You’ll have to excuse my writing this week – if I happen to ramble (more than usual that is) please give me the benefit of the doubt. If by chance I have random, unrelated topics running together, I’m relying on you, my faithful reader, to give me a free pass. You see, much like Shaun Alexander and Nick Goings in this year’s NFL playoffs, my skull is a little rattled.
How did I allow the most vital organ in my body to become a case study in high-speed impacts? I’ll just say that a basketball, cream pie, and one surprisingly sturdy hardwood floor were prominently involved. As a result, approximately two hours of my life were lost into the abyss that is a concussion. I seem to be free of any residual effects, except for my newly formed musical talent. The faint sound of maracas can be heard as I stroll through campus (no, not on my iPod). Coincidentally enough, the sound also resembles that of a blown out light bulb being shaken.
I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusion as to my condition. In the meantime, I present to you the first ever Sport’s Balk breakdown of (what else?) the Super Bowl. Here’s a look at the categories that will really decide who wins on Sunday:
Bill Cowher has been head coach of the Steelers for 14 straight years, been to six AFC title games, and is now in his second Super Bowl. This is impressive, but when you realize he is 2-4 all time in conference title games and lost his only other Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys in 1995, it’s a little disconcerting.
Mike Holmgren has been to the Super Bowl before ” he won it in 1996 with Brett Favre and the Packers. Add to that the fact that Cowher has the reputation of being able to sit on leads and run the football ” but also the reputation of being unable to overcome deficits, and Holmgren gets the slight nod. Still, never underestimate the intimidation factor of Cowher’s chin on the officials.
Slight Advantage: Seahawks
Looking at the Steelers injury report, there is only one name: Willie Parker. This would cause a considerable amount of concern for Steelers fans, if it wasn’t for the fact that he is listed as probable and his “injury” is instead an illness ” the flu. As for the Seahawks, Shaun Alexander still has to worry about any aftershocks from his concussion, and both WRs Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram were listed as questionable as of Jan 27th.
All of these players are virtually certain to be on the field come Sunday. Don’t expect any player to pull a Terrell Owens and dramatically come back from an injury before the game. Although I wouldn’t put anything past T.O. and his agent Drew Rosenhaus: they’ve had a lot of idle time to plan a Super Bowl stunt.
On one hand you’ve got Troy Polamalu, who could become the next poster boy for Tresemme should the Steelers win the Super Bowl. On the other you’ve got Matt Hasselbeck, who is a dead ringer for the “Before” picture guy in Rogaine commercials. You don’t need to be Paul Mitchell to judge this one.
Major Advantage: Steelers
When determining which team has the best leader (QB) you simply have to ask yourself, “Would looking at this man in the huddle inspire confidence in me when the game is on the line?” Ben Roethlisberger’s beard reflects his poise (as does his 26-4 record as a starter) and the public respect shown to him by his teammates after only 2 years in the NFL speaks volumes.
Hasselbeck’s dome could be rubbed for luck, but this is the same guy who – after winning the overtime coin toss in the 2003 playoffs against the Green Bay Packers and impulsively shouting they wanted the ball and were going to score – promptly threw an INT returned for a touchdown to lose the game. Enough said.
The Terrible Towels of the Steelers versus the white towels and 12th man flag of the Seahawks. The Terrible Towel has been inspiring fear in opponents and rallying the Steelers faithful since 1975. The Seahawks were not even a NFL team until 1976. I would continue, but the population inside Ford Field in Detroit will be approximately 90 percent Pittsburgh fans. Thereby resulting in Seattle’s 12th man having a similar effect as the 12th man on the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics ” i.e. none.
Major advantage: Steelers
Less astute scholars of football may think that the Steelers have been a team of “destiny” so to speak. Between Carson Palmer’s leg doing its best Joe Theismann impersonation on the second play of the game, Nick Harper deciding to zigzag down the middle of the field rather than take it down the sidelines, and Pittsburgh not having to face the New England Patriots after their collapse against Denver, it’s easy to think that Pittsburgh has been receiving a little divine intervention. However, all of these events have tipped the karma scale too far to the good side. The Steelers are due for some horrible luck and bad karma this season – and there is only one game left. An inexplicable gust of wind blowing a field goal attempt wide right, Roethlisberger coming down with food poisoning hours before the game after eating a burger with his own namesake, or the entire Pittsburgh roster going deaf after the Rolling Stones halftime show: None of these things would surprise me.
Major advantage: Seahawks
Factoring in all of these categories, I give to you another first: The Sports Balk Guaranteed* Prediction: Pittsburgh 38, Seattle 24.
Bradford Applin is a sophomore aerospace engineer. *He holds no responsibility for said guarantee, and any monetary or physical harm incurred as a result of following said prediction. He can be reached for feedback at email@example.com