In a time where the media hype machine demands great championship games to meet expectations, the Steelers and Cardinals did not disappoint last night. Sure, the first half was a little slow at times, but the betting, drinking games, and commercials (Doritos!) helped out with that.
Then came James Harrison's interception at the end of the first half. I'm not so sure that Hines Ward is faster than Harrison by the way. With his rumbling run-back filled with Steelers running into Harrison slowing him down, Cardinals on the sideline slowing Fitzgerald's attempt to run down Harrison, and a few blocks in the back thrown in. Calling it a momentum swing doesn't do it justice. The Cards were going in to tie or take the lead going into the half and the Defensive MVP of the league, known for his ability to get to the quarterback, changed it with one drop into coverage.
So the underdog Cards were done, right? Not with Kurt Warner, savior of franchises and not-so-attractive women, at the helm. Arizona went blow for blow with the Steelers the rest of the way and in a fourth quarter marred only by the officials, had victory in their sights after a huge play by Fitzgerald. Then Big Ben leads a fantastic drive finding Santonio Holmes for enough catches and yardage on that one drive to keep TO happy for an entire game. The capper is a perfect pass and an unbelievable catch for the winning score.
However, the great Super Bowl had a less than great finish. It seemed fitting that the game would end with the Steelers' defense making a big play, as they had done all season long. We all saw Woodley make the play, and I think most thought it was a fumble at first glance, but after the replay it looked like there was a good argument to be made that Warner still had the ball as his arm was going forward.
I don't have a huge problem with the result, but the game deserved a better, more equitable finish. To not even review the play is inexcusable by the officials and the NFL. Had the play been reversed, the Steelers likely still win, but they do it with no doubt and then these last few paragraphs could be used to describe how sweet the Steelers are. Again, if the play is reversed the Cards would have the ball around the 30 yard line (there was a 15 yard penalty on the Steelers) with one shot at the end zone. Besides being more exciting, either this or the game ending with an upheld review achieves the best result.
Still, the Steelers are sweet and the Cardinals played some outstanding football during their playoff run. I'm just happy the game lived up to the hype.