Monday, January 19, 2009

Super Steelers

Mike Wilbon gave me a nice lead-in to this when he called Ben Roethlisberger a "vastly underrated quarterback - with a Super Bowl ring".

You think?

Roethlisberger will most likely lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl win in 13 days, which will be his second under centre since being drafted in 2004 - the same draft as Eli Manning, who, among others, is almost always listed ahead of Roethlisberger when ranking NFL pivots.

I'm going to pick on Manning for a bit because I don't like him very much and I don't like the Giants at all1. Let's just look at their stats, shall we?

Manning: 73 GP, 1276-2284 Comp-Att (55.9%), 14,623 yards, 98 TD, 74 INT, 76.1 RAT
Roethlisberger: 72 GP, 1189-1905 Comp-Att (62.4%), 14,974 yards, 101 TD, 69 INT, 89.4 RAT

Roethlisberger threw fewer passes, but completed them more often - and for more yards and touchdowns. Fewer defenders picked off his passes, and Manning's career-best Quarterback Rating isn't equal to Roethlisberger's career QB Rating.

But, all of those are just numbers, and, like I said, I'm picking on Manning a little. Roethlisberger is only one small part of why the Pittsburgh Steelers will be celebrating with some new hardware two Sundays from now.

Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald is probably the best wideout in football and he put 18 first-half points on the board by himself against Philadelphia. No team has been able to shut him down so far this post season, but none of those teams boasted the best defensive unit in football. That's not to say Kurt Warner2 won't hit him for 100 yards or so, but the Cardinals are going to need to find more than just him.

The game probably won't be as far apart as the seven points spread that's currently being circulated by the oddsmakers, but I may be falling into the same trap as many sportscasters seem to be - just because the Giants shocked the world and beat the Patriots, doesn't mean every underdog will forever into perpetuity win the Super Bowl. Let's just say that the Cardinals will have to score a touchdown on their final possession or they'll be going home as runners-up.

1 - I disliked them before, but their Super Bowl win last year did not help their cause
2 - Whom I dislike more than Eli Manning

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