Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brain Freeze

I’m back. It’s been a few days during which I’ve shoveled my driveway four times during two different snowstorms in one twenty four hour period.

How’s that for a numbers game?

What else happened, you ask?

Took the boys sledding down the dreaded ‘seven bumps’ hill (so named because there are seven bumps that wreak havoc on every single vertebrae) for the first time. Youngest is the daredevil of the two, mainly because he’s 4 years younger and hasn’t realized ‘Hey, when I wipe out going really fast, it could hurt. A LOT!’. He got a feel for this on his second run when he went air born and landed flat on his back. He was fine, just got a face full of snow that trickled down the front of his shirt.

Eight year old is more cautious developed from too many head traumas to count. Coming down he would stick a foot or hand out to slow things down only to throw snow up into his face so he couldn’t see where he was going. As we all know, that’s a horrible strategy to use. He got with the program and put together three kick ass rides that took him further than most of the other kids.

By the way, I totally forgot the enormous entertainment value from watching kids wipe out and get wiped out when they stop paying attention. How kids aren’t injured more often and more severely is a testament to the soft, fluffy, frozen water known as snow. That really should be it’s slogan: Snow: the anti-concussion precipitation.

What else?

Oh, right. We had a couple of football games. I nearly forgot. Let’s break these bad boy’s down.

Philadelphia at Arizona: I will not doubt the Cardinals again. Well, maybe once more. They dominated the first half. Dominated! They were calling great plays, making great stops, showing off their Larry Fitzgerald with a ‘Lookie what we got!’ flair and even reintroduced Edgerrin James back to the league. Go figure.

Then the second half started and they couldn’t do a thing. The Eagles were disrupting the Cardinals timing, getting to Warner, moving right along on offense and looking like the team that destroyed Dallas as opposed to the team that soiled the field against the Bengals.

Wasn’t meant to be, though. Arizona got their shit together for one, killer, time consuming, game winning drive. McNabb’s NFC Championship record now falls to…what? 1-10. Feels that way.

Now Kurt Warner is back in the Super Bowl with an entirely new set of targets and looking to potentially cement his Hall of Fame legacy with one more win. As crazy as it sounds, if Warner were to win his second Super Bowl, would he not be considered a first ballot Hall of Famer?

Baltimore at Pittsburgh: As entertaining as the first game of the afternoon was, this was just as excruciating to watch. The first quarter felt like a half; the first half an entire game. It wasn’t a blow out, just tedious. There were a few moments of excitement and a whole bunch of bone crunching hits, but I was getting antsy before half time and found myself flipping around to see if anything else was on.

Don’t worry, I stuck with it. The second half was a bit better, but I couldn’t shake the feeling Baltimore didn’t belong here. If Tennessee didn’t beat itself last week, this would have been a much better game.

The Steelers won, as you know and they deserved it. They were the better team and it sure helped to have Joe Flacco on the other side. Man, was he atrocious. Figured that would happen sooner or later, but I didn’t think it would be that bad. I think he had 38 yards passing in the first half. Hold on. Going to look that up…..

Yeah, couldn’t find those half time stats. Screw it. I’m going with the 38 yards.

So where does this leave us?

Sadly, with only one game remaining in the season which just happens to be the single most over hyped, over rated (with few exceptions), over analyzed game of every year. I’m jumping the gun and doing mine now.

Pittsburgh vs Arizona: The key – as always – is whether the Steelers can put pressure on Kurt Warner. As Sunday’s game showed, he is deadly when he has time; rattled and erratic when he’s pressured. The Eagles have a decent defense, but they are not in the same league as Pittsburgh. You can be sure that the Steeler coaches will be looking very closely at the third quarter of the Arizona – Philly game and getting pointers on how to slow down the Cardinal receivers.

What’s odd about this game is the Steelers top ranked rush defense going against a team that doesn’t rush the ball that much. If at all. Sure they showed it last weekend, but their bread and butter is Warner getting the ball to either Breaston, Boldin or (especially) Fitzgerald as they run wild up the field. How do you stop a team’s running game if they choose not to use one?

In a lot of ways, this game mirrors last year’s Super Bowl when the high flying Patriots crashed to earth against the Giants. The Cardinals are an offensive force butting heads with the blue collared, defensive minded Steelers.

Here’s what I figure: Arizona will get their points simply by getting the ball to Fitzgerald or Boldin. Troy Polamalu can only cover one of them and they still have Breaston to deal with. Add to that Warner being a far superior quarterback than Flacco and the Steelers are going to have their hands full.

And, while everyone is going to be looking at the Pitt D vs the Cardinals O, what about the other side of that? Arizona can put up 24 points with their eyes closed. Can Big Ben keep up? The Cardinals D has been impressive throughout the playoffs. Take away the third quarter of their last game and they’ve been down right scary.

Let’s not forget that Roethlisberger could be missing his favorite and most potent weapon in Hines Ward and scoring points could be a big issue for Pittsburgh.

Huh. I started this rundown with the intention of picking Pittsburgh, but I think I just talked myself into Arizona. Fuck it. That’s the way I’m going.

Arizona by 3 in a very tight, tense and entertaining contest.

If my past means anything, put your life savings on Pittsburgh.

Today’s distraction: History! Went to a local pub to watch the inauguration. The bar was packed – literally standing room only – and everyone watched in silence as he gave his speech. At the end, a loud, long round of applause overwhelmed everything. Love him or hate him, Obama certainly commands a room, a crowd and now, a nation.


Hammen said...

I just hope it's a close Super Bowl. No blowouts please.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Last year's game was baller, except for Eli winning of course. And on a bogus play at that. I digress.

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

Steelers by a TD, their D is relentless. Are you excited for lost tonight? I'm excited for your reviews/theories.
Chicago got hit with most of that snow shit as well. I can't wait for summer.

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

Also I like how your blog was posted at 420. Commence stoner laugh now.