By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
The Good, Bad and Ugly: Super Bowl XLIII edition
TAMPA — Congratulations to both teams for putting on a good show for the city of Tampa and the fans and good job by the NFL by truly putting on “the NFL experience”.
From an emotional national anthem song by Jennifer Hudson, James Harrison taking it to the house 100 yards for a touchdown, Larry Fitzgerald’s big catch to give the Cardinals a late lead in the game to Santonio Holmes big catch to seal the deal for the Steelers.
What a ride!!
The game, the event the “EXPERIENCE”, was all that and “a bag of pork rinds”. There were some not so moments of greatness and that’s what we will look at in the final edition of “the good, the bad and the ugly.
Ben Roethlisberger: How many times have we seen the 6-foot 5-inch, 240 pound quarterback, move around in the pocket in order to buy sometime for his receivers to get open down the field to make a play. Yeah he may resemble a linebacker rather than a quarterback, but when it comes to his play on field, there is no question he can make all the throws, make smart decisions and lead the Steelers to victory. If “BIG BEN” wasn’t among the great and elite quarterbacks in the NFL before the Super Bowl, he certainly is now and more performances like he had Sunday along with more Super Bowl victories will surely cement his spot in Canton as a Hall of Famer.
James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley: It was another day at the office for the two outside linebackers. Woodley had two sacks and one forced fumble while Harrison intercepted Kurt Warner late in the second quarter and ran the ball back for a game changing touchdown giving the Steelers a commanding 17-7 lead at half time. The two excellent outside pass rushers were focused, fast and furious and know they will need a repeat performance next year in order to get back to the Super Bowl.
The Cardinals front seven players on defense: The Arizona front seven came in the game under scrutiny and left with lots of respect from the Steelers offense. The play of the defensive line and secondary stuffed the Steelers rush and constantly put pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense especially in the fourth quarter when the Cardinals made their run. Another pass rusher on the D-line and an upgrade at the linebacker position and we could be talking about the Cardinal defense as one of the best in the league.
Jennifer Hudson: How could you not feel the passion an emotion Jennifer Hudson displayed when performing the national anthem? The multi-talented singer, filled Raymond James Stadium with a soulful voice that had everyone cheering after wards with joy and sorrow because of the tragedy she’s suffered in her family. It was a performance reminiscent of Whitney Houston and Marvin Gaye.
Ken Whisenhunt and Todd Haley: I thought it would be fair to let these guys share in the blame because one guy(Haley) calls the plays and the other(Whisenhunt) approves them and has lots of input in them. The fact the Cardinals decided to try a slant pattern inside the five yard line rather than call a corner route and pass to Larry Fitzgerald when they had a chance to score with just second remaining, led to James Harrison intercepting the ball and taking it back 100 yards for a touchdown which turned into a 14 point swing in favor of the Steelers. If you have a chance to isolate your best receiver on a corner route one on one against a mistake-prone corner like Ike Turner and you know Fitzgerald has proven he can go up and make every catch imaginable, YOU CALL HIS NUMBER AND GET HIM THE BALL! Instead, Wisenhunt and Hailey decided to throw the slant and Harrison dropped back into coverage and intercepted the ball. A great play by Harrison but a horrible call and decision by Wisenhunt and Hailey.
Kurt Warner: Yes Warner threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, but he was the quarterback that made more mistakes in the game including the crucial interception inside the Steelers five yard line and one of his trademark fumbles after being sacked to end the game(yes it was a fumble). Video game numbers don’t always win football games nor do they get you into the Hall of Fame.
Willie Parker: I know Parker was never 100% in this season and certainly not in the Super Bowl, but he didn’t run the ball with much confidence. He was hesitant in his decisions running the ball both inside and outside and he looked unsure of himself and his abilities. He lacked intensity. Steeler fans better hope injuries to Parker over the last couple of years is not a sign of some very bad times for him and the running game.
The Half time show: Bruce Springsteen?
Arizona tackleWayne Gandy: I can honestly say it seemed like he was holding Steelers linebacker James Harrison on every play. Gandy was clearly over matched against the league’s defensive player of the year as he was flagged for three offensive holding penalties that clearly hurt the Cardinals in the game. Wait a minute, I think Gandy just held Harrison again!
The officiating: 18 penalites (11 for the Cardinals and seven for the Steelers), including numerous holding penalties, a horrible roughing the passer call against the Cardinals and uneccessary personal foul call after a play against Ike Turner in the fourth quarter are examples of bad officiating but the biggest problem I had with the officiating is they threw out the yellow flag too much. The game was too officiated and because of it, took both teams out of their rhythm offensively.
The Cardinal fans: After the game, Arizona fans expressed outrage in the officiating and blamed the loss on the men in stripes. Although there were bad calls in the game, the bad calls were against both teams. If the Cardinal fans believe the Steelers got favorable calls then why were the Steelers penalized six times in the fourth quarter including two personal fouls? Why was the Santonio Holmes touch down re-played and what about the Roethlisberger touchdown that was reversed? I understand Cardinal fans are upset and emotional after losing the game the way they did but blaming the officials for the lost is wrong. You still have to play the game and they were clearly outplayed for three quarters of the game not to mention if the Cardinals defense stops the Steelers on the final drive, they win the game. C’mon, get a grip!
The mainstream media: Not only are they bias an inaccurate in their reporting, racist and self serving, they eat all the food before you can get to it. Greedy bastards!
Andy “I am 200 years old and cranky” Rooney of 60 minutes, Venus Williams, Kevin Costner, the evil……..oops ESPN countdown crew (Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Chris Carter), Jerome “the bus” Bettis, Bob “I know everything” Costas, Commissioner Goodell, Art Rooney, Al Michaels, John “I ate most of the food” Madden, Bill Hilgrove, radio voice for the Steelers, Michael Irvin and I think Greg Gumbel. If it wasn’t Gumbel, it must have been one of those Steelers fans with a Troy Palamalu wigs and a suit.
10 questions in the offseason that need to be answered:
1. Can the Panthers and Dolphins make it back to playoffs considering they have the two toughest schedules in the league next season?
2. Who will be the starting quarterback for the Jets next season?
3. Who will be the starting quarterback for the Eagles next season?
4. Will the Giants bring back Plaxico Burress?
5. Will Tom “Overrated” Brady come back next season healthy enough to lead the Patriots back into the playoffs?
6. How will the Colts do now that Tony Dungy has retired?
7. How will the Buccaneers do with Raheem Morris as their coach?
8. How will Eric Mangini do as the Browns new coach and who will be the starting quarterback for the Browns?(I know that’s two questions)
9. Will Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan have successful sophomore seasons?
10. Will the Steelers repeat as Super Bowl Champions?
My Super Bowl prediction for next season: Check out the site at the start of the pre-season to find out. Until next season, enjoy some basketball for now and be safe!
Don’t forget to check out my live sports show on blogtalkradio.com called “The Batchelor Pad” that airs Monday thru Friday 6pm-8pm est. We discuss the world of sports from a social, economical and racial stand point. Just go to the site and type in “batchelor” in the search section.