Super Bowl XLIII Redux

First of all, an excellent post-hoc diary of the last hour or so of the game from Bill Simmons of

I do have to disagree with a couple things he wrote, though.  First of all, I did not think it was a poorly coached game at all.  If he had watched all the Steelers games this season instead of his beloved Patriots, he would’ve understood why Tomlin had no faith in his running game on that 4th and inches the opening drive of the game and when they were backed on their own 1 yard line in the 4th quarter.  I saw all their games save one this season (thanks Damo for getting married during football season lol) and I certainly had no faith in their running game this season.  If anything, I get irritated at times by how much they continued to run the ball into oblivion.

Also, I agreed wholeheartedly with calling a timeout with 52 seconds left after the Holmes play to the 6 yard line.  In a purely theoretical sense, the thing to do is let the clock roll, get organized down there, and snap the ball with about 25 seconds left.  But football is not always played on actuarial tables.  Its the Super Bowl.  Its the final drive of the season.  The clock is running.  The line of scrimmage has just been advanced 40 yards.  You have dog-tired but amped up linemen.  Call a timeout.  Regroup.  Gather your thoughts.  Call a well-reasoned play strategy.  Avoid any unneccessary foul-ups.  Yes, its nice to score with absolutely no time left for your opponent to counter-strike.  But its more important that you do score, as oppossed to not scoring because of some avoidable error on your part.

As for the Warner fumble, I have heard some grumble today about that play not being officially reviewed.  My understanding is the booth did take a look at it during the natural change of possession break in the game and decided it was, indeed a fumble.  And, for the record, they were absolutely right, people.  Look at it.  Woodley comes around and knocks the ball out of Warner’s hand while his hand is still cocked behind him.  It has not come forward yet.  Because Woodley hits him from behind, the ball comes loose forward, and by the nature of the hit, Warner’s empty hand does strike the ball.  But its not a throw; it was out of his hand and his hand bumps the ball.  There was a bad call in this game affecting Arizona, but it was the Warner fumble call on their 1st possession of the 2nd half where Whisenhunt was forced to use his 2nd challenge to get it changed to an incomplete pass so they could punt.  The officials got the end of game sequence of plays correct.

Why do so many people rate the e-Trade talking baby ads near the top?  I absolutely loathe with the white hot heat of a thousand suns the talking baby motiff.  Its not funny, its grotesque and addled.  But at least the baby wasn’t throwing up any this year.

For those of you in the Pittsburgh area that have not heard yet, the parade will be at noon Tuesday downtown.

My understanding is there were 84 arrests in Pittsburgh last night as a result of postgame frivolity, concentrated in the Oakland section of town where Pitt students, perhaps somewhat inebriated, engaged in some couch recyling, window aeration, and car repositioning projects.  No word on whether University officials will grant those students extra credits towards graduation with degrees in urban redevelopment.

My recommendation for Super Bowl XLIV; just ask Springsteen back to do halftime again.  Ask Jennifer Hudson back for the national anthem again too.

My other recommendation is for people to not get carried away in hyperbole describing Super Bowl XLIII.  Speaking as a Steeler fan, it was not necessarily the greatest SB ever.  It ranks up there to be sure.  But lets not forget last year’s game, that had the added twist of the underdog not only winning, but winning in stunning fashion in bumping off an undefeated team.  Lets not forget XXXVIII between New England and Carolina that was also jerky in spots and had wall-to-wall action in the 4th quarter.  Don’t forget XXXII with Denver beating Green Bay then (barely) stopping Favre short on the comeback drive.  Don’t forget XXXIV, the one Warner won by 1 yard rather than losing by a 48 yard field goal (XXXVI) or by 35 seconds (last night).  Don’t forget XXIII where Montana did what Roethlisberger did last night.  Don’t forget XXV (like anyone in Buffalo will).  And, of course, don’t forget III, which put this game on the map.  XLIII was a lot of fun, but it by no means invented Super Bowl fun.


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