Posted by: Staff | 03.02.2009

Super Bowl Review

 

ADAM OFFIT ’09

On it with Offit

Super Bowl Edition: Defense Wins Championships as Steelers Heavy Metal Too Much for Underdog Cards: 27-23

 

(Steelers QuarterbackBen Roethlisberger (shown above) displays the joy and euphoria of winning a Super Bowl while Arizona Cardinals Kicker Neil Rackers (below) shows how agonizing it can be to come so far for nothing)

(Steelers QuarterbackBen Roethlisberger (shown above) displays the joy and euphoria of winning a Super Bowl)

After every Super Bowl, the commissioner of the NFL stands on the podium and congratulates the winning team on becoming the greatest football team in America. But this year, instead of starting his speech with “Congratulations Pittsburgh” or “Ladies and gentleman, your world champion Steelers,” Roger Goodell spoke with the heat of the moment. He glared down at the Vince Lombardi Trophy, looked up and announced; “I didn’t think we could beat last years Super Bowl, but I guess I was wrong.” Although these words gave New England fans a sick reminder of how last season ended, the man had a point. Since Super Bowl 43 was the most watched football game ever (98.3 million viewers in 141 different countries) it will surely go down in history as one of the greatest games.

 

The most talked about part of this match-up was the Arizonas pass-happy offense versus the Steelers shutdown defense. Nobody was quite sure which of the two sides would over power the other. In this reporters opinion, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers defense that won this battle. “But, how?” the common fan may ask. “The Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner threw for three touchdowns, one interception and 377 yards. The Cardinals stud Wide Receiver, Larry Fitzerald, collected 127 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns, while Anquan Boldin caught eight balls for 84 yards. What about this sounds like a defensive victory?” The common fan may have a point, but he or she is missing the bigger picture. The Steelers held the Cardinals to 33 rushing yards on 12 carries. Thirty-three rushing yards is the equivalent of walking from the Dining Hall to the foyer-that’s nothing. Because of Arizona’s failure on the ground, they were forced to go to the air consistently in order to progress up and down the field; making their offense one dimensional.Unfortunately for the Cardinals, throwing against a defense that is expecting the pass is like trying to kick a soccer ball cemented to the ground. The Steelers simply had to sit back and prepare for what they knew was coming, thus they controlled the Cardinals throughout the game.
After scoring only three points in the first quarter off of a Jeff Reed field goal, the Steelers scored the first touchdown and went ahead 10-0 after ending a seven minute drive with a rushing touchdown by Gary Russell. The Cardinals responded with a touchdown drive of their own capped off by a one yard touchdown pass to Ben Patrick. After stopping the Pittsburgh offense, Arizona was threatening to take the lead, but Steelers linebacker James Harrison denied the Arizona assault with an interception returned 100 yards for a touchdown-the longest play in Super Bowl History (See below “The play that changed the game”).
A boring third quarter produced only three points by Pittsburgh, to give the Steelers a 13 point lead going into the final quarter of the season. The Cardinals then did the unthinkable by scoring 16 unanswered points in a little more than five minutes with a safety and two Larry Fitzgerald touchdown receptions. Down by three, the Steelers put together an eight play, 78 yard drive in two minutes and two seconds that concluded with an epic Ben Roethlisberger pass to Santonio Holmes, who kept his feet in bounds and maintained possession of the ball to make a text book catch in the back right corner of the end zone to take the lead. Couldn’t have written it up better than that. After the Pittsburgh defense held Arizona for another 42 seconds, the game was over; Steelers 27, Cardinals 23. After lying face up, passed out on my living room floor from the suspense of the evening, I could finally get to bed at a descent hour.
Unlike last year, the best team in the NFL truly took home the hardware. The Steelers had the NFL’s #1 defense and proved themselves as the best the league had to offer. Although some may be disappointed, everyone can agree that the best team one.

My MVP: Obviously Santonio Holmes (below) was voted as the official game MVP, but I had someone else in mind. This award would go to Steelers linebacker James Harrison, for his non-stop pass rushing effort all night long and his game changing interception. However, Harrison was called for a penalty when he allegedly punched Cardinals safety Aaron Francisco. I’m all for playing tough, but this play was distasteful and unnecessarily harsh. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCrAbErvQ54&feature=related). Instead, my game MVP goes to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger, 21/30 265 yards one touchdown and one interception, didn’t have his best statistical outing, but he made the big plays when his team needed him too. Although six foot five 241 pounds, Roethlisberger was elusive in the pocket escaping would be tacklers all night long.

Super Bowl game MVP: Steelers Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes

 

santonio-homes1

Steelers Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes' game winning touchdown catch (pictured above) is probably what won him game MVP honors (shown below holding trophy)

 

mvp-man-copy

 

The Play that changed the game

With only 10 seconds left in the first half, the Cardinals needed a touchdown to take the lead; a pretty simple task from only 16 feet away.

 

1) Steelers linebacker, James Harrison (92) stepped in front of a pass intended for Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

harrison-1-copy

 

2) With a convoy of blockers, Harrison rumbles 100 yards from coast to coast, leaving in his trail the longest play in Super Bowl history.

harrison-2

 

3) Upon his arrival in the end zone, Harrison collapses from exhaustion after sprinting 300 feet through would-be-tacklers in 15 seconds

harrison-31

Instead of The Cardinals tying the game or taking the lead, Pittsburgh h took a 10 point lead going into the half. Considering only four points was the difference between winning and losing, this was truly the play that changed the game.

 

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