Thursday, January 22, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again?

By today, you are probably laughing out loud at the story lines being overly-discussed for the Super Bowl. We already know that:

-Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm coached at Pittsburgh and left after Mike Tomlin was given the head coaching job possibly giving the Cardinals some sort of advantage over the Steelers.

-Larry Fitzgerald's father is a sports writer who will be covering his son

-The Steelers are going for an unprecedented 6th Super Bowl victory

-The Cardinals are making their first ever Super Bowl appearance

-The game is being played in Tampa which means when Phoenix fans arrive, there will be enough elderly people in one place to make AARP salespeople have an aneurysm.

-Anquan Boldin and Hines Ward are similar wide receivers on the field.

Now that the obvious story lines are exhausted, ESPN types are trying to unearth any earth-shattering difference maker in the game or simply blurting out statements to get a rise o
ut of people.

Well, here's my random regurgitation of knowledge that sounds like it will have an effect in the outcome of the Super Bowl while in reality it indeed does not:

We've seen this Super Bowl before

It happened just two years ago. A big tough Midwestern team took on a "finesse" team that had no business being in the Super Bowl. The post-season marches between the Steelers/Cardinals of today and the Bears/Colts of then are eerily similar in a not really sort of way.

-The Bears and Steelers were both at home throughout the pl
ayoff run after a dominating regular season.
The Bears had home field sewn up throughout the post-season. The Steelers got home-field once Tennessee lost. Still, Pittsburgh never left Heinz Field during the playoffs.

-The Colts and Cardinals both had to play 3 games against teams that should beat them.
Remember when everyone said the Chiefs would give the Colts D more Larry Johnson than they could handle? The same thing was said about the Cardinals D versus Michael Turner and the Falcons.

-The Colts and Cardinals played one post-season game at home, had a tough game on the road, only to get the conference championship game at home by way of playoff upsets.
After the Colts beat Kansas City, they had to go into frigid Baltimore and beat the Ravens by playing ugly football and letting Adam Vinitieri field goal them to victory. The Cardinals had an easy game against the Panthers since Jake Delhomme forgot how to play football, but NOBODY gave the Cardinals a shot in that game. You had a nasty one-two punch at running back for Carolina and the game was on the east coast. The Cardinals were supposedly toast. Both the Colts and the Cardinals lucked into an extra home playoff game by way of upset, the Patriots beating the Chargers and the Eagles beating the Giants.

Both the Colts and Cardinals played in a classic conference championship game where the opponent and their own history would test the team's mettle
Everyone knows the trouble the Colts have had with the Patriots throughout this decade and then they fell behind New England by several scores in the first half. The Colts had a gut check when they battled back to win the game and exorcise the Patriot playoff demons.

The Cardinals don't have a history with the Eagles. In fact, the team has no post-season history which is exactly what Arizona was battling against. Instead of coming back, Arizona had to survive a second half Eagles run that forced the Cardinals to fight back and rip momentum back from Philly.

The Bears and Steelers had and have a nasty defense that dictates the game.
And b
oth are led by a middle of the field player that seems to be near the tackle on every play. The Bears had Urlacher, the Steelers have Polamalu. Of course, the Bears didn't also have the defensive player of the year to pair with Urlacher like the Steelers have in James Harrison. Lance Briggs was pretty good that year though.

The C
olts and Cardinals had to show they were tough enough on offense and defense to win the Super Bowl
For the Colts, it was fixing the gaping run defense and proving that wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne could handle physical coverage. For the Cardinals it was proving that the team could run the ball effectively enough to take pressure off of Kurt Warner t
o make the offense go. Plus, they could take time off of the clock and give the defense some rest.

The hea
d coaches for both Super Bowl teams are linked somehow
Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith were linked as the first black head coaches facing off in a Super Bowl. This year it's the Pittsburgh connection: Whisenhunt wanted the job, Tomlin got it. Not as feel good as the Dungy/Smith angle, but it is nice to know that both Tomlin and Whisenhunt have been successful so there were no losers in that decision.

The Super Bowl is in Florida just like it was two years ago
There is no significance about that. I just wanted to prove that I am uncovering every similarity.

So there you go, if we've learned anything from history, we know that the Cardinals will beat the Steelers in Super Bowl 43 despite a big return by Santonio Holmes. Of course, to believe this you'd have to assume that Big Ben will play as poorly as Rex Grossman did in that Super Bowl and I don't think any of us are ready go there.

So just consider this post to be like Chinese food: not much substance, but fun to consume.

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