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Post Game Superbowl Rant

Super Bowl XLIII – How the Cardinals Gave it Away

The Furious Rant – The NFC West Gift Wraps Another Superbowl For Pittsburgh Steelers

I’m still trying to do two things – shake off a Superbowl hangover, and determine exactly how the Arizona Cardinals lost this game. If there was a prop bet on “how many times they’ll show a sullen Larry Fitzgerald Sr. in the press box” over “how many penalties there will be in the Superbowl”, you would’ve cashed in huge if you had bet the latter.Turns out, that the public got murdered by the books across the board. Truth is – the fans got murdered in this game too.

Superbowl XLIII was littered with fist-pumpers. The 64-yard barn burner by Fitzgerald, the100 yard TAINT by Harrison, Santonio’s brilliant catch to clinch the game, Roethlisberger scrambling like he was making eggs, Kurt Warner marching the Cards down the field for two scores on an 87-yard drive and an 83-yard drive, and Kurt Warner scoring with a tight-end that nobody’s ever heard of; all these plays made you jump off the couch, spill beer on your girlfriend and blurt out obscenities with a mouth full of Tostistos.

But this game will be marred by the penalties that killed it, the botched call at the end of the game and Pittsburgh’s inability to close the deal countless times.

Let’s start with the freaking holding penalties. It wasn’t just one penalty that killed the game. It was a truck load. An ass load even. The Cardinals cost themselves 106 yards on 11 penalties. Translation? The Steelers didn’t even have to snap the ball to march the entire length of the field. Rookie corner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, was called a facemask, Dansby had a penalty on a hit against Ben Roethlisberger and Adrian Wilson ran through a defenseless place-kick-holder to add on to the absurd number of penalties.

And don’t even get me started on the Steelers, who shoved as many horseshoes up their rear ends to win this game. A safety on a holding call in the endzone blew the OVER, while the betting public crammed on the UNDER, which seemed absurdly high at 46.5.

While the Steelers didn’t exactly botch the game on the penalty side, they certainly can’t escape the thought that, “Wow…we won that game?!” First of all of all, that Willie Parker earned 53 yards on 19 carries. This, from a team that has boasted one of the most feared rushing attacks since its inception. On top of that, they ere inside the 10-yard line a zillion times and only punched it in once. And guess who did it? Yep – Gary F’n Russell. Everyone lumped in a prop bet that the unknown Russell wouldn’t score a touchdown at 65-1 odds, and there he was bursting in to the endzone for a score and destroying a seemingly perfect prop bet. He finished the day with minus-3 yards.

And while Santonio Holmes’ 9 catches for 131 yards and the game-winner are huge numbers, let’s not forget the fact that he let the previous pass slip right through his black and gold fingers! Right through his God damn hands! Somehow, Tomlin believed he didn’t have a single other option so he threw it to him again and Holmes, essentially, made a perfect catch.

Holmes eventually took home the MVP for his contributions to the final drive, which clinched the victory for the Steelers. But it robbed my man James Harrison of his rightful title. Harrison set the record with a 100-yard return to the heezy which nearly gave him a heart attack. It certainly gave one to everyone who took Arizona +130 on the moneyline. 

Harrison finished the day with four tackled, three solos, and the play of the Superbowl. And his accosting of a Cardinal on the ground during a punt was absolutely hilarious, if and only if because it set the tone for the Steelers defense. Harrison sent a simple message, “I’m going to beat you guys senseless.”

As for the feared Steelers’ secondary, they’re lucky that the Cardinals let them off the hook. The corners were burned for 377 passing yards, 127 of which went to the electric Fitzgerald. No offence, Dick LeBeau, but you should’ve seen the fade coming in the fourth quarter. How could you not? Everyone knew they were running that play! Gah!

Finally, the blatant clipping during Harrison’s return wasn’t called which his absurd considering how many penalties they actually called. And on top of that, how did the refs blow the last play of the game? Warner’s arm is moving forward, the ball comes out forward and the booth doesn’t review it? How does this happen?! At least set it up for one final hail mary attempt to the “most exciting game ever” (those quotation marks insinuate sarcasm, in case you were wondering)!

That’s the main problem with Superbowl XLIII for me. Of all the calls the refs screwed up, two of them essentially cost the Cardinals a legitimate shot at the game. The no-call on the clip by LaMarr Woodley, and the “fumble” at the end of the game really piss me off. If you’re going to make that many calls in a Superbowl, for whatever reason, why don’t you make the two calls that were the most important?

At the end of the day, these calls not only killed the Cardinals, they decimated the public. The heavy money was on Steelers to cover 6.5, Arizona to win straight up, and the UNDER on 46.5. Call the clip against Woodley and Harrison’s TD comes back, who knows how the game unfolds. Let Warner bomb one more pass to a beastly Fitzgerald who could’ve tipped it to an angrified (it’s a word! ) Boldin and you’ve got a thrilling ending to a Superbowl. “Call stands, Steelers win!” is a bigger let down than Peyton Manning winning the MVP this year.

Maybe we should’ve seen it coming when Ed Hockuley screwed up the Chargers/Broncos tilt earlier this season. For once it wasn’t the oddsmakers catching you in a trap, or a player screwing things royally. It was the guys in the black and white pin stripes that screwed over the degenerates. Considering how unbelievably unpredictable this NFL betting season has gone, we all should’ve seen this coming.

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