The game is over. I've sobered up (and hopefully, so have you), and with sobriety we now look back at the great game that was Super Bowl 43 between the Steelers and Cardinals. Please understand, my observations might not be popular at this point in time, less than 24 hours after a game was decided on a great TD reception with just 35 seconds left. But, it's my take, and if you don't like it, by all means discuss yours:
- This was a great game that featured two unspectacular teams. Lots of penalties between these two clubs, and LOTS of sloppy defense. The Fitzgerald TD was one of the biggest boneheaded defensive calls I've seen this post-season. Dick Lebeau is a great coach, but he almost cost his club a Super Bowl with that F up.
- For all those who think a team simply MUST run the ball to win in the playoffs, you can kindly STFU now. The Steelers gained a stellar 58 yards rushing, averaging 2.2 a carry. The Cardinals gained 33 yards, averaging 2.8. In this league, you must throw to win. Running the football is important, but highly over-rated. And people who swear that running the ball is more important than great QB play know nothing about modern football.
- Ike Taylor stinks. He can't cover anyone. He also has two rings. Go figure. Just goes to show you that pass rush is everything.
- Willie Parker is a tough dude. He was getting blown up on several running plays, but he got right back up and kept going.
- Ken Whisenhunt sat Edgerrin James in the second half (after Edge spent most of the first half gaining first downs on the ground and through the air), and the Cardinals lost. Ken Whisenhunt is not a very good coach.
- Enough with the dumb Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer crap! John Madden even got in on this. He said if Warner wins the game, how can people not say he is a Hall of Famer? Well, he lost, and his 99 yard INT returned for a TD was the difference. Warner also lost 2 fumbles. Gee, what a surprise. Look, I know this is hard for stupid people like John Madden and Fanhouse's Michael David Smith to understand, but three years of great football and six years of bad football do not make a Hall of Famer. Hall of Famers are consistently great, year in and out.
- Warner played awful in the game. I know is QB rating was high. Means nothing. Three turnovers, one returned for a 99 yard TD with no time left before halftime. Unforgivable turnover. Cost them the game. To give you some perspective, can you imagine if Peyton Manning had the kind of game Warner had? The media, and the net, would be roasting him alive right now. And since Kurt Warner is better than Peyton (or so these schmucks think), Kurt gets roasted.
- Santonio Holmes' catch is greater than Dwight Clark's.
- James Harrison should have been thrown out of the game. He totally came unglued in the second half, and almost cost Pittsburgh the game. Lost a lot of respect for him. Real champions do not lose their cool like that in big games. He's lucky Big Ben and Holmes bailed his dumbass out.
- Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie (not his cousin Antonio) stinks. Yes, he made a nice play on an under thrown ball. Um... wow. Re-watch the game folks. The guy cannot tackle to save his life, and his coverage skills are pedestrian at best. Tipping an under thrown ball may impress John Madden (who still thinks the word "Turducken" is funny), but not me.
- Kurt Warner's wife needs to go away now. The TV cameras cut to her verbally asking God for help during the game. That made my stomach turn. She was actually PRAYING for the Cardinals to win. Not for world peace. Not for an end to hunger. For their team to win a friggin game. The Warners = Silly people.
- I'm sick for Edgerrin James. He was playing so well.
- I'm very happy for Mike Tomlin. Vikings fans hate their owner right now.
- Two of the last three Super Bowls were won using an offense designed and pioneered by Tom Moore and Peyton Manning.
- Just to let you know how ridiculous TV is, look at the NBC studio coverage. Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren were guest analysts, along with... get ready... Matt Millen. Why NBC soiled their studio chairs with Millen's putrid presence, I don't know. But, if you watched the pre-game and half-time analysis, both Dungy and Holmgren looked stiff. They also didn't offer much. The person who looked relaxed was Millen, who spent much of the time talking out of his fat ass.
- Bruce Springsteen slamming his boss into a TV camera during the halftime show was priceless! his halftime show rivaled Prince in Miami back in 2007.
- Heath Miller is the most under-rated TE in football.
- Darnell Docket is the most under-rated defensive player in football. He's also a better DT than Albert Haynesworth.
- Pittsburgh won a Super Bowl with one of the worst o-lines I've seen in recent playoff history. A safety in a Super Bowl? Sheesh.
- Cardinals o-line did a solid job all night. Warner, and Warner alone, was responsible for all three of his turnovers.
- And finally, while Ben Roethisberger now has two rings, let's hold off on him being considered a "great" QB now. Steelers fans may disagree, and that's fine. They're wrong, but whatever. Roethisleberger is not in Brady or Peyton territory. Maybe he will, one day. But, the fact is Ben's had one great season, and it resulted in a first round playoff loss (2007). Ben is great at last second heroics, and he had several of them in 2008. But great QBs are consistently great, and that is what Ben lacks right now: Consistency. Yes, I know he has two rings. Byron Leftwich now has a ring. I guess that means he's as good as Peyton Manning, right? QBs do not "win" Super Bowls. Teams do. Without James Harrison's 99 yard TD, or the two fumbles the defense recovered, Ben is in no position to drive to win the game. And people who use Super Bowls as the be all and end all "stat" to judge individual player greatness are stupid people (like The Big Lead, who I love, but his Roethisberger comment is sheer stupiity).
In the end, a season defined by injuries and horrible officiating had two rather unremarkable teams facing each other in the championship game. I don't say this to be harsh. I just call it as I see it, and sometimes what I see is not what others want to hear. These were two rather unspectacular teams that played a very entertaining game. Both certainly earned the right to be there. And for their fans, what I say means very little. I think it is great Pittsburgh now has more rings than the Cowboys. Can we start calling the Steelers America's Team now? I think so. They are a helluva lot more relevant now than the crappy Cowboys, who haven't won a playoff game since Bill Clinton was president.
So, 2008 is now finished. Now, we look forward to 2009. Hopefully, it will offer a better season for NFL fans than this last one did.