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mesaSteeler
01-25-2009, 06:23 PM
Steelers should beat Cardinals, but you never know for sure
http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/Story/01-25-09-SMIALEK--11-SPORTS-COLUMN
Byron Smialek:
Random thoughts of an old sports writer on the way out the door:

# There is almost no way the Pittsburgh Steelers should lose, failing to win their record-setting sixth Super Bowl. A loss by the Steelers could happen, but shouldn't.

# That was pretty much what the Philadelphia Eagles thought of their prospects for victory against the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday in the NFC title game and the right to meet what proved to be the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII.

# Lest anybody think the Steelers are a walkover, consider this: Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner holds the record for the most passing yards in a Super Bowl. Warner threw for 414 yards for the St. Louis Rams in a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Warner completed 24 of 45 passes and had two touchdowns, and was the game's MVP.

# For what it's worth, Warner has the record for the second-most yards passing in a Super Bowl, 365 against New England in a 20-17 loss in Super Bowl XXXVI. In that game, he was 28 of 44 with two TDs and one interception.

# When Ben Roethlisberger was becoming the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, he positively wilted under the big-game pressure, completing 9 of 21 passes with two interceptions. Hines Ward (who else but?) won the Pete Rozelle Trophy as the game's Most Valuable Player after catching a 43-yard pass from wide receiver Antwaan Randle El for a touchdown to seal the 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

# While Super Bowl XL was both the homecoming and curtain call for Detroit native Jerome Bettis, Willie Parker electrified the Ford Field crowd with a Super Bowl-record 75-yard touchdown run from scrimmage.

# "Fast Willie" is going to have to run the football a whole lot farther next Sunday than he did a week ago against the Baltimore Ravens. Twenty-four carries for 47 yards won't get it done.

# No matter what happens, the season that the 37-year-old Warner is having is the best second act in National Football League history.

# Warner's rags-to-riches saga - from stocking supermarket shelves to starring in the Arena Football League to winning the Super Bowl in 2000, and now, nine years later, guiding what has been a hopeless loser for more than 60 years - is a Hollywood movie just waiting to be filmed.

# I'd feel a lot better about the Steelers' chances if Hines Ward had not injured his knee in the AFC title game.

# Frankly, last week's game against the Ravens was among the most brutally hard-hitting football games in the modern era (post NFL-AFL merger) of professional football.

# Any serious attempt to move future Super Bowls to Saturdays to allow hard-partying fans to rest (and, presumably, sober up) to get to work on Mondays, should be met with the force of arms if necessary.

# All that needs to be done to get folks to work on time, and sober at that, is to move the Sunday kickoff back to 4 p.m. at the latest.

# While in a reforming mode, World Series baseball games ought to be played in daylight again to allow the real and sustaining fans of big league baseball - children and us old people - to remain awake in the late innings. Schoolkids need to go to bed by 9 p.m., as do AARP-card-carrying senior citizens.

# Another sports reform that should be made is to do away with college football's Bowl Championship Series and replace it with a three-weekend National Championship playoff tournament.

# In this same space last week, I forgot to mention that Baltimore's rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was due for a Roethlisberg-type el-foldo game. He folded like a card table.

# What? And keep those wonderfully dedicated student-athletes out of the classrooms until late January? Are you serious? They don't go to class as it is. Besides, if a university is going for an honest national championship, you can bet the competing schools will be shut down for the duration.

# If you thought the television coverage last week of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States was excessive, just hold on to your remote control for this week's coverage of Super Bowl XLIII. It'll be wall-to-wall from now until at least two days after the game.

# Room for another reform? Limit the television coverage of future Super Bowls to, say, a half-keg of beer per household. That move alone would all but guarantee a sober workforce the following Monday morning.

Byron Smialek can be reached at bsmialek@observer-

reporter.com

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