The game should be Super too

Published 7:33 pm Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII

Pittsburgh (14-4) vs. Arizona (12-7) – 6:28 p.m.

Last year’s Super Bowl, with the Giants ending New England’s perfect season, and this one, with such contrasting franchises, histories, seasons and gameplans, are back-to-back Super Bowls in which the football game seems as though it’s holding its own against the parties, commercials, hype and halftime show.

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On the field, forget Arizona’s regular season record and forget Arizona’s 60-plus years of being a worthless team. The Cardinals have put it all together at the right time and there are more than enough reasons to consider them a worthy contender if the Steelers are the heavyweight champions.

Here’s one note on Arizona’s past. A few months after the Tampa Bay Rays went to the World Series, this is in the same category. The Cardinals have had one winning season in the last 23 years.

Kurt Warner’s story was great when he came out of nowhere to lead the Rams to a title. About a decade later, it’s even stranger.

After getting no scholarship offers from Division 1-A schools, Warner went to Northern Iowa, didn’t become UNI’s starter until he was a senior. After college, Warner worked in a grocery store, played Arena Football with the Iowa Barnstormers for three seasons, played in NFL Europe, then finally caught on with the Rams in 1998. Warner was NFL MVP and the Rams were champions in his first full season, 1999.

Even after the title, the odd story goes on. Eventually, the Rams cut Warner. Arizona signed Warner with the intent he’d be the backup to former USC star Matt Leinart. It’s easy to see why any non-Steeler fan will be pulling for Arizona.

Pittsburgh has the number one defense in the league, and perhaps, more than a few TV, radio and newspaper people have said, the most dominate defense since the 1985 Bears.

The Steelers also have support from President Obama, who’s buddies with Steeler owner/campaign contributor Dan Rooney. Whatever my personal political beliefs may be, at least Obama has a real answer to “Who do you like in the World Series/Super Bowl, Mr. President?”

The final bit of Super Bowl hype I like to marvel at is the things Las Vegas makes money on. In other words, gamblers can place money on the coin toss, the number of times John Madden mentions food during the broadcast, and the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach.

Line – Steelers by 7

My pick – Arizona 31-24