I’m picking the Steelers

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Since many other sports writers around the country are talking about who they think will win Sunday’s Super Bowl and why, I guess I should probably take a stab at it too.

Well, ready or not, here are my thoughts about the game.

First of all, let me say that I think the Arizona Cardinals making the Super Bowl is a feel-good story.

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While their opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have won numerous Super Bowls, the Cardinals had not made it to a league championship game since they were the Chicago Cardinals. They later moved to St. Louis, then to Arizona.

Adding to the feel-good scenario is the fact that the Cardinals’ 37-year-old quarterback Kurt Warner has a chance to be the first quarterback in National Football League (NFL) history to quarterback two teams to Super Bowl championships.

Ten years ago, he quarterbacked the St. Louis Rams to their Super Bowl victory over former quarterback Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans.

Ben Roethlisberger was a rookie Steelers quarterback on their world championship team, that beat the Seattle Seehawks in the Super Bowl, so he too will have a chance to quarterback a second NFL Super Bowl championship team.

One big key to the Super Bowl on Sunday could be the availability of the Steelers veteran wide receiver and former University of Georgia Bulldog Hines Ward.

He sprained his knee in the Steelers’ American Football Conference (AFC) championship game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Ward is Roethlisberger’s top receiver, and if he is limited, or cannot play at all, it could be a big boost for the Cardinals who are a seven-point underdog at midweek.

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the former University of Pittsburgh Panther, is arguably the best wide receiver in professional football today. His receiving was the major factor in the Cardinals playoff wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles.

Fitzgerald and former Florida State University Seminoles wide receiver Anquan Bolden give the Cardinals as good a one-two punch at wide receiver as you will find anywhere.

With Steeler Willie Parker and Cardinal Adrian James leading the way, the running game for both teams seems solid.

The difference in the game, in my opinion, will be defense. The Steelers defense is rated in the top five in the league while the Cardinals defense is somewhere in the mid 20s.

There is on old saying in sports that offense makes headlines but defense wins games. If you believe that, and I do, you’ve got to favor the Steelers.

Like I said earlier, I think the Cardinals are a great story, and I’ll be rooting for them Sunday. I’m picking the Steelers, however, because they have the superior defense. The final score should be something like 21-14.