Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII

It was another big game for the ages. It was another game that went down to the wire. It was another game with big plays to go along with the highs and lows. It was another game that showcased the NFL at its finest. It was another game that has the fans of the losing team complaining about the referees and saying they would have won if it had not been for the bad officiating. There was so much to that game. I was up till 1:30am watching highlights. There was so much to digest. Ben not getting in the end zone on the first drive of the game, Ben's interception that was batted up into the air and gave the Cardinals life, the 100 yard INT return by Harrison, the Cardinals committing three personal fouls on one drive that only led to a FG, Warner fumbling the ball but the call gets reversed, the Cardinals making a come back, the safety, the big Fitzgerald TD, Ben driving down the field in the final minutes, Holmes making an unforgettable catch, Woodley causing the fumble to end the game <catching his breath>. That is what the Super Bowl is all about. If you didn't like Super Bowl XLIII, then I've got two words for ya! Quit watching. If big plays and drama like this doesn't do it for you, then make like a Cardinals fan and don't watch.

Speaking of Cardinals fans, when the game ended I was interested to hear what Cards fans (all 14 of you) had to say about the game. I read message boards, article comments, articles by professional journalists, watched video, etc. I'm not going to bash the entire fan base, a lot of the comments were very respectful and were good sports about the game. A lot of them were the opposite. Here are some of my favorites:

"We had it in the bag! We... had... it... in... the... bag" - I heard this from one Cardinals fan on an AP video and a lot of Cards fans feel the same way. They had it won and they blew it! Hmmmm... there was 7:33 left in the game and the Cardinals were down 20-7. I never knew being behind by two touchdowns with only half the 4th quarter left, constituted having "it in the bag". Funny, two weeks earlier, I didn't hear anyone say the Eagles "had it in the bag" when the Cardinals gave up a big lead and had to come back in the end to win. Its funny how it works like that.

"We dominated the Steelers but we couldn't beat the refs." - Dominated eh? Your best offensive weapon caught one pass in the first half. Your high octane offense put up 7 whole points 3/4 of the way into it. The Cards had a hefty 33 yards rushing for the game. Where exactly was the domination? My eyes were glued to the big high def TV I was watching the game on and I didn't see any Cardinal domination. Not even a hint.

"Warner shredded that <expletive> Pitty defense" - I can see why one would think that. Especially to the untrained eye of a Cardinals fan that has probably watched as much football as my 14 month old, but let me educate you. When the Cardinals scored all those points, made their big comeback and nearly stole the game from the better team, the Steelers defense played a little thing called "Prevent". In the "Prevent" defense the safeties drop way back, the corners give the receivers a huge cushion and defense only attacks the QB with 3 or 4 players while the rest are in coverage. Its designed to "Prevent" the big play by keeping everything in front of you, but all it really does is it prevents the defense from being able to stop anyone. Not to take anything away from Warner, who is a great quarterback, but Ryan Fitzpatrick could have driven down the field with no pass rush and the defensive backs giving 15-20 yard cushions. When the Steelers played their usual brand of defense, the Cards did nothing. Don't take my word for it. Again, Fitzgerald with one catch in the first half and only 7 points in the first three quarters. To be fair, the Cardinals employed the same type of defense on the final drive in which Ben drove down the field and won the game. Why do defenses still play the prevent if it never works? That's a pretty good question.

"The fix was in for the Steelers, just like in XL." - I'm not a 100% sure, but I'm pretty sure a bitter Seahawks fan wrote that. If the "fix" was in for the Steelers, why wasn't Warner penalized for removing his helmet on the field when he fumbled? Why did the Steelers get a holding penalty in the end zone, not only negating a Steelers first down, but giving the Cardinals two points and the ball and 2:58 left? Why did they penalize the Steelers on the first play of the final drive making it 1st and 20 deep in their own end? If the refs were trying to help the Steelers win the game, they did a really bad job.

"Was Holmes' catch too unreal?" - The wonderful folks over at the
Arizona Republic posted this article and these photos a couple days after the Super Bowl. This article and these photos are meant to make people believe that the Cardinals got ripped off and the Steelers were given a TD they didn't deserve. They have several photos of Holmes' feet crossed with one foot not touching the ground. To which my reply is... Are you kidding me??! The play was reviewed over and over again using high def monitors and played, slowed down and played again. It was probably the most reviewed play in history, but this genius over at Arizona Republic has conclusive photographs proving otherwise. Let me let you in on a little secret, all your photos of his feet crossed were AFTER the catch had already been made. As long as you have two feet in bounds and possession of the ball, its a catch. What's really incredible is that in photo 12, it shows just that. Quit trying to stir up controversy. It was a great catch and your team lost. Now show a little class.

It will go down in history as one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time and in my opinion is the greatest Steelers Super Bowl ever. Before the game, my wife and I were at a party reminiscing about the Steelers / Colts game back in January 2006 and said we'll always remember where we were during that game. This Super Bowl was one of those kind of games and no one will ever forget where they were when they watched it.
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  1. Ooh, I'm first! Good luck with your non-fantasy sports blog!

  2. Second. Hopefully, there will be as many hidden Simpsons references on this blog as there are on "The Fantasy Factor." Look forward to reading!