Super Bowl XLIII: 12 Days and Counting

Eric SalomonContributor IJanuary 19, 2009

Sports' biggest day of the year is a mere 12 days away, and although the hype of the big game is being overshadowed by the inauguration of our 44th President, those of us in the sports community have already begun breaking down the match ups for the 43rd Super Bowl. 

The Steelers have the upper-hand in this game.  They have a solid defense and a quarterback with Super Bowl success (although we can ask the Patriots how much the latter really matters).  What really sets them apart from the Cardinals is an intangible: swagger. 

The Arizona Cardinals found their way into the playoffs by playing in worst division in football.   They stumbled their way through the last part of the season.  That is not to take away from their performance in the playoffs, which has been exceptional.  The Steelers, however, have the talent, confidence, and the all-important "swagger" necessary to be a championship team.

If I had to pick one player to build my defense around (assuming this is 2009 and not 1986 when Lawrence Taylor was dominating the gridiron) it would be Troy Polamalu.  You can take Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, but the versatility of Polamalu is something that few players have ever approached.  The Pro-Bowler has turned the position of strong safety into a defensive cornerstone.

My prediction: Steelers: 23   Cardinals: 13