A weekly NFL breakdown that heads in the opposite direction of your average pro football analysis.
1. The press box at Sunday's Super Bowl was full of chatter about "best Super Bowl ever." C'mon, are you serious? Here are five reasons Super Bowl XLIII can't seriously be considered one of the top two or three best of all time:
a. The quality of the teams: This was the 2008 Steelers and the Cardinals. Not the Cowboys and the Steelers in the 1970s. As great as the game was, there's just not as much gravity with two teams that barely caught the nation's attention in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. The Steelers are a great team but hardly one for the ages. They're a team with a superior defense and a playmaking QB who caught a huge break when Tom Brady went down in Week 1. And the Cardinals were 9-7 and won the pathetic NFC West. They had a great postseason run but didn't exactly beat three powerhouses en route to the Super Bowl. Their wins were over a Falcons team with a rookie quarterback, a Panthers team that couldn't have topped a good high school team the way Jake Delhomme played, and an Eagles team that was only 9-6-1.
b. Penalties: How could the greatest game ever played have a safety that was caused by a holding call? Doesn't compute. And the roughing-the-holder was just embarrassing. More importantly, holding calls made a huge impact.
c. No true bombs: The Cardinals got all West Coast and stopped throwing it up downfield. Big Ben really aired it out only once, when he under threw a wide-open Nate Washington in the first quarter. There was a lot of after-the-catch yards from both teams, but nothing like Bradshaw-to-Swann.
2. The Steelers should have won by two touchdowns. They definitely took their foot off the gas and it almost cost them the game. The Cardinals weren't able to stop Pittsburgh's offense for most of the game, until the Steelers had an emotional lull in the third quarter when they probably thought they had the win wrapped up. Santonio Holmes said the Steelers knew they were going to score on the last drive because the Cardinals "hadn't been stopping us all game." That's probably true, but makes you wonder why they didn't score more points.
3. The Cardinals should have tried more long jump balls to Larry Fitzgerald. With all the hype before the game, maybe they were afraid the Steelers' defense had adjusted to that kind of play. Fitzgerald was down field in decent position, but Kurt Warner didn't take the shots. Fitzgerald had to be frustrated with the play-calling early. I'm surprised he didn't go Anquan Boldin on offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
4. Bottom line for Super Bowl quarterback is winning. I don't care how many yards Warner threw for. He will go down in history as having prolific Super Bowl stats, but the key one will be losing two out of three.
5. Bruce Springsteen's halftime show was was lame, and anyone who disagrees with that probably isn't a real fan. His lineup of Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, Born To Run, Working on a Dream and Glory Days was all wrong. And changing the Glory Days lyric from "baseball" to "football" felt like something a band would do at a Bar Mitzvah. Here is the roster I would have had Bruce perform:
1. The Rising
3. Born To Run
4. No Surrender