Super Bowl 43: a look back

After taking sometime to let things sink in and listen to “experts” and talking heads ramble on, it is time for the Uncle to look back on the game in Tampa affectionately known as the Super Bowl…

  • it was not the best Super Bowl ever!  People have short attention spans and shorter memories.  My Super Bowl “experience” only dates back to Super Bowl XX, but I would put Super Bowls XXIII (49ers over Bengals on late drive by Montana), XXXIV (Kevin Dyson comes up short as Rams beat Titans), XXXVIII (Carolina falls to Patriots on late kick), and XXXII (Elway leads a drive late to give the Bronocos the win over the Packers).  And above all of those, Super Bowl XIII [Pittsburgh edges Dallas] is probably the greatest SB of all time.  People only bring it up because it only happened two days ago.  And while it was a good game, it was good only because it was carried by the fourth quarter.  I have argued the same thing about last year’s Super Bowl — without the fourth quarter breaking the way it did, Super Bowl XLIII would have been a boring game.  Let it age some before proclaiming this the best SB ever.
  • the catch by Holmes was great — but not the best play ever in a Super Bowl.  It was not even the best play in this Super Bowl — that honor goes to Harrison’s 100 yard return.  The greatest play in Super Bowl history occurred last year — yes, the Manning to Tyree play.  I claim this based on the fact that it is actually two great plays combined to make one — Manning’s impression of Houdini and the Tyree’s catch.  The Holmes catch was essentially a do-over.  Roethlisberger had Holmes on the left side but threw it a bit high.  He then went back to Holmes and the receiver made a great catch.  It is still a great play, but it is like when Nate Robinson had a ridiculous number of attempts to make a dunk in the NBA slam dunk competition — eventually he was going to get it.  The Steelers had another chance and delivered.  The Manning-to-Tyree play was once in a lifetime.
  • On Holmes, he was definitely worthy of the MVP, but it is definitely debatable.  I have heard some claim Roethlisberger could have received the MVP, but most claim it because of the final drive.  Again, short-term memory.  However, others have argued that he had a strong overall game and I will agree with that.  His INT was a fluke pick off of a batted ball [TRANSFER!], but overall his stats were very solid.  A few people have said that James Harrison is just as deserving.  I believe it was Adam Schefter on the Dan Patrick Show who said that had it not been for the way the game ended, Harrison would have been the MVP.  But, I’ll go a different way — LaMarr Woodley.  He had three tackles, two sacks (the only sacks for Pittsburgh), one forced fumble that ended the game and another that was overturned upon further review.  He was a handful and caused havoc all evening.  But he did all the dirty work that no one appreciates.  He is just as deserving as Holmes, Roethlisberger or Harrison.
  • the late fumble was correct.  At least to me it was a fumble.  And the referees made the correct field call.  Stop me if I am wrong, but if it was ruled incomplete pass, then there would have been no chance to review it.  A fumble is reviewable.  The problem really was the fact that it was never reviewed.  Had it been reviewed, the call likely would have stood.  It is very close, but it looked like Warner lost control right before he began his forward motion.  Out of control (and out of his hands), his forward motion pushed the ball; he did not “pass” it.  So, I think it was the correct call.
  • additionally, the fumble did not cost the Cardinals the game.  I hate when people point to the last play of the game or a late play as the reason teams lose.  Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin is right when he said his team plays for sixty minutes.  He has a good point…it is a sixty-minute game.  It is not a 20-second game.  The Harrison interception, the slow start (the first half score should have been worse), the conservative defense after taking the lead.  All of these contributed to the Cardinals losing the game.  It was not one play.  Even the penalties cannot completely be blamed.  Yes, some of those personal fouls were touchy, but play disciplined football and they would not find themselves running over a holder.
  • stop with the “Steelers are the greatest franchise in NFL history” nonsense.  Greatest in modern NFL history (i.e., Super Bowl era)?  Probably.  Six Super Bowl victories is the most ever.  But they do not have the most NFL titles ever — that belongs to the Green Bay Packers.  Again, this is a narrow-minded view in terms of the history of the NFL.  The Packers have twelve NFL titles — three in the Super Bowl era (out of four appearances).  Claiming that the Steelers are the greatest franchise ever is like claiming the Colts are the greatest regular season team ever because they have the most AFC South Division Titles (five) — the AFC South has only been in existence since 2002.  Pittsburgh is certainly one of the greatest franchises…but hold off on the best ever.  That [best ever] is still likely the Green Bay Packers.

In the end, it was a great Super Bowl.  Not the greatest and certainly not without its controversies, but an overall enjoyable game.  Pittsburgh played well throughout and Arizona played well once they showed up (beginning of the second quarter).  It was settled on the field and Pittsburgh is a deserving NFL champion…so congrats to the Steelers.

But of course, we all know it should have been the Patriots and the Giants again…at least, the BCS would have said so.

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