January 22, 2009
As The Ball Bounces: Conference Championships
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
The Steelers have been in five Super Bowls prior to this one, and Roy Gerela kicked in the first three, all winners. After Super Bowl XIII, the Steelers decided to go younger and drafted Matt Bahr in the sixth round out of Penn State. The brother of former Nittany Lion kicker Chris Bahr, Matt fit right in and rode the final season of the Steel Curtain to a victory over the Rams (the other 9-7 Super Bowl team) in Super Bowl XIV, 31-19. Bahr would wind up in Cleveland for several seasons, then he went to the New York Giants and got another ring in Super Bowl XXV. Bill Parcells remembered this, because he brought Bahr to Foxborough to finish his 17-year career as a Patriot. He played his final two seasons here, and got into the playoffs in 1994 against the Browns, one of his old teams. He blasts one out of the end zone for a touchback.
The Cardinals won their first NFC title one year too late.
One of the most interesting facts about the Super Bowl is that in its entire 43-year history, the team of the host city has never been one of the combatants.
But if Arizona had won the NFC last year, they would have been the first.
Them being in the Super Bowl at all is more than some people can stand. But had that been the case? Yeow.
Deep down inside, did you think Tampa Bay did right in firing Jon Gruden?
They say he lost his players. So what? He delivered the only Super Bowl title in that region's history, and that region's history ain't too much different than the Cardinals, longevity notwithstanding.
Gruden coached Oakland in the Snow Bowl, defected to Tampa, then wound up beating the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Just like what Bum Phillips once said about Don Shula: "He can take his'n and beat your'n, then take your'n and beat his'n!"
Geek of the week: What is this with Anquan Boldin chewing out his offensive coordinator with his team on the cusp of going to the Super Bowl?
Unfortunately for Cardinal Nation, this is what it is: Mr. Free Agent Boldin will play his final game as a Cardinal a week from Sunday in Tampa. He's just making it easier for everyone to say bye-bye to him.
While we're on that subject, does Edgerrin James still want to leave Arizona?
Speaking of leaving, some people think both Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb are goners in Eagle Land.
They won't be singing "Fly Eagles Fly" as often if those two are booted out of town. Sooner or later those guys will deliver.
World Series MVP Cole Hamels just avoided arbitration. Eagle Nation will get over this quick.
Tight end Brent Celek and wide receiver Kevin Curtis should have been enough to get the Eagles to Tampa. Those two guys had themselves quite a postseason.
Sorry, Asante Samuel, but Kurt Warner never threw you a bone like the other guys did.
To see David Akers have the kind of game he had against the Cardinals was stupefying.
Stop calling the Cardinals "frauds". They won when they had to. Throw out all those blowout losses in November and December. These guys are going to the show. ‘Nuf ced!
Back to school: You know things are good at USC when Mark Sanchez declares for the NFL Draft and Trojan Land simply shrugs their shoulders and tries to figure out which Heisman hopeful backup quarterback Pete Carroll will replace him with.
Bob Sanders, you're no Troy Polamalu.
Mike Tomlin will have really done something if he can win the Super Bowl without any assist from bad calls by the officials, unlike other former Steeler head coaches not named Chuck.
When Hines Ward leaves the game hurting, then you know it darned well hurts awful bad.
Speaking of hurting awful bad, you hated Willis McGahee when he was a Buffalo Bill and shooting his mouth off for no reason, but you had to be scared to death to see him lying on the field after that horrid collision with Ryan Clark.
So, Joe Flacco finally met his match. That's 0 for 3 against Pittsburgh in his rookie campaign.
Truth be told, the Baltimore defense should have held Pittsburgh to single digits. That touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes was a lucky fluke play with some lousy tackle angles worked in. And by the time Polamalu returned that pick for a score, Flacco had to be throwing.
Ward had better be ready for the big game. He'd love another game MVP award, aside from all other reasons.
Remember them: What do Lenny Dawson and Johnny Unitas have in common? They were both drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unitas was taken in 1955 but never played for them, winding up in Baltimore a season later. Dawson was drafted in 1957 and played his first three seasons as a pro with them before moving on to the AFL. If you wonder why it took so long for the Steelers to win anything, things like this are sometimes overlooked. They drafted Terry Bradshaw in 1970, and finally had the smarts to hold on to him. And a few other guys, too.
Both Ken Whisenhunt and Tomlin are going to their first Super Bowls as head coaches. Get them both a logistics manager.
My wife and our families need game tickets. I hear the Tampa nightlife is cool. I'm gonna pick off Big Ben three times and I can't wait to tell a reporter. Me and some guys want to do a video. Where's the parade gonna be when we win?
You hear all the time about veteran coaches "setting the rules" on Super Bowl week. Good luck, Mike. Good luck, Ken.
You both need a good game plan, and not just the one which involves X's and O'x.
Ten days and counting. The ten longest days of your lives.
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