SI.com and FanNation present 20 of the most memorable commercials from Super Bowl XLIII. Which one's your favorite? Have we omitted one of the top challengers? Let us know.
1. SoBe in 3D
2. Pepsi Max - "I'm Good"
G Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
TAMPA, Fla. -- Every elevator you get on, every line you wait in, any time you're around anyone with an NFL connection, you're hearing one of two conversations: "I think the Cardinals can win," or "I like the Steelers, but you never know. Just look at the Giants last year."
On paper, the Steelers are the clear favorites, but a lot of writers and players I chatted with are gun-shy about the favorites. More than 75 percent of them think the Steelers will win, but they're very careful to qualify their pick. And very few people are talking about a Steelers blowout.
I don't think all the Steelers-related caution has much to do with the actual matchup. Nothing has changed on paper. Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger are both healthy and ready to go and Pittsburgh appears to be as focused as ever.
With two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, sportswriters have had a lot of time to talk themselves into a new story. A lot of them have been burned by the Giants last year and the Cardinals in the postseason. Those bad predictions are probably more influential on game picks than any kind of X's and O's analysis.
Obviously, Cardinals fever isn't just hitting Tampa. The point spread moved from 7 to 6 ½ and people who bet money line -- which is based on odds, not a point spread -- are reportedly much heavier on Arizona.
If the Cardinals do win, there will be a lot of people who say "I told you so." Even the ones who officially chose the Steelers.
By Don Banks, SI.com
TAMPA -- I know three words guaranteed to make you stop reading this blog, and they would be: collective bargaining agreement. See. Told you. (Hey, where'd you go?)
At his annual state of the league news conference on Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was peppered with no fewer than 10 questions centering on the upcoming labor showdown with the league's players union. The current CBA expires in 2011, and if no new agreement is in place by March of 2010, that season would be played without a salary cap.
But here's the only thing that matters about all that: All that stuff would happen in either 2010 or 2011, and we're still early in 2009. In other words, it's all a bunch of blah, blah, blah until a legitimate deadline looms, so feel free to ignore everything about the NFL's labor situation until then. And I can't stress that enough.
Absolutely nothing happens in the NFL in terms of negotiations until it absolutely has to. So all the time and energy that was spent this week discussing the players union-commissioned study regarding the average team's profits and the NFL's refuting of those figures was just wasted effort.
TAMPA -- The Super Bowl has often been called a career-defining game. A night when legacies are built or tarnished. A moment where you can forever be known as a hero or a goat.
While I agree that winning the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of any NFL player's career, I've always felt it was overrated in terms of defining someone's career.
Think about it. How do you remember Washington Redskins running back Timmy Smith, who had the greatest single rushing game in Super Bowl history with 204 yards on 22 carries in Super Bowl XXII? Where does Barry Switzer, who won Super Bowl XXX, and became only the second coach to win both a Super Bowl and national championship rank on your list of the greatest NFL coaches? Does anybody remember that cornerback Larry Brown, who teammates joked couldn't catch a cold, was a Super Bowl MVP?
Now I'm not saying that winning a Super Bowl can't put the exclamation point on a great career like John Elway's, but it certainly won't make me look at Trent Dilfer any different.
I've just finished my three-day stint as the Pittsburgh Steelers pool reporter for the Pro Football Writers' of America and my overwhelming observation after watching them practice for over six hours this week is that they're a loose and football-loving team.
They really have a lot of fun at practice. There's an adage that some old coach once told his team. "Have fun out there." That's the school of coaching Mike Tomlin went to. He has no problem jawing and laughing with players before and after plays during practice. He must make some form of contact with at least three quarters of his roster in some way -- either with a barb or an arm around the shoulder and a piece of advice, or a pointed coaching principle.
I've seen Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy up close and personal as a pool reporter over the last few years, and their teams absolutely got all their work done. But I can tell you this: they didn't laugh as much as the '09 Steelers.
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