February 3, 2009

One for the ages

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

It’s starting to seem that every year now, regardless of the teams, the Super Bowl is a hotly contested matchup that comes down the very end of the game. Sunday’s tilt in Tampa was no different and even though the game was kind of dull for the first three quarters, the end was something special.

Really, I still can’t believe that the call held up and that Kurt Warner fumbled the ball. As many times as I looked at it as an impartial spectator, I thought his arm was moving forward when the ball was knocked out of his hand and that the ruling should have been that it was an incomplete pass. Granted, this would not have guaranteed the Cardinals a win, but they would definitely have a few shots at scoring to win the big game.

That unofficial “last play” of the game really summed up the ref’ing situation for the entire game. Just like Super Bowl XL against the Seahawks, the refs went with the Steelers whenever a call was in doubt. Seriously, I’ve never ever heard of a roughing the holder penalty. Are we sure that’s even in the rule book? Because I’ve never seen it called.

If you think that ticky-tack, non-existent rule was the only thing interesting I found about the game, well you should know better than that. How about…

-After the Cardinals challenged Big Ben’s “TD” run in the first quarter and had it overturned, placing the ball less than a yard from the endzone, how could Mike Tomlin not go for it regardless of the situation? If there’s one thing that you can learn from playing Madden and reading Gregg Easterbrook’s TMQ columns, it’s when to go for it on fourth down. The best case scenario is moving forward the six inches and scoring a TD, the worst case scenario is getting stopped and the Cardinals have to start their drive inside their own one-yard line. Don’t forget how highly regarded this Steelers defence was too going into the game. Where was the confidence?

-Ineptitude isn’t the red zone and closer for the Steelers became a sad reoccurring theme. They ended up running  13 plays inside Arizona’s 10-yard line (nine of those inside the 5) and only managed 10 points off them.

-Kurt Warner had the best game I’ve ever seen from a Super Bowl losing QB. I still don’t think he’s Hall of Fame worthy because of the length of his career, but he at least deserves to be talked about.

-Ben Roethlisberger on the other hand, should be thanking his lucky stars that Santonio Holmes was playing way over his head. If you had told me that the game-winning catch would be in triple coverage in the corner of the end zone with time winding down, my response probably would’ve been: “So Arizona will win?” It may not end up being as legendary as the helmet catch from 2008, but Holmes keeping his tippy-toes in is just as important.

-Where was Troy Polamalu all game? Wasn’t he supposed to be an MVP candidate and have a huge impact? Oh yeah, they had him playing centre field about 20-yards deep every play. Knowing that, it makes Larry Fitzgerald’s 66-yard touchdown even more special.

-Great restraint by Fitzgerald Sr. In the press box. I know I wouldn’t have been able to hold back at least a fist pump if my son scored in the biggest game ever.

-How do you think the Cardinals were feeling during halftime? Was there ever a more crushing pick-six? A 100-yard return after the Cards could easily have been winning going into the locker room; it doesn’t get much worse than that. Well, act

-The bright side about the Harrison return touchdown is this: If that were the Cowboys it happened to, do you honestly think that two receivers would be making that almost-tackle? Of course not. It’s nice to see Larry and Steve Breaston putting in the extra effort, TO wouldn’t have.

-As far as the MVP choice goes, was there really another choice other than Santonio Holmes? The only other guy I would consider is James Harrison for his return but Holmes deserved it a lot more. Had the Cardinals held on to win, Warner would have taken it without a doubt.

-Finally, what is worse for kids to see during a halftime show? A late 30’s woman’s pierced nipple being exposed or a 50-something year old man’s crotch come flying at you in HD? I might have to go with the Springsteen slide on that one.

This playoffs: 5-6
2008 regular season: 126-101-8
2008 final total: 131-107-8

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