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Sunday, February 1st is the 43rd Super Bowl and the two teams facing off are the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers (in case you’ve been asleep for a week). Now, many people think this matchup is going to be boring as the teams have not played recently. And, to top it off, the Arizona Cardinals have just recently found relevance again.
However, I think there are quite a few storylines that will be fun to follow, a few of which people will recognize during the game.
The first interesting story revolves around Ken Whisenhunt, coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004-2006 and their tight ends coach in the three years prior to that. He is very much responsible for the development of Ben Roethlisberger. After Sgt. Slaug…I mean Bill Cowher retired, the Steelers front office chose to go with Mike Tomlin, Minnesota’s defensive coordantor, as head coach over Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt interviewed for head coaching jobs and ultimately took the job in Arizona.
While the Pittsburgh offense may have changed in the two years since Ken has been gone, he probably knows a lot of the personnel and their strengths and weaknesses rather well. On the flip side of this is the fact that Tomlin has access to all of the practice footage and game footage from Whisenhunt’s time as offensive coordinator to plan out defensive schemes against.
Another story to look for is just how good Larry Fitzgerald is. He has been phenomenal in this post season and is simply one of the best receivers currently in the game. He’ll be the best one on the field Sunday and it’ll be great just to watch him without a rooted interest in his performance. Arizona has a great trio of receivers in Fitzgerald, [Anquan] Boldin and [Steve] Breaston, but Fitzgerald is clearly on a different playing field than the other two.
I would look out for the defensive lines in this game. Pittsburgh’s performed very well, and should do a good job of forcing the Cardinals to have to pass for over five yards for a first down on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s defensive line was below average, especially at getting pressure on the quarterbacks, which might force them to blitz. This would pull linebackers and safeties out of coverage and give Roethlisberger a better chance of connecting with tight end Heath Miller over the middle. However, Pittsburgh’s offensive line is subpar at pass protection, so Roethlisberger will have to be careful in the case of a blitz and must get the ball out quickly.
I can tell you right now not to look for outstanding special teams play from either team. So instead, here’s a story that maybe you, my reader(s), can assist me with. What the heck happened to Kurt Warner’s wife since he last appeared in a Super Bowl? Did he insist that if he was to remain on the national stage she had to look feminine and foxy? This is an unsolved mystery.
Well, I hope you’re able to enjoy those portions of the Super Bowl, and the game in general. I’m looking forward to the lack of Buck and Aikman this year. The less Joe Buck in my life, the less likely I am to fall asleep during a sporting event. And if you’d like to know who I’m predicting to win, that’d be the Steelers (Later this week the entire SoB staff will publish their picks).