Saturday, January 31, 2009
I grew up following the NFL during the era of Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, and Lynn Swann. The Steelers of the late 70's, early 80's, were big, bad, mean, uncompromising...and while I was keenly aware of the spell that they cast on so many people around the country, I never fell victim to it for some reason. Maybe it was because I was way out west, in Washington state, excited by the upstart Seahawks - Pittsburgh seemed like a long ways away. I was more into Jim Zorn, Steve Largent, and Steve Raible.
Even so, I was never really blown away by anyone I saw, until many years later when Kurt Warner - fresh from his job bagging groceries - exploded on to the scene as the Rams's starting QB. I'd watched Staubach, Bradshaw, Plunkett, Montana, Young...but I'd never seen any quarterback with as much total composure, as much peaceful intensity, as Warner. That was inspiring. I'd gotten married very young, and with small children and a young immigrant wife, I often felt a lot of pressure - felt often that there were a lot of problems and crises I had to solve or everything would fall apart - and I suppose that a part of me liked to imagine that I had a fraction of the same composure and wherewithal that I saw in Warner. And, I aimed to get more of it.
Now here we are, in 2009, years after we all thought we'd seen the last of Warner, on the eve of his third Super Bowl, and yeah, I am totally rooting for the Cardinals. It's not just my admiration of Warner's unique poise; Cardinals's coach Ken Whisenhunt, in my view, got the shaft being passed over by the Steeler's organization (no disrespect to Steeler's coach Mike Tomlin), and it would be nice to see him get some revenge. But maybe more is that people have dissed the Cardinals's for so long...and the media love affair with the Steelers is so intense...and the Cardinals are out here, out west...and that Warner and I are close in age...it'd be really cool to see the underdogs bring their A game and win.
My guess is that we will see the Cardinals pretty much go with what got them where they are: a lot of passing. I also think they'll use Fitzgerald as a decoy to get a lot of shorter passing options. I expect the Steelers to come out very aggressively offensively, but I also expect the Cardinal defence to be prepared for that.
Prediction: 38-27 Cardinals.