Sunday, February 7

Super Bowl Countdown #4: Super Bowl XLIII

During the two weeks preceding the Super Bowl, I will be counting down the best Super Bowls I have witnessed in my lifetime, starting in 1988. I created a ranking system and will go game by game reliving each edition until the top Super Bowl is listed.

Seems like only last Super Bowl this great game took place. Wait, what? This could easily be number 1 on a Super Bowl list and probably will be on some peoples. The game had its fair share of memorable plays, came down to one last drive and a catch for the ages. A Tantalizing Tampa Treat helps us wind down our countdown.

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

Semi-Lame Nickname: "The Recession Bowl"

Historical Significance- 5: The Cardinals were the latest and perhaps greatest example of teams with a horrid stretch in the NFL making a monumental turnaround. The Steelers secured their 6th Super Bowl title put them alone at the top of the list and made them...I refuse to use the phrase so I will say it made them a Burgh with 6 rings.

Game Enjoyment By the Fans- 5: There was a feeling that the Cardinals had little chance against the Steelers. They had been a 9-7 team during the regular season and their run was impressive, but seen as a fluke that would end when the Steelers exerted their will. Most of the people watching the game were pleasantly surprised.

High Profile Element-5: The Steelers had been taken over by Mike Tomlin and the team was still a powerful defensive force. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau had the defense leading the league in points and yards. Defensive player of the year James Harrison had 16 sacks and safety Troy Polamalu had 7 interceptions. Big Ben had grown from shaky passer in 2005 when they last won the Super Bowl to a prolific passer that could elude rushers and create plays.

Ken Whisenhunt had been the offensive coordinator of the Steeler when they won their last Super Bowl. He was passed over for the Steeler job and took over a franchise that had not had a championship since the Truman administration. Kurt Warner had once again rose from the ashes to lead the passing game. Larry Fitzgerald had a superhuman playoff run that bested Jerry Rice. The Cardinals defense had taken a lot of flack but in the playoffs but pass rusher Darnell Dockett and defensive backs Adrian Wilson , Donminiuque Rodgers-Cromartie(all 3 of him) and Antrel Rolle sparked them to wins against Atlanta, at Carolina and held on against the Eagles.

Venue/Atmosphere- 4: A lot of elements to the game was toned down because of the economy going into the crapper last year. Sometimes though, less is more. Jennifer Hudson sang the national anthem. Bruce Springsteen and the E street band did the halftime show where Bruce thought it necessary to tea bag America.

Personal Enjoyment- 4.5: The game was the highest rated Super Bowl in terms of viewership to date. The game provided a chance for the Cardinals to pull off the biggest come from behind victory in Super Bowl hisotry(13 points). A great game that came up just short on the Cardinals end thanks to the feet of Santonio Holmes.

Cleet's Rating Index: 23.5

Where I Was: I was over at our friend XM's house to watch the game. We were all going against the Steelers. When Fitzgerald took the catch and ran 64 yards for the TD to give the Cardinals a 23-20 lead with 2:37 left, XM and Catfish were going crazy. However, I reminded them that there was a lot of time left that was met with a prompt STFU. Unfortunately it turned out to be true.

What Happened in the World:
On January 15th US Air Flight 1549 had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson. Before the game Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his crew were honored on the field. I dare you to watch Sully receiving thanks from family members of those that were on that flight and not get misty eyed.

Record of Note: The teams combined for the lowest rush attempts and yards (38 and 91) in Super Bowl history, the game hath changed.

Game MVP: Holmes had 9 catches for 131 yards, including 71 on the final drive.

LVP: All the bankers, investors and CEOs that got us into this economic mess, seriously screw you guys.

Most Memorable Play: Right before the half, James Harrison rumbled 100 yards for a TD after he intercepted Warner. Until someone eclipses this, it will be known as the greatest defensive play in Super Bowl history.

NFL Fallout: Kurt Warner came back this year and got the Cardinals to the playoffs but they fell short. He has since retired and so begins the Matt Leinart era in Arizona. The Steelers came back strong in the first week, but after Polamalu went down with a knee injury, the defense lost a lot of edge and the team was unable to make the playoffs. Pittsburgh still has a lot of their pieces in place to make another run next year.

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