Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Super Bowl Thoughts

Posted by mizzou1028 on February 2, 2009

At the risk of bouncing all over the place with no clear order to my comments from the Super Bowl, I offer my thoughts on the game in a quick hit format:

– What a fantastic game.  For the second straight season, the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl was scored with 35 seconds remaining.  As a fan you can’t ask for much more than that. 

– What a phenomenal job by Ben Roethlisberger on the final drive.  I lost count of how many guys he escaped from during the game, and on the final drive especially he kept plays alive with his feet and made perfect throw after perfect throw.  His pass to Santonio Holmes for the winning touchdown was threaded perfectly through three Cardinals defenders.

– It’s almost hard to realize that Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowls in his first four years as a quarterback.  The way he can scramble and keep plays alive actually reminds me of my favorite player of all-time John Elway.  There is a certain irony that Roethlisberger wears Elway’s number seven.  While I have certain bitterness toward Roethlisberger and the Steelers because of their AFC title game win over the Broncos three years ago (and my anger over how many Steelers fans elbowed their way into Invesco Field that day), it’s impossible not to applaud his athleticism and the way he gets the job done in crunch time.  I think he should have the MVP, but Holmes is deserving as well. 

– Speaking of which, that was an awesome catch by Holmes for the winning score, and a great job to touch both feet in bounds, but I think David Tyree’s catch in last year’s Super Bowl was much more impressive.  Still, Holmes really stepped up with big catches on the final drive. 

– I don’t think Arizona’s scheme defensively was the problem on Pittsburgh’s final drive.  Roethlisberger and Holmes made a series of terrific plays that any defense would have been hard pressed to stop.  I actually thought Arizona’s defense really stepped things up in the red zone throughout the game, holding the Steelers to two field goals inside the five yard line. 

– Great job by the Cardinals to battle back, overcoming an early 10-0 deficit to get back in the game in the second quarter, and again overcoming a 20-7 deficit to take the lead.  Pittsburgh doesn’t usually lose when they have a double digit lead, and while moral victories don’t count for anything in the NFL, Arizona deserves to be commended for nearly pulling it off.

– James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return at the end of the first half was the play of the game.  Had the Cardinals scored a touchdown, they would have had a 14-10 halftime lead, plus the ball to begin the second half.  The interception and ensuing return caused a monster momentum swing had a big effect on the game.  To be honest I thought the Cardinals were almost done and buried when they didn’t do anything on their first possession of the second half, so they deserve a lot of credit for battling back. 

– On that play, it appeared to me that Kurt Warner misread the coverage by the Steelers defense.  It seemed like he thought the Steelers were going to blitz, and that Anquan Boldin was going to be wide open on the slant pattern.  Instead, Harrison sat back, and saw where Warner was going with the football.  It was clear watching the replay that Boldin was nowhere near open and that throw should not have been made, so it seems to me that Warner may have been expecting something different from the Steelers defense. 

– Give Harrison credit for the job he did on the play.  He read Warner perfectly, and then made a phenomenal run for the touchdown.  His touchdown carried a lot of importance given that time expired during the play, which means that had he been bumped out of bounds at the 2 yard line, the half would have been over and Pittsburgh wouldn’t have been able to add to the 10-7 lead. 

– Larry Fitzgerald deserved a ton of credit during the play too.  If you missed his effort on the play, try to watch him during one of the 50,000 replays you’ll see today on ESPN.  He started chasing Harrison from four yards deep in the end zone (and to boot Fitzgerald was on the opposite side of the field on the play, so he was chasing Harrison at a diagonal from the opposite corner), and kept hustling despite getting blocked by a Steeler defensive linemen.  At one point Fitzgerald even bumped into a teammate at the 30 yard line along the sideline, shoved him out of the way, and very nearly caught Harrison before he scored.  Even though Fitzgerald didn’t prevent the touchdown, his hustle on the play and refusal to give up is something we don’t see often enough from players. 

– I love the way Fitzgerald plays the game, he’s the anti-TO, unselfish, humble and willing to go all-out on every play.  He doesn’t whine when he doesn’t get the ball.  I wish he was on my team.

– The game was terrific, but in theme with the 2008 season, the officiating was, ahem, questionable at best.  Check that, Terry McAulay and his crew were awful.  Consider:

– How is it that the final play of the game (not counting the kneel down) was not reviewed??????  I’m talking about the strip and fumble recovery by the Steelers defense with five seconds left.  It seemed to me that Warner’s arm may have indeed been going forward, and that should have been an incomplete pass.  I am befuddled as to why there is not a bigger stink being made about this.  I’m not sure if the replay was conclusive, but my opinion is the arm was going forward and it should have been ruled an incomplete pass, not a fumble.  At the very least, the play should been reviewed by the booth upstairs.  Even if the call stood, at least everyone would know that it was reviewed.  Why do we even bother to have replay if the biggest play of the entire season is not subject to a review?  It is absolutely inexcusable that a Super Bowl crew wouldn’t look at that play.  Factor in there was a 15-yard penalty assessed on the Steelers following the play, and a reversal would have allowed the Cardinals one shot for a hail mary from the 30 yard line.  Terry McAulay and his crew should be ashamed they allowed this to happen.  Really, I am astounded that this is not a much bigger topic in the media today. 

– Consider also the number of calls that were missed in the game.  For starters, how was Holmes not assessed a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty following his winning touchdown?  The rule says you’re not allowed to use the ball as a prop in a celebration, yet he clearly did.  How about a roughing the passer penalty against the Cardinals for a hit on Roethlisberger, yet a much later after the play and more brutal hit against Warner wasn’t called?  How about the roughing the holder penalty against the Cardinals’ Adrian Wilson?  Seemed to me that was not an intentional blow by Wilson.  What about Roethlisberger getting away with at least two very blatant intentional groundings that weren’t called (one where the refs claimed he was out of the pocket and clearly was not)?  Consider also that the Cardinals were correct on two challenges during the game.  This means that the calls were originally missed by the officials.  All told, there were a lot of flags thrown during the game, but perhaps it’s the ones that weren’t thrown and should have been that made as much of a difference.

– Don’t get me wrong, Pittsburgh deserved to win the game.  They made the plays when they had to especially on the final drive, but you can’t deny that McAulay and his crew had an adverse impact on the game.  I’ll say it again, I am STUNNED that there isn’t more of a fuss being made about the lack of a review on the final play.  The league is very fortunate that the officials’ poor performance is overshadowed by the terrific finish and the great game.  It is ironic though that each of Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl wins in the past four years is marred by poor officiating. 

– All that being said, this is not to take away from the Steelers’ victory.  Roethlisberger and Holmes were amazing on the final drive, and James Harrison had a big impact on defense.  I am confident that future Super Bowls will be along the lines of the previous two years: close games with exciting finishes.  It was a terrific game, one that is hard to top in excitement from a fan’s perspective.


2 Responses to “Super Bowl Thoughts”

  1. Doug Baker said

    I thought that last play was a fumble, but of course they should have reviewed it.

  2. Throwbacks said

    I’m a lover of football, just wish it was played all year round, thanks for posting such a good article. I’ll be back to read often now.

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