Posted on: February 2, 2009 6:19 pm
 

You Lucked Out Twice Steelers.

It's not debateable this isn't an argument its a fact.

Steelers Super Bowl Championships

IX X XIII XIV XL* XLIII* REFEREE AIDED

Bill Leavy and Terry McAulay should be Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes' co-MVPS as they played aas big of a role in the steeler wins as these players. Who can forget every call going Pittsburghs way in XL (Roethlisberger on goal line, offensive pass interference penalty)etc... and the refereeing was just as badly in favour of the steelers Sunday well until McAulays crew which had to be corrected on REPLAY to overturn their bad calls in favor of Pittsburgh started making obvious make up calls against them. The Refereeing was ATTROCIOUS and severely impacted the outcome of the game. It all started with the awarding of a TD to Roethlisberger on the first drive (as taught in all reffeing clinics SEE THE BALL CROSS THE PLAIN) and continued phantom chop block call on a player who was NOT engaged and saw it coming. The horrendous roughing the passer call combined whit the horrid running into the holder call in which the refs were dying for Pittsburgh to score but they still couldn't put it in. McAulays crew did a horrible job as they tried to take "control" of the game but did it by just throwing yellow all over the field. How was James Harrison not EJECTED???? (I guess punching players isn't an ejection it's just like hockey). Also whatever happened to the celebration rule when Santonio Holmes was obviously using the ball as a prop. Now this isn't to say every one went against Arizona but the vats majority did. Wayne Gandy had a fistful of jersey on every play and could've been penalized even more but honestly why poor refereeing in the Super Bowl. MORE CALLLS AREN'T BETTER CALLS!!!!! This flag happy crew chosen by the NFL wrecked the flow of the game and didn't even call the fouls when they needed to be. Look at last years SUper Bowl there were missed calls ealry but then Mike Carey and Co dissapeared and let them play. Was there holding on Manning's magical escape YES was it called NO was that the right call yes a foul should be called when it gives a certain team a distinct advantage, not too keep the refs busy. It's a shame that BOTH of the Steelers Super Bowls are tainted.

Posted on: February 2, 2009 12:17 am
 

Kurt Warner Best Super Bowl QB Ever.

Better than Montana, Brady, Bradshaw etc...

Here's why:

In his 3 super bowl games Kurt Warner has given us 3 remarkable performances, he has never had a bad or even average Super Bowl game. Warner's 3 passing totals are most in Super Bowl history and though he only has one super bowl win his TEAMS won or lost the games. While playing for the Rams warner carved up both the Patriots and Titans defenses although the points scored would indicate something different (red zone performance) and today he turned in a masterful performance against what some people were calling the best defense ever or since the first steel curtain. He constantly avoided pressure and when he was called upon he led his team on a scoring drive and put them in a wining situation. Not to mention that he bounced back from his disastrous interception by playing as good a half of football as you can. You'd have to come up with a really good argument to say that he's not even the best PLAYOFF QB ever but we'll leave that for another time. Warner doesn't have the best record of quarterbacks in the Super Bowl based on the facts that he played for a very good but not outstanding Arizona team and 2 very unbalanced St Louis teams. However that does not take away from his individual performances in the Super Bowl. If I'm in the Super Bowl and I can take any quarterback I take Kurt Warner.
Posted on: January 28, 2009 6:29 pm
 

Super Bowl XLIII Pick

Pittsburgh @ Arizona

The Steelers have had one of the most consistently successful seasons in the NFL. Their vaunted defense led them to an AFC Championship and now to the Super Bowl. In the playoffs the "D" has done their part but don't underrate their offense who have been able to create some big plays. WR Santonio Holmes has had a breakout playoff and "Big" Ben Roethlisberger has been cool and collected in or outside the pocket.

The Cardinals came roaring out of the gate cooled down and are now roaring again. Their always explosive offense has been getting a run for its money this playoffs by their turnover causing defense. QB Kurt Warner and WR Larry Fitzgerald have looked more dominant than even Brady to Moss last year.

On Offense the Steelers have done what is required of them all year long (methodical drives, low on turnovers, control field position). Their much maligned offensive line has improved greatly and haven't been a huge liability in the playoffs as some expected. Willie Parker has his burst back after being sidelined with a variety of injuries and has been able to contribute in the playoffs. Roethlisberger has done a great job being creative and making plays. Wrs Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward are both solid receivers and match up well against the Cards secondary if they are both healthy. TE Heath Miller's impact on Pittsburgh's passing game is very underrated and watch for him to have some key 3rd down conversions in this game. Look for the Cards defense led by Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby to stop the run early and force Ben to beat them through the air. This young exuberant group will come out with energy which will be hard for the Steelers to match. Look for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to blanket whichever Pittsburgh receiver he's on.

On Defense the James Harrison and Troy Polamalu led group have been physically beating up opponents but watch for this game to be their hardest test yet. Look for the steelers to try and make Arizona work for everything they get by being physical with receivers and going into some soft zones, don't expect them to come out blitzing like Philadelphia did. Watch for Arizona to exploit Pittsburgh's defense by attacking the seams in their 3-4 alignment. I also expect Arizona to have less balance in their offense than previous games as I expect them to throw early and throw often. Watch for Anquan Boldin to have a bigger game then Larry Fitzgerald does against Pittsburgh because Arizona will throw in the middle a lot against Pittsburgh's zones. Look for Kurt Warner to have a huge day and be very efficient against the Pittsburgh defense.

Arizona is too bad of a matchup for Pitsburgh look for them to jump out to an early lead and make the Pittsburgh offense play catch up where it will start making mistakes.

Arizona 28 Pittsburgh17

Posted on: January 19, 2009 10:10 pm
 

Cameron Wake

WOW! Why am i not surprised that Parcells and co.. signed this amazing athlete. He is the most dominant player I've ever seen in the CFL. He may not have the skills to be an every down NFL player. But expect him to be in on passing situations to wreak havoc heres a sneak peek.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2zk_hiMoVk remeber he's 6'3 260

Posted on: January 18, 2009 10:35 pm
 

Sunday Recap

Arizona 32 Philadelphia 25

My Pick: Arizona 27 Philadelphia 23

Larry Fitzgerald WOW! The Cardinals score early and often as I expected and were able to put the Eagles in a deep enough hole that they couldn't get out. I thought offensive co-ordinator Todd Haley became a little too conservative in the second half but they managed to get the job done. The Arizona defense played fairly well but looked really discouraged and fatigued in the 3rd quarter. On the Eagles side they just couldn't match the intensity of the Cards in the first half which is understandable but their defense which has received much praise for its play lately really couldn't stop the Cards offense. The 1st drive was extremely disappointing as Arizona just passed and ran the ball right down the field. Much of the blame will be put on Mcnabb but he played quite well. The reason the Eagles "O" couldn't be consistent was because of their lack of a running game not McNabb's errant throws which was all that the Fox commentary crew talked about. The latest big argument seems to be whether McNabb n Warner belong in the hall of fame THEY BOTH DO! People will say McNabb hasn't won the big one but you have to be a big game Qb to reach 5 NFC championships its unfortunate the pieces have never come together for him

Pittsburgh 23 Baltimore 14

My Pick: Pittsburgh 30 Baltimore 13

Game pretty much went as I had expected other than I expected Willie Parker to have a bigger game after Chris Johnson's performance last week. Roethlisberger did a great job of buying time and did especially well considering Hines Ward couldn't go. As for Baltimore it was a magical run but Joe Flacco just couldn't do it. Maybe this is the end of this Ravens era led by Lewis and Co... Time for the Flacco era this guy is a special player. Last but not least all the best to McGahee and his family hope hes OK. For everyone who said I was crazy maybe i was but in the end I was only 8 points off (imagine if Ward had played)

Cards vs Steelers looking forward to it!

Posted on: January 18, 2009 3:22 am
 

Be Careful What You Wish For

Many people aspire to play professionally in their sport of choice. The lifestyle of a professional athlete seems very appealing (the glitz, the glamour ,the money). Now professional sports for others of us who are past our athletic primes or who just enjoy watching the real pros do their thing. Are a great joy as they take us away from our hectic and confusing lives for 3 hours on every Sunday. But let's take a look back at what we're supporting or aspiring to be. Here are some things that DISGUST me in professional sports.

1) Injuries

Now injuries are bound to happen when participating in any physical activity. However for us regular folk an injury is allowed to heal fully and we rest before starting up which ever activity again. Professional athletes are EXPECTED to come back from injuries early which is WRONG. Don't buy into what commentators tell you about the great facilities they use and great trainers they have. Sure they're probably better then the physiotherapist's place on your corner but they're not miracle workers. How concussions are approached is especially alarming to me. Here's some evidence at what these great professional sports do "I told him, 'You played God with my health. You knew I shouldn't have been cleared to play,'" Former Pats Linebacker Ted Johnson on Coach Bill Belichick. So while we all jump on Belichick for stealing stupid signals this man's life has been altered for the worse because of his supposedly wonderful pro sports career. Now if you think this is a rare occurrence lets see some other players who's lives will be forever changed from what was supposed to be a dream job (Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Merrill Hoge)etc.. Now I know someone is going to come on here and say the registered medical doctor cleared each and everyone of these men to play and your not a doctor so what would you know. Remember the doctor is PAID by the team and they want the player back as quick as possible. They do what's best for the organization not the individual.

2)Loyalty

Why is it that we expect loyalty out of players? Their organizations see them as commodities which can make money. From an early age (highschool for football) they essentially become a purchase of their team. Their team can revoke their scholarship for pretty much ANY reason, their team can cut them after years of outstanding service. Now its not all bad for the player (a free college education, big money in pros) but they are still an object owned by a vendor. So why when an owner releases a great guy in the community who maybe isn't as great on the field there is NO uproar, yet a player saying he isn't going to play hard for a team or a player demanding a trade is seen as taboo. Anyone remember the Ray Ray McElrathbey story What happened to Ray Ray McElrathbey wasn't a travesty as much as it was reality.

In case the name doesn't sound familiar, McElrathbey is the Clemson running back whose triumphant story struck such a chord he was named an ABC News Person of the Week. Or rather, he was a college football player, until Clemson coach Tommy Bowden recently made the controversial decision not to renew McElrathbey's scholarship (A player who had raised his 11 year old brother while his mother suffered from a cocaine addiction). Not to mention the NFL's pitiful excuses on why disabled players can't get medical insurance.

Now think again about how the big boys with the $ are treated better than the poor pawns. Sports are supposed to represent everything that's RIGHT in society (competition, fair play, acceptance, hard work) however as always in life once money gets involved it represents the exact opposite. Now in defense to the owners and coaches they're running a business and trying to make money but what these men contribute to the ir teams compared to what their teams contribute to them is unbelievable. So next time you hear someone complaining about how much professional athletes make tell them to look in the mirror and see if their job is really that bad. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

Now as a feedback topic I'd like everyone to give their opinions on if college athletes should be paid? (I'll respond with a later blog responding with my answer if you couldn't have already guessed it)

Posted on: January 15, 2009 10:28 pm
 

NFC Championship Pick

Philadelphia @ Arizona

The Eagles have had a remarkable run coming from the 6th seed and getting to the NFC Championship game. Donovan McNabb is playing some of the finest football of his illustrious career. Reaching 5 NFC Championships in 8 years shows how unappreciated this great Eagles QB has been. However the key to the Eagles run has been their defense most notably the defensive line who helped bottle up Adrian Peterson and managed to contain Earth WInd and Fire and stop them on two fourth and short opportunities. Also free agent acquisition Asante Samuel has played extremely well by having two game changing interceptions.

On Offense though they are led by McNabb their offense revolves around RB Brian Westbrook who in my opinion is the best back in the league when healthy. He is a bit banged up and the Cardinals "D" will really be inspired playing in front of their home crowd. Andy Reid has proven to be a little more consistent with the run this year but expect him to get into old habits if the Eagles fall behind early. So expect a lot of the load to be put on McNabb and the passing game. The Eagles unheralded group of receivers have worked very well as a unit and have been consistent in these playoffs. Avant and Curtis have been fairly reliable and Jackson has delivered the big play when needed. The Eagles O-line has protected McNabb well but is still not making enough lanes for Westbrook to run through expect much of the same to happen against the Cardinals. The Eagles defense has been close to perfect these playoffs. The defensive line led by Trent Cole and Brodrick Bunkley have been very effective against the run and that will continue against Arizona. Their underrated linebacking core has stepped up in their last couple games and have good sideline to sideline speed which will be important against Arizona. However in this game the most important part of the defense will be the secondary. The secondary has looked good in these playoffs but haven't played a receiver of Fitzgerald or Boldins pedigree. Samuel will probably be matched up on Fitzgerald but i feel this is a big mismatch I would rather have Sheldon Brown on him for various reasons. The most prevelant one being that Brown is steadier and Samuel lives and dies by the sword by playing for interceptions. Brian Dawkins always gets his due for the job he does but don't sleep on Quentin Mikkell who's had a solid season. Look for Jim Johnson to come with pressure early and often to try and take the crowd out of the game.

The Cardinals improbable run started with a somewhat surprising victory over a Atlanta team with a highly regarded running game which was easily shut down. Then they shocked the world by going into Carolina and beating a team which was considered a Super Bowl favourite. Kurt Warner looks like a guy who knows that this may be his last chance at the big one. For some reason I have a gut feeling that he will end his Hall Of Fame career after this season. Edgerrin James has been resurrected and so has the Cardinals run game which was pitiful in the regular season and Larry Fitzgerald has looked all world these playoffs. However the biggest part of the Cardinals run has been their defense which is suddenly a turnover forcing machine. Karlos Dansby and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie get lots of the credit for the turnaround but don't look past stalwarts Darnell Dockett and Bertrand Berry.

The Cardinals offense has been their strong point all season and will continue to be in this game. Their much maligned offensive line has responded well to criticism and have protected warner fairly well during their playoff run. Expect Boldins return to be a huge boost to the Cards morale but don't be sure how long it will last as I have a feeling he still may be lingered by that hamstring injury. I expect the Cards to get Boldin the ball early and often to test out the hamstring and if its not good to go let him get in as many plays as possible before he has to leave the game. Expect a big game out of Edgerrin James who will be looking to finally play in the big one. I don't expect him to have a big day running the ball but look for him to gain substantial yardage on screens and swing passes used to nullify the effects of Jim Johnson's blitz schemes. Expect Arizona to throw more quick timing passes then usual to offset the effects of Johnson's blitzes too. Look for the Cards O-line to make mistakes early but watch for them to improve as the game goes on. Expect Warner to have a big game in front of the home crowd a veteran like him will not be phased by Jonhson's blitzes the second time around. On defense the Cards need to make the Eagles one dimensional as ealry as possible and force McNabb to beat them through the air. McNabb has thrown some interceptions this year and has been known to get very frustrated when things don't go well. Look for Rodgers-Cromartie to be physical with the small yet speedy DeSean Jackson. Look for the Cards secondary to match up very favorbaly with an Eagles receiving core which lacks a legitimate number 1 receiver and look for the linebacking core to keep a banged up Westbrook in check. With all these good things said I do believe the Cards may have to bring more than their front four to get enough pressure on McNabb.

Both teams have superb kickers (Rackers and Akers). The Eagles have a big threat in the return game with Jackson and the Cardinals kicking teams have not been that great so watch for some fireworks. As far as coaching there isn't much to choose from when it comes to Reid and Whisenhunt who both have big game experience. Though this is Whisenhunt's first championship game when it comes to being a head coach I don't expect his preparation will be much different than it was when he was a co-ordinator. The crowd will be the biggest factor in this game of the intangibles expect the game to get ugly if Arizona gets up front early.

It is hard to see Reid and McNabb choke in another championship game but I feel that the momentum and swagger Arizona is bringing into this game puts them over the top.

Cardinals 27 Eagles 23

Posted on: January 14, 2009 10:53 pm
 

AFC Championship Pick

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

The Ravens seem to be the cat with 9 lives in these playoffs, they didn't convincingly beat the Dolphins although Chad Pennington tried his hardest to give them the game and last week they squeaked out a win against a Tennessee team that was without star RB Chris Johnson and turned the ball over 3 times in the red zone, not to mention the questionable no call with the play clock.

The Baltimore offense is not flashy not speedy and not exciting but it embraces what its role is (win field position and score points off turnovers). Led by rookie sensation Joe Flacco who has remained his calm cool and collected self during the playoffs. The main target in the passing game is WR Derrick Mason who is playing remarkable football in these playoffs, look for the veteran with surprising speed to have an impact in this game. The Ravens will need TE Todd Heap to step up and make an impact in the passing game to have any chance at winning. Heap has been almost invisible other than the big catch against the Titans. Expect O-Coordinator Cam Cameron to open up the playbook more in this game as they will need to score more points then they have been putting up in prior playoff games. RB/FB hybrid Leron McClain will get the bulk of the carries but expect Willis McGaheee and Ray Rice to get considerable time because of the difficulty teams have when running at the interior of the Pittsburgh defense. The O-Lines protection of Flacco will be vital because he does not respond that well to blitzes (Mia game) and a bad start on the road could prove fatal to their chance at the Lombardi trophy. On the defensive side of the ball though Ed Reed is their best player and Ray Lewis is their leader much of the Ravens hopes lie on the shoulders of DT Haloti Ngata. I'm not a big fan of Pete Prisco and sometimes find his columns downright stupid but this was one of his finer written pieces and he will be key in stopping a healthy "Fast" Willie Parker and the Pittsburgh running game. For the Ravens to have a chance they must bring the blitz and try to rattle Roethlisberger he holds on to the ball too long and Rex Ryan must try to exploit this. I expect Ryan to move his DBs up on the line of scrimmage and play a lot of press coverage as well. The Baltimore 'D" will need to create turnovers for their team to have a chance in this game. owever with all that's been said the 2 most important things that the Baltimore Defense has to worry bout ITS health and its stamina. Playing 2 playoff games on the road and especially a physically brutal one against the Titans they must be banged up. It will be interesting to see how Terrell Suggs plays coming off his shoulder injury. The Baltimore "D" will need their offense to give them some help by possessing the ball a bit. Expect a big game from Ray Lewis one of the best in the business who will be extra motivated to play his longtime rivals.

The Steelers looked sharp, decisive and in cruise control after a bit of a shaky start to their opening playoff game against San Diego. QB Ben Roethlisberger looked fully recovered from his concussion and Willie Parker had his trademark burst back.

Pittsburgh will try to establish the run early on but if stopped I don't see them having any problem putting the ball in the hands of Big Ben. The Steelers will need a big game from Hines Ward who is excellent at finding seems in the defense also Santonio Holmes will need to have 1 or 2 big plays as he did vs San Diego. When in the red zone look fro big TE Heath Miller who looked good in his comeback last week. The Steelers O-Line will have their hands full with Baltimore D-Line but expect them to hold their own. The Steelers defense which should be healthy and fresh was very impressive vs San Diego other than the first drive of the game they kept the San Diego offense in check. Their containment of Sproles was superb with his biggest play coming on a KR. Look for the James Harrison led defense to come out and shut down the Baltimore run game early and force Baltimore into 3rd and long situations. Also look for the Steelers to put S Troy Polamalu in the box and dare Flacco to beat them through the air. If this outstanding defense has any weakness it would be their secondary but they match up well against the Ravens receivers. Expect a big game from James Harrison in the middle who I expect to make a lot of tackles.

Neither teams have great special teams units, the worse situation being Mitch Bergers return to punting in Pittsburgh. Don't expect any special teams fireworks out of 2 well coached teams. As far as coaches go Mike Tomlin is one of the best in the business and was a GREAT hire from Minnesota his players always played hard for him and he made Minnessota famous for their suffocating run defense. John Harbaugh has done a great job as a rookie coach but I think the Steelers have the advantage. The Last intangible weather, the grubbier the game is the better for the Ravens they are the slower team and the team with less of a passing game, however Heinz field looked great last week and I don't expect it to deteriorate that much over 7 days.

I think all the lives run out on Sunday for the Ravens, Flacco finally implodes and the "D" finally wears down and lets Pittsburgh score TDs in the red zone.

Pittsburgh 30 Baltimore 13

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com