Well, the Sixty Feet, Six Inches poll is still going on, but it seems clear what the final result will be. With five days left to vote, the results of the poll question "Was Super Bowl XLIII The Best Ever" are 22% yes, 33% no, and 44% close, but no cigar. (Note to Bleacher Report readers: the poll mentioned here is found on our home page linked at the bottom of this article. There's also a discussion thread here.)
Maybe it's just my bias as a Steeler fan, but I really do believe that Super Bowl XLVIII was the best Super Bowl ever played.
I hate to use the phrase "game recap." The game has been played. Nothing I say or do will change the outcome, and I hope you're not relying on little ol' me to validate or invalidate your opinion. Nonetheless, we'll have to take a look at this one.
Firstly, if you're a "records = greatness" type, there were plenty of them in this game.
- James Harrison's runback from an interception was the longest play in Super Bowl history.
- The Cardinals completed the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, and then the Steelers came back from that.
- Larry Fitzgerald broke Jerry Rice's record for touchdowns in a single postseason and added another one to it.
However, this game was way more than that.
Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner's heroics were not only flashy and amazing, they were simply unbelievable. Against the best defense in the NFL, a defense that had kept Arizona's high-flying offense relatively quiet all day, suddenly the Cardinals were ripping apart everything in their path.
Set up by, of all things, a safety due to holding in the end zone, the Cardinals rallied to go ahead of the Steelers en route to what appeared to be a Super Bowl win. Momentum was clearly on their side.
Then, after Fitzgerald's ridiculous score, the Steelers came back with an equally ridiculous drive. There were plays that should never happen in the NFL. Big Ben was playing sandlot football at the highest possible level, escaping sacks, scrambling for yardage, and completing pass after pass to Santonio Holmes (OK, there was one to Nate Washington as well).
Finally, after a pass went right through Holmes' hands in the end zone, on the very next play, there it was. Perfect pass, amazing, acrobatic catch that John Madden (and, as he was quick to point out, Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie) couldn't believe, touchdown Pittsburgh. Later, we found out that Ben Roethlisberger couldn't believe it either.
As the camera focused on both teams, we saw extreme jubilence from Holmes, Ward and Roethlisberger, and the shock and unfathomable sadness as Larry Fitzgerald is seen mouthing "no, no, no" in slow-motion on the sideline. Nobody captures the drama of the NFL quite like NBC does.
How many QBs do you think can make that last drive happen by Pittsburgh? I know other QBs are more skilled than Big Ben when it comes to overall skill, but I don't think Peyton Manning or Tom Brady could have extended the plays as long as they needed to like Ben did. I don't think Romo could have, either. The only QB besides Ben I'd give a chance to would be Eli Manning, because he did it last year.
That's why this was the perfect Super Bowl. No team was ever completely safe. It was a perfect mix of talent, improbablility and tension, right up to the end of the game. It was a full game of intense, edge-of-your-seat action.
You can compare it to last year if you want, but this game had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Last year, a victory by the Patriots was such a foregone conclusion that it wasn't exciting until the Manning-to-Tyree connection actually happened.
You can keep last year. You can keep Elway's helicopter dive to the end zone. You can keep Montana to Clark or Manning to Tyree. I'll take Roethlisberger to Holmes for dramatic Super Bowl victories any time.