Super Bowl XLIII: Greatest Ever? Let's Not Get Carried Away

Mike DiPietroCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2009

Let me just get this out of the way first. Super Bowl XLIII was a great game.

It demonstrated great athletes doing what they need to do to win football games when they matter.

It showed the hearts of champions, making every stride for a chance at a title, just one shot to secure a ring on their fingers.

It showed two teams who were scratching, clawing, through their blood, sweat, and tears for a championship; a place in history for all to see, and to remember.

The Super Bowl is where you want to shine the brightest. You want to make the big play, and show it off to all of your teammates, along with a "YEAH homie! I did THAT!!!!" and an MVP trophy, all nice and shiny, just like your new car that you'll be getting along with it.

The Steelers ended up winning this awesome game 27-23, and outlasting the Arizona Cardinals, a joke of a franchise, but still a team with true heart and leadership under Kurt Warner. They definitely got props last night from all NFL fans and players.

This was a game that no one deserved to lose. This was the best Super Bowl ever.

Yeah, OK, sure it was. Try saying that in about five months from now.

Now I know what you are all thinking. "Wait, why are you dissing this game???? It was flippin' sweet! Game winning drive by Big Ben, totally better than Joe Montana's drive in Super Bowl XXIII, or Eli Manning's drive in Super Bowl XLII."

"Santonio Holmes, his catch!?!!? Obviously better than David Tyree's catch! I mean, anyone can catch a ball on his helmet while under duress from the dirtiest player in football, Rodney Harrison, and the pressure of letting the Patriots go undefeated."

"Big Ben? His scrambles were more impressive than Eli's escape against three defenders. Nobody cares about Steve McNair's scramble against the St. Louis Rams anyways."

Well, I guess the pundits and critics all have some pretty valid points!


Listen, yesterday's game was great. But it ain't the greatest. It doesn't even get into the top three Super Bowls of all time. Sure, it had game-winning plays and such, but there were more questionable penalties that ruined the concept of "letting the players play." It was ridiculous.

The personal foul on the Cardinal who accidentally bumped into the punter? Please.

Roughing the quarterback about a millisecond after he releases the ball? Dumb.

But what was even worse were the calls that were not made.

Kurt Warner's "fumble" at the end of the game should have been looked under the hood. I know, Al Michaels told the viewers the refs confirmed it was a fumble. Yeah, after five seconds of talking it over with the other referees.

Santonio Holmes should have been called for using the ball as a prop after he scored the game-winning touchdown with 0:35 seconds left. That would have been huge in kickoff returning.

The penalties and lack-there-of were stupid to watch, but I'm stunned no one is talking about the sloppy play of both teams in the first half.

Sure, Pittsburgh scored 17 points, but it really should have been 21, only because Mike Tomlin doesn't think his O-Line can't pick up an inch for a TD. Also, Arizona could not find Larry Fitzgerald early in the game. Whether or not it had to do with the Steelers coverage on him, there just were not any big plays in the first half.

Except the crazy 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, which many people are calling the greatest play in Super Bowl history.

Please. That's like calling Ty Law's interception against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI an incredible play. That's like calling the Buccaneers/Raiders Super Bowl memorable.

It was awesome to watch, but it had no impact on the game since the Cardinals ended up getting the lead anyways late in the game, 23-20.

Even Santonio Holmes' catch for the game-winning TD wasn't as incredible as everyone is making it out to be. Amani Toomer did that same catch on the sidelines in last year's Super Bowl (albeit was in the 2nd quarter, and led to an interception anyways), but no one talked about that, did they?

We see receivers make that catch, basically every week in football!

David Tyree made a better catch than Holmes.

Eli Manning AND David Tyree made a better play than James Harrison. A more significant play.

All in all, I'm not hating on last night's game. It was fantastic to watch, and the fourth quarter was amazing to watch. But do you really put this game over the classic that was Super Bowl XLII? The upset for the ages? Perfection just 2:42 away for the Patriots before Manning took that all away?

Do you put this game over Super Bowl XXXIV? Mike Jones epic tackle on Kevin Dyson, which is the best defensive play in Super Bowl history (because this was the final play of the game, unlike Harrison's interception), was a great finish that everyone remembered.

How about Super Bowl XXV? Giants-Bills. No turnovers, methodical offenses, just waiting until the other team blinked. An incredible chess match between Bill Belichick and Jim Kelly. All ending on the foot of Scott Norwood, missing wide right. Final score? 20-19. Closest margin ever.

Super Bowl XLIII? Greatest ever? Greatest play ever? Greatest catch ever? After just 24 hours to take it all in?

Let's not get carried away.