It's Super Bowl Sunday, and we've got Joe Concha below the fold. Also, those following the track career of Brandon Sheppard get an early season update:
Pigskins and Politics: Super Bowl Edition!
Two teams with completely opposite histories meet in Tampa on Sunday at 6:28 EST to decide who will be the winner of Super Bowl XLIII. And the last part of the sentence is why the NFL is always one step ahead of the NBA, MLB and NHL: Roman numerals and a running count.
It just looks and sounds so regal. SUPER BOWL XLIII. Could you imagine if the NBA tried this now? Stay tuned for the NBA Finals LII on ESPN! How about The World Series CVIII? It just doesn't work, does it?
President Obama (like writing checks with the year "2009" on it, writing "President Obama" still takes a little getting used to) likes the Steelers, which will mark the second time he has opposed an Arizona entity. But give the man credit for at least picking a side, because you know President Hillary Clinton would have declared she liked the Arizona Steelers to take home the Lombardi Trophy.
But more importantly, who does Joe Concha like? Not that it matters with a 4-6 record in the playoffs against the spread this year. But this whole endeavor is not-for-profit, a stimulus for the mind, and therefore cannot be taken seriously (as many of your not-so-nice emails have reminded me). It should be noted, however, that I'm undefeated in the past when referring to myself in the third person.
Steelers-Cardinals: Speaking of undefeated, the Steelers are 2-0 in Super Bowls when wearing their white uniforms. They are also unbeaten in the state of Florida in the Super Bowl. The Cardinals are undefeated in the playoffs in the 21st Century (3-0). That's the best I could come up with for them.
You'll know who's going to win this game after each team's first two possessions. If the Cardinals can get more than four yards per carry from Edgerrin James, it's over for the Steelers. An effective Cards ground game, which was the worst in the NFL in the regular season but found a second life in January, will neutralize the Steelers pass rush. And if you give wily 'ol Kurt Warner time to throw and that Fitzgerald guy, who has become Danny Manning of '88 and Orel Hershiser '88 combined this postseason, to get open, it's lights out for Pittsburgh.
You'll know the Steelers are on their way to their 6th Super Bowl Championship if Kurt Warner is sacked or hurried at least twice in the Cards' first two offensive possessions. In other words, this game will completely be predicated on the Steeler defense. Easier said than done when seeing what Warner did against a stingy Eagles defense in the NFC Championship game (279 yards, 4 TDS, 0 INT).
Ben Roethisberger has been OK during the playoffs, throwing two touchdowns and zero interceptions in two home games. The Steelers will run the ball and Roethisberger will get his 200 yards, but unless the Cards can be slowed down (averaging 32 points per game in January), Pittsburgh ain't gonna outscore them.
As someone born and bred in Jersey, I applaud the NFL for getting Bruce to do the halftime show. No risk of wardrobe malfunctions here. Unless, of course, Steve Van Zandt has something pop out accidentally. As Howard Stern once noted: "On the Sopranos, Steve looks like an Italian man. And when he's with the E Street band, he looks like an Italian woman."
At least having lots of Bruce means having less of Keith during NBC's halftime show. We all knew Olbermann would completely implode mentally after losing Bush, Palin and Cheney to fill 98.7% of Countdown's content, but to say that a released Gitmo detainee was inspired to become an Al Qaeda leader because of conditions at Gitmo means KO has gone loco. And his recent ratings slide reflects it.
But we still wish Keith a Happy 50th birthday. Speaking of 50, we also wish him well on his new 50-inch waistline. When thinking of championship trophies, Olbermann now best resembles the Stanley Cup, which is another sport brought to you by the sinking ship that is NBC.
Final prediction for Super Bowl XLIII:
Super Bowl MVP: Troy Polamalu (the first defensive player to win it since somebody named Dexter Jackson did six years ago).
Thanks for joining me here each Sunday for Pigskins and Politics. The pleasure has been all here on this side of the keyboard.
Joe Concha is a weekly contributor to Newsbusters and will be watching the Super Bowl from the cozy confines of Morristown, NJ. Email questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, Joe. It's been a pleasure for us here at NB, and we look forward to your commentary in the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament, as well as the NHL and NBA playoffs.
Finally, Brandon Sheppard, the Huskers' number two high jumper, has a bruised foot that's keeping him out of his premier event. However, he can still run...and apparently quite well. As such, in only the second sprint attempt in his college or high school career, Brandon actually came in sixth in yesterday's 60 meter dash actually scoring a point for his team!
And, although he finished ninth in the 200 meter dash, he was first in his heat, and felt he would have done better if there had been more competition behind him.
To be sure, I can't be impartial here. BUT, don't you have to love the heart of a kid who can't compete in his real event, so instead of just sitting on the sidelines waiting to heal, he finds another event to help his team score points?
As I wrote him last night, I've never been prouder.