Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Super Bowl XLIII will go down as one of the greatest Super Bowls ever. But lets not get too excited and start calling it hands down the best ever.
It's human nature to call something the best ever after it just happened. The emotion and excitement are fresh in our minds.
Last summer you saw The Dark Knight and you leave the theatre saying it was the best movie you've ever seen along with the best acting performance.
You hear the latest Jay-Z, 50 cent, etc. song and immediately you consider the best song ever.
The same goes with Sunday's Super Bowl. In recent years, we have been spoiled by great Super Bowl showdowns.
Less we forget, when I was growing up, the Super Bowl meant an NFC team blowing out its AFC opponent, with the game usually over by halftime.
I grew up in the era of the 49ers and Cowboys dynasties that were far superior than the rest of the field. I grew up with the Broncos and Bills dominating the AFC only to get blown out of almost every Super Bowl they played in.
From 1980-1997, only 3 Super Bowls were decided by less than 10 points.
Of course every Steelers' fan will regard this Super Bowl as the best ever, but in the name of Terry Bradshaw are they forgetting 1979 and Super Bowl XIII? A 35-31 victory by the Steelers against a more formidable, more hated opponent-the Dallas Cowboys.
Yes, you can very easily argue that this year's Super Bowl may have been the greatest fourth quarter in the game's history, but for 3+ quarters, we really didn't miss much.
A first quarter that saw the Steelers run 19 plays to the Cardinals' 5. And yes, James Harrison's Pick 6 was incredible. But of course many will argue he was down before reaching the end zone or there was an illegal block on his return.
That Pick 6 was pretty much a 14 point swing which seemed to deflate any hope Arizona had to win the game. And with Arizona unable to do anything with the opening possession of the 2nd half, NBC cringed as I'm sure many viewers were already changing the channel are leaving their Super Bowl parties.
In fact, only 3 points were scored in the entire third period.
And then Larry Fitzgerald and the fourth quarter happened. And Ben Roethlisberger did his best Joe Montana impersonation and put together one of the greatest clutch drives in Super Bowl history.
Again, this was the best defense in the NFL going against a 9 win team. A team that limped into the post season. A team many thought didn't even deserve to be in the playoffs.
It was the Pittsburgh Steelers, rich in history and winning, against...the Arizona Cardinals, the red headed step child of the NFL.
The Patriots, Jets, Bears, Cowboys and Buccaneers each had at least 9 wins but failed to make the playoffs.
The Cardinals gave up 56 points to the Jets, 48 to the Eagles, and 47 to the Patriots. That's 151 points allowed in just 3 games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers gave up 223 in 16 games!
When it comes to great Super Bowls, yeah, this one makes the list, but how soon we forget.
In recent memory:
Last year's Giants/Patriots. 19-0 on the line and Eli Manning's scramble and pass/David Tyree's improbable catch-the best play in Super Bowl history.
How about any of New England's three Super Bowl wins?-All decided by 3 points.
Kurt Warner's only Super Bowl ring-2000 victory over Tennessee with the Titans falling one yard short on the final play!
1998-Broncos/Packers-one for the ages as two of the best quarterbacks of the era duke it out with Elway finally winning the big one. And who could ever forget his run on third down and making like a helicopter spinning for the first down.
1991-Giants/Bills (maybe my personal favorite)-Backup QB Jeff Hostetler leading the G-Men to an improbable victory and the game ending with Scott Norwood's missed field goal which denied Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Andre Reed and Co. their one sure shot of a ring.
1989-Bengals/49ers II-Joe Montanta to John Taylor with 34 seconds capping a 92 yard game winning drive.