Tag Archives: Super Bowl

SOME FASCINATING THINGS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE SEEN AT THE SUPER BOWL

                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

    

There were a number of fascinating things that happened during the great football game that was Super Bowl 43 (time to forget about the Roman Numerals, no?).  Here’s a list and a brief discussion:

 

1 – THE HARRISON TOUCHDOWN RETURN – One of the greatest (maybe the greatest) plays in the history of football, Steeler James Harrison picked off a pass headed into the end zone and trudged down the sideline about 100 yards to just get in for a game-changing play.  But did anyone notice Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals running (out of bounds) down the sideline for about 25 yards?  The excellent NFL VP of Officiating, Mike Pereira, reviewed the play for the NFL Network and stated that the Steelers would have had one more play even if Harrison was tackled on the one because the Cardinals were charged with a face mask penalty.

    

But here’s the fascinating part:  As Fitzgerald was sprinting down the sidelines out of bounds, he literally ran into his own man (#21, Antrel Rolle) who was not in the game.  So it’s pretty clear that Fitzgerald would have gotten to Harrison earlier and (maybe) tackled him before he scored the game-changing touchdown.  While, according to Pereira, the Steelers would have had one more play before the half, there’s certainly no guarantee that they would have scored a touchdown or even whether they would have settled for a field goal.  In theory, at least, one could argue that Larry Fitzgerald running into his own man might have cost the Cardinals the Super Bowl.  Fascinating, no?      

    

2 – THE LATE SAFETY – There’s been a lot of talk about this, but this writer thinks that the Steelers should have played it extra safe with a lead late in the game.  Up six, the Steelers could have played FOR a safety.  That is, if they ran three running plays up the gut (or even three QB-type sneaks), they would have either forced Arizona to use all of their time outs OR they could have run significant time off the clock (or some combination thereof).   

     

On television, John Madden realized when the Steelers lined up for third down that they might actually take a safety (he said they could do it literally as the ball was being snapped).  Of course, since there was a hold in the end zone on the pass completed on that play, the safety was automatic.  Al Michaels never understood the taking a safety potential, stating that the Steelers had to get a few yards for the punter to have an easier punt out of the end zone, as if the Steelers would have punted on fourth down.  If the Steelers had wound up punting from their own end zone (if it had played out that way) up six, it would have been one of the dumbest plays in Super Bowl history.  Interesting, no?

     

3 – THE LARRY FITZGERALD TOUCHDOWN LATE IN THE GAME – The Steelers were roundly criticized for playing their safeties too deep and allowing Larry Fitzgerald to run a little slant and go right up the middle for a touchdown to give the Cardinals the lead late in the game.  And there is certainly some truth in that criticism.  But that’s not why Fitzgerald scored. 

        

On that play, Fitzgerald was lined up in the slot.  Both wide receivers ran out patterns.  Inexplicably, BOTH safeties went to double the outside receivers on their respective side.  Since All-World Troy Polamalu was lined up on Fitzgerald’s side, it’s hard to believe he would leave Fitzgerald to double anyone else on the planet.  But that’s exactly what happened and that blown coverage, even more than the prevent defense that the Steelers were playing, was the key to the Fitzgerald touchdown.

    

4 – THE SUPER BOWL-WINNING TOUCHDOWN AND CELEBRATION – Everybody saw the stunning catch in the end zone by Santonio Holmes to, essentially, win the Super Bowl.  Tens of millions of people saw Holmes, after the touchdown, definitely use the football as a prop to do a Lebron James-like celebration.  But no penalty was called.  Why not?

    

Well, according to Mike Pereira, VP of Officiating, it WAS a penalty.  But since it wasn’t immediately after the touchdown (Holmes was congratulated by numerous teammates first), no official actually saw it.  According to Pereira, if seen it would have been called.  While, again, we’ll never know what would have happened, at a minimum, the Steelers would have kicked off from the 15, not the 30.  Stunning stuff for the biggest game of the year.

    

5 – THE FINAL KURT WARNER FUMBLE PLAY – Still with a chance, Kurt Warner went back to pass and was hit while his arm was not yet going forward.  A close play to be sure, but it was properly ruled a fumble, essentially ending the Super Bowl.  Immediately the critics went nuts.  Why wasn’t it reviewed?

    

Well, it was reviewed.  But it was reviewed upstairs quickly and not announced in the normal way.  Apparently, it was quickly concluded (correctly) that it was a fumble.  But, in the biggest game of the year with tens of millions of viewers watching, it should have been given, for lack of a better phrase, the “full review” treatment.  That would have saved a lot of questions and criticism for the NFL.

    

All in all, a great Super Bowl: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23.

     

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

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IN THE MFL (MEDIOCRE FOOTBALL LEAGUE), ARIZONA GETS TO THE SUPER BOWL

                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

     

It’s been a mediocre league for awhile now and, with only the Patriots as an exception (due to Tom Brady and, arguably, the greatest coaching and player personnel decisions ever), it will continue to be.  With the salary cap and the multiple divisions and the multiple, dreaded wild cards (losers now can and do win it all), it almost seems that the goal of the NFL is to have 32 8-8 teams.  Maybe most people think that’s a good thing, but it says here that the continuous ups and downs don’t make for a good league but do make for an “exciting” one.

      

Which brings me to the Arizona Cardinals.  In the Super Bowl.  Do they deserve it?  Absolutely.  Kurt Warner, a Hall of Fame quarterback (in this writer’s opinion) before this year’s shocking playoff run, has shown these guys how to win.  With the second best receiver in football, Larry Fitzgerald (no, he’s not yet better than Randy Moss) and unhappy Anquan Boldin, Warner’s got some big-time weapons.  But the fact that they are even in the Super Bowl speaks to the overall mediocrity of the NFL.

       

For a six seed (the Eagles) to play a four seed (the 9-7 division-winning Cardinals) for the NFC Championship tells you all you need to know about the competitiveness and mediocrity of the NFC.  Would the Giants have rolled to consecutive Super Bowls with Plaxico Burress on the team?  We’ll never know, but Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning looked like the mediocre Manning of old against the Eagles on a windy day at the Meadowlands.  It would have been hard to beat the Eagles (even with Plaxico) the way the conditions worked against the Giants (i.e., the wind against Manning’s ability to throw).

       

In the wacky world of the NFL, who would you rather have quarterbacking your team, Kurt Warner or Eli Manning?  Well, Warner had the Giants at 5-4 a few years back when Tom Coughlin, no matter what he said then, threw in the towel for the season and started Eli the rest of the way.  The results were a very poor 1-6 for Eli the starter but all Giant fans (including this one) agree now that Manning’s on-the-job training was the start of the miraculous run of a year ago.  Despite my own personal feelings that there shouldn’t even be wild cards (losers win), it was exciting to see the Giants become a wild card Super Bowl champion.

       

It still seems that Kurt Warner is the better quarterback while the Giants reportedly will soon make Eli Manning the highest paid player ever in NFL history (timing is everything) to be the QB of the Giants for the next 10 years or so.

 

HERE COME THE STEELERS

               

While very few, if any, “experts” gave the Cardinals any real chance to get this far, it says here that this is the end of the line for them.  The Steelers should be able to run on the Cardinals.  Willie Parker won’t be running against the vaunted Ravens defense.  The Cardinals will have trouble running the ball against the Steelers excellent defense.  They can throw it as well as anyone but this is the game in a nutshell: who can run the ball?

       

The Cardinals were pretty bad away from home this year but they did pull off that stunning upset on the road against Carolina.  Hard to say how much of that was Jake Delhomme and how much of it was Arizona but Carolina was undefeated at home this year so give the Cardinals credit.  And while the Super Bowl is at a neutral site, the Steelers seem to be superior, especially defensively, to the Cardinals.

     

HOW ABOUT AN ALL WILD CARD SUPER BOWL?

             

It could have been an all-wild card Super Bowl if the Ravens could have beaten the Steelers.  Would that have been a good thing?  Not really except for this:  the goal of all of these major sports today is to keep as many teams alive for the playoffs (anything can happen then, right?) as possible.  Hope springs eternal and the more games late in the season with “playoff ramifications,” the more exciting a league exists for all. 

    

The regular season is greatly cheapened by the wild cards (it’s even worse in baseball where you play 162 to get knocked out in a best of five – see Cubs, Chicago) but nobody seems to care – now 12 teams (in the MFL) get a second bite of the apple.  Why not just have 16 two-team divisions (think of the rivalries!), no first round byes and make it like March Madness – the Sweet Sixteen.  Think of the possibilities, the excitement, the additional money for the owners!! Just kidding (I think).

    

So we now start the annual two-week Boring  Bowl before the game begins.  It’s almost amateur hour at Super Bowl time.  Apparently more people care about the commercials, the pageantry, the absurdly-long half-time show (with or without The Boss, somebody with a brain should make it shorter) and the even more absurdly long pre-game show than the game itself.  The half-time show, in particular, is an ongoing disaster from an “it’s all about the game” perspective because it can change the actual game itself, a terrible thing.  But hey, everybody’s got to make money so here we are.

      

The Super Bowl, once a stunningly attractive football game is, for all but hard-core fans (and/or gamblers), now a sideshow. 

      

But hey, who cares?      

         

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.