Monday, January 19, 2009

Thoughts on Championship Weekend

- I could talk about Larry Fitzgerald, I could talk about Kurt Warner, I could even talk about Adrian Wilson and the game that he played. But firstly I will give Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley a lot of credit. He called an excellent game. All of the screens, all of the misdirection plays, the "flea flicker" play that went for a TD. He did a good job of using Philadelphia's aggressive ways against them. The Phliadelphia defense definitely had its hands full and didn't rise to the occasion.

-It's crazy how good Larry Fitzgerald is. And now the entire world has had the privilege of seeing him go crazy throughout the playoffs. Besides Andre Johnson, is there a WR on Larry's level right now?

- I've been saying this for a long time and I'll say it once again. Donovan McNabb isn't a Superbowl Caliber quarterback. He showed as much yesterday, once again coming up small in a big game. Yes his statistics showed that he played a wonderful game, but sometimes you have to look past the face value of the statistics and look at the game to make fair evaluations. McNabb was off for a good portion of the football game, and when the chips were down, he failed once again. Yes, people can speak on the Curtis "drop" or missed penalty, but if McNabb makes a good throw on any of the first three downs it doesn't come down to that.

- Kurt Warner has now brought two franchises out of exile to the promised land. The man has had a nice career numbers wise, but he brought the St Louis Rams from the dead, and now has brought another listless franchise from the dead. More than his numbers, his impact on those two franchises is what will ultimately get him into the Hall of Fame. What was St Louis before Warner arrived? Then what were they when he left? What was Arizona before he arrived? What are they now? A Super Bowl participant. That is a hell of a change.

- I wonder if this is Brian Dawkins last shot at getting to the big dance. Hearing him after the game, he sounded as dejected as can be. I think he realizes he had an excellent shot, and the team blew it. He is an unrestricted free agent after the season so it will be interesting to see what contract he comes to an agreement with in Philly.

- As much as Arizona won the football game and are now the great story, they did everything in their power to keep Philadelphia in that game yesterday. The sack on McNabb on a 3rd and 1 being called back due to an absolutely idiotic holding penalty as someone just tackled Westbrook even though he had absolutely nothing to do with the play. The 3rd and 19, in the middle of the 3rd quarter, up 18, when they let Kevin Curtis get behind them. Arizona did everything they could to make the game an exciting one! That's for sure.

- I've heard a lot about Anquan Boldin since the game ended. We all saw the spat him and the offensive coordinator were having on the sideline, apparently about the playing time Boldin was receiving. I mean, honestly, what else could Boldin have been yelling about with 5 minutes left in the biggest game (to this point), in Arizona Cardinals franchise history, while Haley is trying to direct the Cardinals to a potential winning drive. Then supposedly, he left the locker room early during the team's celebration. In my opinion, Boldin is showing his selfish side, and is clearly jealous of the success Fitzgerald is having, along with being ticked off about his contract. The team just made the Superbowl, this isn't a distraction that they need right now

- I thought the moment when Pam Oliver interviewed Adrian Wilson and he was crying tears of joy, was a great moment. It was just pure emotion. Not to sound sappy, but moments like this make sports great.

- The Pittsburgh defense is absolutely awesome. They are all over the place, and put intense pressure on the Quarterback. Is it crazy to talk about them among the all time great defenses in the NFL? After all they were near tops in the league in every defensive category, and they didn't allow an offense to gain 300 yards in ANY game ALL SEASON. That defense is scary. We'll see if they are up to the task of stopping the Cinderella Cardinals in SB XLIII.

- I like Ben Roethlisberger's game. His numbers were not impressive yesterday, but the man is a playmaker. When a play needs to be made it's Ben usually makes it on offense for Pittsburgh. And Ben is absolutely ridiculous when it comes to avoiding sacks. If I had a dollar for every time I've seen Ben shrug off a tackler, I'd be on a yacht in France somewhere. Now it may not always be pretty with Ben, as sometimes he takes unnecessary sacks and sometimes he holds onto the ball but when you need him, he usually comes through when needed. I swear, it feels like the Steelers convert 10 3rd and 7s a game.

- Props to Troy Polamalu on a big game yesterday. The stop on Flacco on the QB sneak was incredible, and his pick 6 iced the game. He played a big game yesterday, as he was all over the field from beginning to end. On a side note, something completely unrelated to football, is it me or is that guy's voice VERY soft? It rivals Cole Hamels voice.

-That hit on Willis McGahee was absolutely brutal. Ryan Clark has been a part of probably the two most memorable hits of the season (on McGahee yesterday, on Welker earlier in the season). It was just something that in the heat of the battle, happens. I don't think Clark had any intent. I hope Willis is alright and is able to be fully functional.

- I think Terrell Suggs is a stud. He is going to get himself some serious $$$$ in the offseason. Yesterday he had 2 sacks, and a couple other hurries playing with basically one arm. I wonder which team will give him the big money. That should be an interesting case to follow in the offseason.

- Hopefully Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry continues to the point where they frequently play meaningful games. Watching those two defenses is truly a treat. Two well coached, smashmouth, hard hitting football teams getting together for games as intense as these two teams play is something I'd like to see more over the course of the next few years. Here's to more Pitt/Baltimore battles.

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