Cardinals Destined to be NFL

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    However, the Batman analogy does not really hold up when it comes to Warner’s success story; whereas the quarterback went from supermarket bag boy to two-time League MVP, Bruce Wayne was already a rich mofo before he went off to get some training, and came back to clean up the streets better than McNulty on ‘The Wire.’

    The Fitzgerald/Boldin duo might serve as a better superhero tandem. Fitzgerald has quietly evolved into the best receiver in the game. Like Marvin Harrison in his prime, other receivers get more talk time and hype, but it’s Fitzgerald who constantly comes through. Boldin is an equally impressive player, perhaps more so, considering that he was a second-round pick with one of the greatest rookie seasons ever by a receiver, and continued to excell even when All-World talent Fitzgerald joined the team. Furthermore, Boldin was able to make the Pro Bowl even after having a plate inserted into his face.

    Boldin has suffered some criticism lately for seemingly walking out on the NFC Championship celebration because he was angry about his lack of inclusion. This role of misunderstood superstar only furthers the comparison to Batman, another hero without the credit he deserves. The problem with a receiver is that someone else has to deliver him the ball. Batman went to Hong Kong and brought back Lau all on his own, because unlike Keyshawn Johnson, Batman doesn’t need anyone to get him the damn ball ‘mdash; he just takes it.

    Looking at the Steelers, the quarterback is once again the most obvious target for comparison. After all, Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger and Batman both love riding motorcycles, though Batman is at least smart enough to wear a helmet not to mention a bulletproof suit. Roethlisberger is a good, young quarterback, and undoubtedly can set himself ahead of Rivers and Manning as the best of the 2004 QB class with a second Super Bowl win. However, Hines Ward was the MVP of the first Super Bowl, and even if Big Ben is named MVP after this game, few would argue that he’s been the most valuable player on his team.

    What the Steelers deem most valuable is instead their defense. Yes, Troy Polamulu’s hair more closely resembles the Joker than anything, but this is a strong, disciplined unit, whereas there probably will never be another person, performance, or acid trip comparable to the craziness of Heath Ledger as the Joker. While the Steelers’ defense does not conjure up that same status as an all-time great unit, with Polamulu and linebacker James Harrison leading the way, this defense can still be scary good.

    The old adage is that defense wins championships, and the last time that a great offensive and great defensive team met, another veteran QB Rich Gannon was intercepted into oblivion. The Cardinals’ defense has played remarkably well throughout the postseason, including a humiliation of Panther Jake Delhomme and a first-half beatdown of Eagles’ Donovan McNabb. The Steelers’ defense, while holding up in wins over San Diego and Baltimore, has yet to pull off the same kind of spectacle. However, maybe the most important comparison is not between a team or its players as Batman, but between the Cardinals’ defense and Two-Face. While putting the pressure on Delhomme, McNabb and Matt Ryan in the playoffs, Arizona also allowed over 30 points to be scored five times during the season, including 56 to the Jets, 48 to the Eagles and 47 to the Patriots. The Arizona defense offers a scary side to the Cardinals’ feel-good coin.

    No doubt an Arizona win would continue the tradition the Giants started last year of exhilarating upsets, and meanwhile provide a perfect end to the season for a surprising, exciting team and a likable quarterback. Unfortunately, that quarterback is a fumble-prone target for the Steelers, who may not be flashy but know how to win.

    The Cardinals might be the champion the Super Bowl deserves, but not the ones it needs right now.

    Joe goes with: Steelers 34, Cardinals 30.

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    When the Academy Award nominations were announced, I was left a little saddened not because I’m judging the films that were nominated for Best Picture; rather, I feel remorse for a film that wasn’t nominated and should have been.

    There was only one movie that left me with the notion of what an award-winning movie should be. (Actually, there were two, but I think my enjoyment of ‘Pineapple Express’ might have been due to other factors.)

    The film I’m speaking of is ‘The Dark Knight,’ the new Batman movie ‘mdash; no, not the one with Martin Lawrence as a medieval knight. Now, since this is technically a sports column, I won’t go on a long rant about why ‘The Dark Knight’ deserved to be nominated; instead, it seems only fitting to compare the two Super Bowl teams ‘mdash; the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers ‘mdash; to the film, perhaps helping me to make a Super Bowl XLIII prediction.

    The first and most obvious similarity between a Super Bowl player and a superhero can be found in Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. Since taking over from Matt Leinart in the preseason, Warner has put together a remarkable year. With wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and the emergence of Steve Breaston ‘mdash; along with a strong running game led by young running backs Tim Hightower and J.J. Arrington and the experienced Edgerrin James ‘mdash; the Cardinals had all the elements needed to be an offensive powerhouse. However, it was Warner who pulled everything together, solidifying a spot in the Hall of Fame with one more great season, even though his enshrinement was previously far from a hot topic.

    However, the Batman analogy does not really hold up when it comes to Warner’s success story; whereas the quarterback went from supermarket bag boy to two-time League MVP, Bruce Wayne was already a rich mofo before he went off to get some training, and came back to clean up the streets better than McNulty on ‘The Wire.’

    The Fitzgerald/Boldin duo might serve as a better superhero tandem. Fitzgerald has quietly evolved into the best receiver in the game. Like Marvin Harrison in his prime, other receivers get more talk time and hype, but it’s Fitzgerald who constantly comes through. Boldin is an equally impressive player, p
    erhaps more so, considering that he was a second-round pick with one of the greatest rookie seasons ever by a receiver, and continued to excell even when All-World talent Fitzgerald joined the team. Furthermore, Boldin was able to make the Pro Bowl even after having a plate inserted into his face.

    Boldin has suffered some criticism lately for seemingly walking out on the NFC Championship celebration because he was angry about his lack of inclusion. This role of misunderstood superstar only furthers the comparison to Batman, another hero without the credit he deserves. The problem with a receiver is that someone else has to deliver him the ball. Batman went to Hong Kong and brought back Lau all on his own, because unlike Keyshawn Johnson, Batman doesn’t need anyone to get him the damn ball ‘mdash; he just takes it.

    Looking at the Steelers, the quarterback is once again the most obvious target for comparison. After all, Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger and Batman both love riding motorcycles, though Batman is at least smart enough to wear a helmet not to mention a bulletproof suit. Roethlisberger is a good, young quarterback, and undoubtedly can set himself ahead of Rivers and Manning as the best of the 2004 QB class with a second Super Bowl win. However, Hines Ward was the MVP of the first Super Bowl, and even if Big Ben is named MVP after this game, few would argue that he’s been the most valuable player on his team.

    What the Steelers deem most valuable is instead their defense. Yes, Troy Polamulu’s hair more closely resembles the Joker than anything, but this is a strong, disciplined unit, whereas there probably will never be another person, performance, or acid trip comparable to the craziness of Heath Ledger as the Joker. While the Steelers’ defense does not conjure up that same status as an all-time great unit, with Polamulu and linebacker James Harrison leading the way, this defense can still be scary good.

    The old adage is that defense wins championships, and the last time that a great offensive and great defensive team met, another veteran QB Rich Gannon was intercepted into oblivion. The Cardinals’ defense has played remarkably well throughout the postseason, including a humiliation of Panther Jake Delhomme and a first-half beatdown of Eagles’ Donovan McNabb. The Steelers’ defense, while holding up in wins over San Diego and Baltimore, has yet to pull off the same kind of spectacle. However, maybe the most important comparison is not between a team or its players as Batman, but between the Cardinals’ defense and Two-Face. While putting the pressure on Delhomme, McNabb and Matt Ryan in the playoffs, Arizona also allowed over 30 points to be scored five times during the season, including 56 to the Jets, 48 to the Eagles and 47 to the Patriots. The Arizona defense offers a scary side to the Cardinals’ feel-good coin.

    No doubt an Arizona win would continue the tradition the Giants started last year of exhilarating upsets, and meanwhile provide a perfect end to the season for a surprising, exciting team and a likable quarterback. Unfortunately, that quarterback is a fumble-prone target for the Steelers, who may not be flashy but know how to win.

    The Cardinals might be the champion the Super Bowl deserves, but not the ones it needs right now.

    Joe goes with: Steelers 34, Cardinals 30.

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