Monday, January 26, 2009

Super Week

The National Football League season will be completed with one of the more surprising match-ups in Super Bowl XLIII. If someone says they predicted this final, they are lying. No one in their right mind would have picked the Arizona Cardinals to make it to the Super Bowl. Then again, no one last year was saying that the Giants would make the Super Bowl, and then the pundits gave them little to no chance of knocking off the New England Patriots juggernaut.

For the next week, every possible angle of this game will be covered, from Arizona's head coach (Ken Whisenhunt) and his relationship with Pittsburgh QB, Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers, to the possible effect of Larry Fitzgerald Sr. trying to report the game with no bias toward his son, Arizona Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. They will be beaten into the ground.

Something that will probably be reported less is the fact that the Arizona Cardinals are doing a "disservice" to college football. The fact that they have made the finals even though they were 9-7 and demolished by 30+ points by an 11-5 New England team that did not make the playoffs is remarkable. In NCAA football, the Bowl Championship Series continues to come under fire, with many colleges (and President Obama) wanting the system to become a real playoff with a bracket and a single, unopposed champion. If Arizona pulls this out, it shows that playoffs do not work. College football is so competitive that every week there is an important game. USC being upset by Oregon State effectively ended their title run in October. This year especially in the NFL proved that the regular season means nothing. So what if the Titans and the Giants were the two best teams? Making he college system into a 4 or 8 team playoff would cheapen the regular season, and the college football regular season is a simply stunning masterpiece every year. The BCS may not work 100% of the time, but I would not trade it for something like the NFL system.

A couple of other things to watch for:
  • Larry Fitzgerald has emerged as one of best WRs in these playoffs. It is a wonder that he is not being triple or quadruple teamed.
  • Anquan Boldin and his announced intention to become a free agent after his contract runs 3 years time. Only in the NFL does this happen.
  • Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin being mistaken for Omar Epps (seriously, they look the exact same)
  • No Joe Buck doing the announcing. Seriously, he is terrible.
  • Watching for which player will do something stupid the night before the game, like Nick Collins being stabbed in the knee by his wife before a playoff game 2 or 3 years back (Colts vs. Steelers), or Atlanta S Eugene Robinson offering $70 to an undercover police officer for oral sex and then getting burned the next day on two long plays. My money is it being Edgerrin James, RB for the Cardinals.
I'm not sure if my bias is showing, but I really really want the Cards to pull this one out because I hate the Steelers for the various things they have done to the Bills (namely the season finale of 2004, where the Bills needed to win to get into the playoffs and lost to the Steelers 2nd and 3rd stringers. That was a painful season). I think they can pull it out if they can establish the run early, get 2 or 3 great plays by Fitzgerald (entirely possible) and force turnovers on defense (which they have been doing all playoffs). I am most certainly in the minority, but I don't care, I really really hate the Steelers.

It should, however, be a fun game to watch no matter who wins.

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