Today's the day. In 24 hours, the NFL will have crowned a new champion, either the Arizona Cardinals or the Pittsburgh Steelers. I've taken plenty of time thinking about the game, and I've written nothing about it in the past two weeks (thanks in part to my Marquette Golden Eagles).
Now, with only mere hours to go before the pageantry starts (not to mention the football game), I'll break down my pick for those who care to read what I think.
Standing in their way is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The New Steel Curtain. The No. 1 defense in football. And that's not even a contest.
With the enigmatic Arizona team, anything could happen in this game. Larry Fitzgerald has the talent and physical tools to continue his reign of terror. On the other hand, the Cardinals haven't faced a defense like Pittsburgh.
And on the other other hand, the Pittsburgh defense hasn't faced a receiver like Fitzgerald (and please, if you're going to argue this point, please don't mention Terrell Owens. He's not good any more. Stick with Randy Moss.)
What about when Pittsburgh goes on offense? I don't think they are capable of getting more than 24 points, so if the defense has a rough go of things with Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Warner, Ben Roethlisberger will have to prove that he's as good as a lot of people claim he is.
Arizona's defense, of course, will have to step up as they've done through the whole postseason. Eleven turnovers in three games is a lot of turnovers, even if six of them happened in one game. Two or three more against the Steelers, which is definitely possible, will make victory that much more likely for the Cardinals.
That takes me up to my pick. I'm going Arizona in a close game, something like 24-20. I feel like Arizona will be able to throw the ball against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh will have a chance late in the fourth quarter to win, but the offense just won't have enough to keep pace with the Cardinals air attack.
And, with the clock reading 0:00 at the Super Bowl, with the Cardinals as the champion, people outside of Boston will finally understand what this guy was talking about.