09000d5d80e863bd_gallery_600On Sunday, the AFC’s Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the NFC’s Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII by a score of 27-23. The Steelers were appearing in their seventh Super Bowl and obtained their sixth win, the most by any team in NFL history. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals can only hang their heads and say ‘There’s always next year.’ Still, the Cardinals have nothing to be ashamed of, propelling themselves from the dog house of the NFL into their first ever Super Bowl appearance (since their founding in 1920). The Cardinals put up a good fight, but in the end, The Steel Curtain prevailed.

Complete with links for reference, here are my immediate reactions of Super Bowl XLIII:

PRE GAME/HALFTIME SHOW

It’s a bit early to have Mike Holmgren and Tony Dungy serve as analysts for any broadcasted game, let alone the Super Bowl. Holmgren coached the Seattle Seahawks and literally ‘retired’ about a month ago, and Dungy retired from coaching the Indianapolis Colts exactly three weeks ago… Too soon guys. Too soon.

Why was our President Elect, Barack Obama, being interviewed live as part of the pre game coverage on NBC? He should be, you know, running the country.

Faith Hill exclaimed after singing ‘God Bless America’, “WhOOOoo! That’s nice!”, and it was nice… but why is ‘God Bless America’ being sung before the Super Bowl? The National Anthem is enough pre game patriotism, especially when it’s sung by Jennifer Hudson. That girl can wail! She took the National Anthem and owned it. Bravo. But back to the point; ‘God Bless America’ is a bit much. I love Irving Berlin, but he doesn’t belong in football. This was only the beginning of the America-Love-Fest that was Super Bowl XLIII’s pre game show…

Recognizing Flight Crew 1549 was nice… and awkward. As was General David H. Petraeus being present (amongst football greats like John Elway) at the Coin Toss ‘Ceremony’. He even tossed the coin! All of this hoopla over deciding who gets the ball first got me thinking; what the hell is ceremonious about the Coin Toss Ceremony anyway? Everyone stands around both team’s captains to witness a coin flip, a process that lasts about fifteen seconds. Apparently it must be exhilarating to witness this process live because Monster.com is offering (as a prize) to send someone to Super Bowl XLIV’s Coin Toss Ceremony! WOW!!

I despise sideline reporters. They are all awkward women who are annoying. During the pre game one was quoted as saying09000d5d80e84faa_gallery_600, “F. Scotts Fitzgerald”… F. Scotts Fitzgerald. Also, they were already creating drama around Arizona QB Kurt Warner’s potential retirement. Come on now.

Minutes before kickoff, Warner won the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Too bad it wasn’t what he really wanted, another Championship. But seriously, the Man of the Year Award is cool.

Bruce Springsteen was the star of half time and put on a decent show (although by the end he sounded off pitch and totally gassed). Towards the end of his set he decided to yell “I’m tellin’ ya, we’re gonna be goin’ overtime! Man, it’s gonna be penlty time! I mean delay of game! Delay of game!,” (about 1:20 in). To say the least it was hilarious and jarring. I don’t think Bruce has ever watched a football game in his life. On the list of great half time shows, the top two still remain Paul McCartney and Janet Jackson’s boobs.

THE GAME

‘Exciting’ Super Bowl fact: The NFC has now won 12 straight coin tosses according to Al Michaels, and of those 12 coin toss victories, only 3 teams have won the Super Bowl (Giants, Buccaneers, Rams). Also, have John Madden or Al Michaels aged at all over the last 15 years? They look the exact same and every year and it is bordering on scary.

The first drive of the game by Pittsburgh was everything one (except Cards fans) hopes an opening drive in the Super Bowl could be! It was exciting and al09000d5d80e84702_gallery_600though Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s rushing TD was challeneged and overturned, the ensuing field goal proved to be crucial for a Pittsburgh victory. Due to those three points, Kurt Warner was forced to try for the end zone on the final drive of the game, not a field goal. That hurt the Cardinals considering Warner was rushed and threw the game ending interception. Ouch.

The last five minutes of the first half were some awesome football, particularly the last 16 seconds; Defensive Player of the Year, James Harrison, ran the ball back 100 yards on a Warner interception for the TD. It was the longest play in Super Bowl history and Cardinals WR’s Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston nearly tackled Harrison to save the TD, but to no avail. The half ended with the Steelers in front, 17-7.

A thought on instant replay: all footage should be visibly timed and the cameras should all be synched to the exact same time. This way when a play is being reviewed, while angles may be different, all the times will be the same. This will allow officials to simultaneously look at multiple angles of the same play (with synched up times on each angle) and judge from there where the ball is (or knees or toes, etc.). It may make calls more accurate.

A roughing the passer call in the 3rd quarter on Arizona LB Karlos Dansby was a bit of a stretch, but a dumb play by Dansby. While it was a late hit (and Dansby should know better), I’ve seen far worse hits on QB’s that weren’t called. Like in week 5 when Cardinals Safety Adrian Wilson delivered a helmet to helmet hit on Bills QB Trent Edwards. The hit gave Edwards a concussion, and since he returned from that hit a few weeks later, the Bills went 3-9 the rest of the season. Feel that Karma working Cards fans?

With under three minutes to go in the 4th quarter, a Pittsburgh holding penalty in the end zone cost them a safety, and therefore 2 points. The Steelers sat on their own 1/2 yard line on 3rd and 10 and would have picked up a first down on a 20 yard pass to Santonio Holmes, if not for the flag. Before this one, the last sack in a Super Bowl was by Bruce Smith (Go Bills!) on Jeff Hostetler of the NY Giants in Super Bowl XXV (also in Tampa Bay).

Penalties killed the Cards as they had 11 for 106 yards. Former Buffalo Bill, OT Mike Gandy, had a rough day and was penalized multiple times for Arizona. The Steelers had 7 penalties for 56 yards.

At the end of the day, Big Ben came through for his team. Nothing says ‘Super Bowl’ like a game winning drive from a franchise QB! As an arm chair coach I need to say that Mike Tomlin called far too many QB sneaks in this game. Obviously it didn’t really matter, but Ben Roethlisberger is definitely not Mike Vick. Oh yeah, and at age 36, Tomlin becomes the youngest coach ever win (and coach) a Super Bowl!

THE PLAYERS

Instead of me telling you how bad ass Santonio Holmes was in this game, just click here and watch his highlight reel. Even before he caught the game winning TD (in triple coverage!) he was the bane of the game for the Cardinals. His stats for the day were 9 catches for 131 yards, and a TD. Without a doubt, Holmes totally deserved to be Super Bowl MVP.

09000d5d80e842dc_gallery_6002On the other sideline was WR Larry Fitzgerald, who I think would have been the Super Bowl MVP had Arizona won. Fitzgerald had 7 catches for 127 yards and 2 TD’s, and was seen mouthing the words “Oh no” after the Holmes TD. That shot of Larry was heart wrenching for Cards fans, exhilirating for Steelers fans, and priceless for everyone else.

Following the Cardinal victory against the Eagles in the NFC Championship game, WR Anquan Boldin stormed off the field in protest of his role as a ‘decoy’ in the offensive scheme against Philadelphia. He wanted more looks from QB Kurt Warner. That really didn’t happen in the Super Bowl as his only notable play was when he set up the first Cardinal TD of the game;  a falling pass from Warner to Ben Patrick. Overall Boldin picked up a few first downs, but was pretty quiet as he had 8 catches for 84 yards. Cardinals fans have to be nervous that he won’t return next season, and if he doesn’t I hope he knows the Buffalo Bills are in need of a WR!

From Woodland Hills, PA, Cardinals WR Steve Breaston had a solid game against his childhood team, and is Arizona’s unsung hero of Super Bowl XLIII. It took Warner nearly 20 minutes to find Fitzgerald or Boldin, so in the meantime he found Breaston who had 6 catches for 71 yards. If not for his performance early on, the Cardinals would have found themselves down by more than 10 points at the end of the first half. This season Breaston, (Arizona’s #3 WR) had 77 catches for 1,006 yards and 3 TD’s, while Lee Evans (the Buffalo Bills #1 WR) had only 63 catches for 1,017 yards and 3 TD’s this season. A #3 and a #1 WR have similar stats…why do the Bills continue to pain me.

Being a rookie playing in the big game, Cardinals CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wasn’t terrible. Sure Santonio Holmes got the better of him and he did have a 15 yard facemask penalty in the 3rd, but check out this play!

COMMERCIALS/OTHER STUFF

Three sexual innuendos spoken during the game’s TV broadcast:

“The QB has to slide it in.” – John Madden      09000d5d80e84fa5_gallery_6003

“Maybe that’s how he gets so much penetration- he jumps early.” – John Madden

“See Bill Bidwill’s jacket off?” – Al Michaels

Mark the date: 8/7/09 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

My favorite commercialThe Miller High Life Dude.

Commercials I liked: Pepsi’s I’m Good,  Teleflora.com,  Pepsi’s Refresh Anthem.

Honorable mention: Pepsi’s Pepsuber Guy. This actor had a great cameo in HBO’s Flight of the Conchords.

Commercials I didn’t like: E-Trade Talking Babies (I absolutely hate the talking baby fad. Correction, I despise it. It’s annoying, lame, and unoriginal) and Alec Baldwin.

There were far too many Budweiser ads. Because of them I now feel tipsy when I see both dalmatians and clydesdale horses.

NBC was airing some plugs informing the public that a handful of their sit-coms will be aired i09000d5d80e86ca4_gallery_600n 3D… Am I the only one asking why!? Where are people getting 3D glasses from? Does NBC expect the majority of Americans to own 3D glasses? I thought that was an 80’s thing.

If there are four things Super Bowl commercials have taught me it’s the following:     1. Violence is funny     2. Animals doing human things is funny     3. Fat people falling is funny     4. Big boobs get things done. God Bless America.

THE FINAL WORD

So once again another NFL season comes to a thrilling conclusion! To the Steelers fan: Mike Tomlin said it best, “It wasn’t pretty, but that was 60 minutes of Steelers football!” Indeed it was. Congratulations Steelers nation, you guys earned your 6th Championship Title. Enjoy it while you can, because the rest of the league is gunning for you…

To the Cardinals fan: Buck up kiddo! I’ve kept your seat warm over here in the Championship-less Club for the last month. You’ll find it in-between the Buffalo Bills fan and the Atlanta Falcons fan.

Until next season: GO BILLS!! GO FALCONS!!

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