I wrote this on the day of the Super Bowl, but never posted it on TSTOS. . . until now.

The football season officially culminates this evening, with Super Bowl XLIII wrapping up a year full of bullshit (or, uh, excitement). And after next weekend’s Pro Bowl, there’s the scouting combine to look forward to as fresh out of college prospects have their attributes tested and observed by NFL scouts. I’m not reading much into it — I know the Rams are going to pick up either Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe, or Michael Oher.

On Friday morning, I got rid of my beard by trimming my facial hair merely down to a little bit of stubble. Why is this? As a homage to my all-time favorite quarterback, Kurt Warner. Hopefully Warner and the Arizona Cardinals will present a litany of aerial liabilities for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense, by spreading the field and allowing Warner to sit in the pocket and throw strikes to Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. If the running game of the Cardinals is able to at least pick up four yards per carry, the Cards have a realistic shot.

As NFL Network analyst Terrell Davis put it: the Cardinals apparently played two pre-seasons — the actual pre-season itself and the regular season. After playing atrociously on defense during the regular season, they beat up on the Atlanta Falcons’ young offense in the wildcard round, stifled the Carolina Panthers in the hostile Bank of America stadium in the divisional round, and out-passed and out-thought the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game. And that’s why the Cards are in the Super Bowl.

You know the story of the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Ben Roethlisberger’s stats are nothing to fawn over, his want to win is unquestionable. As a poor pocket quarterback, he likes to scramble outside of the pocket and find a scampering Hines Ward, a Santonio Holmes who’s often presenting a deep threat, or a gritty ‘receiver’ in (also a Southwest Virginia ‘homie’, Honaker High School graduate) tight end Heath Miller.

It’s not going to come down to the play of the quarterbacks or the play of either defense. If it were between the play of the defenses, Pittsburgh would probably get the nod and we’d be giving them an automatic Super Bowl victory anointment, right? The game will end up in the hands of which team presents the better offensive line play. Obviously Pittsburgh has confused their opponents this season with their ostentatious blitz packages, but what about Arizona over the past three games? With their hot streak riding on a power line, they can blitz with the best of them. If Arizona can force Roethlisberger to stay in the pocket, the Steelers will be in trouble. But first, they will have to obstruct running back Willie Parker.

Prediction:

My mind says the Pittsburgh Steelers, but my heart leans toward the Arizona Cardinals. Due to my understandable hate for the Steelers, I’m going to listen to my heart on this one. I’m going with a 24-17 Cardinals victory. I see their offensive line doing its job and Kurt Warner not letting his third Super Bowl appearance be a lost cause.

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