsburgh and Arizona have both played their best football heading into this game. Arizona can hang their hat on that fourth quarter, game winning, and conference clinching drive against the Eagles. The Steelers are coming off a victory against the leagues second best defense for the third straight time this season. However, there are a few differences that need to be addressed:
While Pittsburgh relies on bone crushing defense, Kurt Warner & Co. look to light up the scoreboard early and often. Pittsburgh is the NFL's top ranked defense, led by defensive player of the year, James Harrison. In 2008, Harrison finished with 100+ tackles, 16 sacks, and 7 forced fumbles. His defense, was the only defense in the NFL, to allow less than 4,00 yards of total offense on the entire season. They are tops in fewest points allowed per game, fewest overall passing yards allowed, fewest yards overall per game, and fewest points allowed overall. Their long haired safety, Troy Polamalu, is tied for second in the league with seven interceptions. You think Harrison is hard hitter, ask Ravens running back, Willis Mcgahee, how he feels after getting drilled by Steeler defensive back, Ryan Clark, in the AFC Championship. This Steeler defense allowed over 20 points in just five of their sixteen games this season. If it's defense you like, the Steelers give you that. As for the Cardinals, they are all offense, all the time. Arizona scored 30+ points in nearly half of their games this season. Kurt Warner is in the top five in passer rating, Larry Fitzgerald is second in the league in receiving yards, and the Cardinal offense is second in the league in passing yards per game. A high-powered offense, against a fierce defense is the main difference on Sunday evening.
Steeler fans know this rodeo, Cards fans don't. I get the fact that the Super Bowl is about 75% corporate sponsorships, and in a down economy, whose got time and money to be traveling to spend a weekend in Tampa? The answer, Steeler fans. If your a Cardinal fan and you may have been able to only afford one game, wasn't that game the first round game against Atlanta? It was probably one of the very few if not the only time Arizona hosted a first round playoff game. Arizona was playing an 11-5 Falcon team that has quickly become America's darlings, and you had to think the opportunity might not present itself a year from now. There was no way you thought they'd beat Carolina in Carolina, and then beat the Giants or Eagles, so you purchased your playoff seat, a month ago. Furthermore, I can't ignore the fact that the state of Arizona is a retirement state, hence their presidential hopeful, John McCain, being 90 years old. Why is this important? Fixed income baby, retirees aren't making any more bank, can't be jet setting to Tampa to see a Super Bowl. Steeler fans on the other hand, there global. Everyone has that one friend or foe, who is in fact, a Steeler fan. For me, it's my barber, and while he isn't traveling to Tampa to see the Super Bowl, he of course knows people who are. My one friend whose a Cardinal fan . . . okay, so I lied I do not have a freind who is a Cardinal fan, because WHO IS A CARDINAL FAN? The Pittsburgh faithful would travel to the Gaza Strip if the Super Bowl was being played there. Nuff Said.
Kurt Warner is a Super Bowl quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, jury's out. Yea, Big Ben has won a Super Bowl ring, but does anyone recall his performance in said Super Bowl game? For starters, they gave the MVP to Hines Ward, when in all honesty, it should have gone to the refs who decided we didn't want a champ from the great Northwest. Roethlisberger was 9 of 21 with only 123 yards passing and finished with the worst quarterback rating in Super Bowl history, 22.6, but he's a stud right? Kurt Warner however is 52-90 for 779 yards passing in two previous Super Bowl appearances. He's taken his second left for dead franchise to the Super Bowl, has years of big game momentum behind him, and has the one thing Big Ben doesn't . . Larry Fitzgerald. No quarterback makes better use of his weapons than Kurt Warner, he's the Rambo of the NFL. Ben has to come out and beat a quarterback who is already hall bound and is still playing the underdog card. A tall task for the 26-year old quarterback who is still trying to shake off his Super Bowl demons. His big game weapon, Hines Ward, isn't going to be 100%, and Roethlisberger himself is playing just weeks removed from a concussion. Kurt Warner is unfazed, and ready for this Super Bowl.
. . . I'm getting there.
If you had asked me a week ago, Do I think the Cardinals can pull this off? I would have told you with 100% confidence, yes. If you had asked me two days ago, now that everyone is on board with Arizona, do you think they can pull this off? Yes. Now that I am announcing my Super Bowl pick and everyone is attempting to show how smart they really are by picking Arizona. I'm going to stay on board.
THE PICK: Arizona 27, Pittsburgh 24 BAM!
SUPER BOWL MVP: Larry Fitzgerald
The Lady Friends Picks:
Arizona 26 Pittsburgh 17
MVP: And I quote, "Kurt Warner in the house"
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