Super Bowl Week brings the eyeballs and attention of sports fans from around the world and focuses them on a fishbowl that is, at least this year, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Super Bowl week also tends to bring over-hype, over-analysis, over-scrutiny and generally over-(insert any word here).
Steelers opened as a 6.5 point favorite. Not the largest opening line for a Super Bowl, but still fairly large. Not large enough for the gambling public out there. At last glance I'd seen the line at 7 and 7.5 on one source. So the Steelers are getting the betting action. Interesting.
Does this game remind anybody of recent Super Bowls? An immovable force versus a team lucky to be there. The two that come to mind immediately for me are Super Bowl XLII, Patriots versus Giants, and Super Bowl XXXII, Broncos versus Packers. Both underdogs won those games. By all accounts the Broncos and Giants had lost the game by the time they put their pads. All the pundits forgot to tell those teams.
So much has been made of Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner.....oh yeah and those other 9 guys that strap it up when the Cards have the ball. On the other side of the ball the Boys from Bliztburg are garnering all the media attention. Me thinks I smell a trap. The Cardinals defense and Steelers offense have been two of the more Jekyll and Hyde units in football this year. At times the Cardinals generate a lot of pressure with their front 4. This gives their secondary the chance to create a lot of turnovers. At other times they have resembled air or water vapor. The Steelers offense is predicated upon running the ball. They haven't been as successful this year as in years past. Predicting which Ben Roethisberger will show up is like watching the Price is Right. I don't think he even knows.
Let me play out a scenario though: The Cards will get the opening kickoff. If they win the toss they'll take the ball. If the Steelers win the toss they'll defer. Whether the Cardinals score or not, the next possession will be humongous. Do the Steelers score and set the tone, or does the Arizona defense get a stop and prove that they are here to stay?