5. Hines Ward.
I point this out not to disparage Hines in any way. If a guy's injured, he's injured. It's the perfect case study, though, on how you can't believe anything anyone says during Super Bowl week. All week long, you could ask anyone in the organization, and it was, "Yeah, Hines is fine, Hines is great, no problem with Hines at all." And then the game starts, and clearly, Hines just isn't Hines. Two catches for 43 yards was the grand total.
The one thing I find most confusing about the game is that after the Cardinals had played some inspired defense in the second half. Yet, on the last drive, when they needed a stop more than they've ever needed one, they stopped bringing the pressure.
The pressure had been key all day long. In the third and fourth quarters, it was working for them. But then the Cardinals scored, left the Steelers some time, sphincters tightened and people got conservative. The blitz went away, and they made the last drive way easier on the Steelers than it had to be.
3. Bruce Springsteen's crotch.
If a 59-year-old wants to bust out the power slide, more power to him. But, you know, maybe next time we should see if we can't make sure that his crotch isn't going to plow into a camera first.
For the benefit of both the viewers at home, and the crotch itself, let's clear the runway. I guess we should all just consider ourselves lucky that Justin Timberlake's hand didn't pop out of nowhere and rip off a codpiece just before The Boss got close to the lens.
2. The ad wizards out there.
Was it just me, or did it seem like a lot of the ads during the Super Bowl had some element of violence to them? Don't get me wrong, I'm not personally bothered by it ... I love violence on television.
But I'm concerned that advertisers are getting to a point where they can't make someone laugh unless someone's in physical or emotional pain. That seems like a regression. This one was just downright mean.
1. Willie Parker and Edgerrin James.
It would have probably made more sense to put both team's run defenses on the most valuable list, but too many guys played too well, and I ran out of room. Running games were just a rumor last night in Tampa, Fla. Willie Parker only managed 53 yards on 19 carries for an average of 2.8 per attempt.
Edgerrin James had just nine carries for 33 yards. I think everyone knew that the Steelers rush defense was for real, but if the Cardinals hadn't proved the same yet in the playoffs, they just hammered that point home. They gave up 42 yards to Michael Turner, 63 to DeAngelo Williams, 45 to Brian Westbrook and 53 to Willie Parker. You can't do much better than that.
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