Two weeks ago: 2-0
Two weeks ago: 1-1
Scott Feschuk: So it all comes down to this – the championship of the 2008 National Football League season, the Super Bowl of football games, the annual event that through threat of lawsuit humiliates its non-sponsors into using vague expressions like “The Big Game,” “The Big One in Tampa” or “That Thing With the Fat Guys In It” in their advertising.
How big an occasion is this? NBC’s pregame show will feature an 11-man studio panel – the biggest in league history if you don’t count Brent Musburger’s multiple personalities. That’s right, eleven! Bob Costas will be joined Sunday by Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis, Tiki Barber, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Peter King, Matt Millen, Mike Holmgren, Tony Dungy and, I believe, Blitzen.
(As an aside: remind me why I should ever believe a word of analysis that comes out of the mouth of Matt Millen. Given the guy’s record of football-based futility, Millen’s presence is akin to turning on the TV to discover an Academy Awards panel featuring one of the “non-Alec” Baldwins.)
In other news, there’s actually going to be a game played Sunday night. From my perspective, picking Pittsburgh to win this one – and win it big –isn’t rocket science or car science or science of any kind or even home ec or shoe-tying. The Steelers are the vastly superior team in almost every way, coming up short only in the categories of “passing game” and “tedious wives.”
For Arizona to pull off the upset, they’re going to have to come out tearing it up like they did against the Eagles, when the Cardinals put up 24 points before Andy Reid could finish licking clean his fingers from the pre-game rib buffet. I don’t see Pittsburgh being as unprepared (or as hickory smoked).
Kurt Warner is one of the all-time great NFL playoff quarterbacks, and he has at his disposal two extremely dangerous and dynamic receivers. But he also has coming at him about 1,200 pounds of black and gold – as skilled and pants-wettingly terrifying a pass rush as exists in the NFL. If Warner consistently gets four seconds to set up, look around and throw the ball, Arizona could actually win this thing. But that’s about as likely to happen as John Madden failing to desecrate at least three verb tenses. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Scott Reid: I admire your determined effort to get off one last finger-licking joke at Andy Reid’s expense. You show a consistency that rarely appears in your predictions or personal hygiene. But I gotta say – isn’t this about the worst Super Bowl ever? It’s boring with a capital Warner. Pittsburgh vs. Arizona? Where’s the drama? The personality conflicts? The dirty girlfriends? It’s been reduced to a simple sports event rather than the gaudy whorefest that we’ve grown to love.
I mean, Kurt Warner? Come on. Sure, it’s nice to see Leinart fail. But Warner is dry as dust. I caught him telling ESPN this week that he likes to bed down around 8:30 p.m. during the week. Unless Jon and Kate Plus 8 is on – he’ll stay up to all hours to watch those twins!
Don’t you wish Dallas had made it? Lord knows, I hate the Cowboys. But what a week it would have been – Romo sleeping around on Jessica Simpson, Jessica Simpson stealing away with Andy Reid for fried cheese, TO slamming everyone, everyone slamming TO, Wade Phillips asking if anyone’s seen his asthma medicine. Woulda rocked. But this game. It’s just freaking dull!
And poor! It’s the poorest Super Bowl ever. No one wants to buy the big expensive ads. Playboy cancelled its hedonistic party. For Pete’s sake. It’s like a Charles Dickens novel set in Florida.
As for the game. I predict you’ll be wrong again. Yes, the Steelers have a great defence. But at some point you have to bend to reality. Arizona is hot. And that’s more important than anything in sports. They’ve peaked at the perfect time. They have a lightning quick offensive game plan and their defense has suddenly emerged. I predict James will tear it up – 125 yards and at least one touchdown. Boldin will also resurge as Fitzgerald hogs all the attention from that ego disguised as a Chia Pet in Pittsburgh’s secondary. At the end of the day, Vanilla Kurt will hold the Lombardi and MVP trophies above his milquetoast head again. It will cap a remarkable comeback. And somehow, it will still bore everyone’s ass off. Pick: Arizona.
Official Feschuk v. Reid wagers for Super Bowl VVVVVVVVIII: $100 on the outcome of the game itself (Feschuk taking Steelers -7); $50 on Edgerrin James (Reid collects if James rushes for 125 yards or more – Feschuk collects if James rushes for 40 yards or fewer); $5 that by the end of the game Mike Tomlin is revealed to be Omar Epps researching a movie role (Feschuk taking the “pro” side).