Super Bowl Preview
Posted by Jeremiah on Jan 31, 2006, 12:15
Hey, I'm Jeremiah and welcome to my first article on thesmartmarks.com. I've written a few test articles here, but now this is the real thing. Over the next few months, I'll be writing about the NHL, a little bit about the NBA, and when football season comes back I plan on having a weekly College Football column. Right now, I'm writing about the NFL as I will continue to do next year, and I'll be previewing the Super Bowl. I'm a Jacksonville fan, and they've never reached the Super Bowl, so I've never actually seen my team in the Big Game. I'm sure Seattle fans are pretty happy right now, as they should be. However, they shouldn't be content with just getting there, they should really care about winning the whole damn thing.
There probably hasn't been as much hype for the Super Bowl as we've seen in recent years, and it should be obvious as to why. Given the other teams in the playoffs, like the defending Patriots, the resurgent Redskins, and the litany of stories that can be attached to the Indianapolis Colts, it doesn't seem as if the sports media really wanted to see and promote a Super Bowl featuring this year's participants, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. Though Super Bowl XL may not feature the Battle Of The Mannings, or Bill Belichick's quest for three straight Lombardi trophies, there is still, like always, a story to be told.
On one hand, you have Pittsburgh, one of America's true working class cities. Pittsburgh has always prided itself on its work ethic, and feels that its football team embodies the very spirit of the city. On the other hand, you have Seattle, a city that is perceived to be about nothing but Starbucks Coffee, Microsoft, and rainfall. However, this is a city that has come to support its football team through thick and thin, through the building of a new stadium, and movement to the NFC. However, these aren't really things that the media likes to focus on, so for once, we're actually going to get some hype towards the players that actually deserve it.
This Seattle team allowed 94.4 rushing yards per game, the 5th least allowed in the entire league. The Seahawks have a highly underrated defense led by Defensive Rookie of the Year Lofa Tatupu as well as secondary standout Marcus Trufant. They should be able to weather the running game that Pittsburgh is going to throw at them early on, and should also contain wide receivers Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle-El. The real question is, will NFL MVP Shaun Alexander be able to run on the vaunted Pittsburgh defense? The answer is no. Seattle will have to pick up every blitz that Pittsburgh throws at them, and that may prove to be the most difficult task Seattle will have. Joey Porter is a monster on the pass rush, and Walter Jones is going to have to be able to contain him, or it will be a very long day for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The key to victory for Seattle may very well be Jerramy Stevens. In order for the Seahawks to move the ball, they'll have to be able to throw to their tight end. The same thing holds true with Heath Miller for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have two big things that they must be able to do to win this game. They have to get Willie Parker going early. In most of the games they've won, Willie jumped out to a fast start to lead his team down the field on a scoring drive. This is such a major aspect of this Steeler offense. If they can get Willie Parker going, Seattle won't be able to put all of their focus on pressuring Ben Roethlisberger, and will have to focus on the running backs. If they can do that, Pittsburgh will definitely have an advantage. The Steelers must also be able to get the ball to Hines Ward, which could prove difficult to accomplish, considering the way that Seattle shut down Carolina's Steve Smith in the NFC Championship Game. However, Roethlisberger, being much more mature than Delhomme, should be able to find other receivers, minimizing this problem for Pittsburgh. It's likely going to be Jerome Bettis's last game, in his hometown of Detroit, no less, so Pittsburgh may use him often to get everything they can from him. For Jerome, there is no holding back.
This game is going to come down to special teams and turnovers. I think both teams' offenses are going to have an extremely hard time moving the football, and the winner of this game will be the team that doesn't make mistakes. Pittsburgh's special teams are so well run by Bill Cowher, and they could bust a big play on the punt return. Seattle will need Josh Scobey to do something in the kick return, but he hasn't really provided a big spark all season. If Hasselbeck doesn't make stupid mistakes, and if Mike Holmgren can call a good game, Mike could definitely have the stigma of "not winning without Favre" behind him. The kicking game is going to be huge as well, as Josh Brown and Jeff Reed have both made big field goals all season.
As for my prediction, I think this game will be low scoring, and that it will go down to the last second. Josh Brown's clutch ability comes into play here, so I'm going to take Seattle 17-14. It's unfair not to give a team like Seattle any respect. Indeed, as of late, the teams that haven't gotten respect have been the teams that have shown up ready to play in their respective championship games and series. Look no further than the University of Texas football team, the Chicago White Sox, or the San Antonio Spurs of 2005, as well as the 2004 Detroit Pistons, and of course, the dynasty of the New England Patriots. There's a reason that Seattle had the best record in the NFC, and it's not because they played a cupcake schedule. They're a legitimate team, and complete, well-rounded teams have been the ones winning championships. Should Pittsburgh lose a close game, it may not be out of the question to see Jerome Bettis come back for one more season.
For feedback, you can PM me on the forums at Kingofthe909 or you can email me at [email protected], with the subject titled Super Bowl Preview. I'll be back on Monday with a review of this game, and some NHL and NBA stuff from the weekend. Have fun watching the game. Please, give feedback. It's important so that I know what I can change. Any help is good help.