It is a sad day here Behind the Pine Curtain. Today, where we lay to rest the 2008 Football Season. To paraphrase my main man Mark Anthony (the Roman, not the Cuban): I come to bury the season, not to praise it.
Seriously, can you think of a weirder NFL season? It has been crazy. Nowhere is that more evident than in the matchups we have today. The Arizona Cardinals are playing in the Super Bowl. The Arizona "effing" Cardinals! You know, this game is the biggest thing to happen to the Cardinals since Tidwell's heroic performance on that Monday night, so long ago.
How did the Cards make it here? On the arm of a 37-year old, obnoxiously-born-again QB who had been given up for dead after laying a 27-30 TD-to-INT ratio over five seasons before rising from the grave with a 57-31 ratio the last two seasons. To say this guys career was resurrected would be an understatement. To point out it came at the expense of notorious party-boy Matt Leinhart, while Rev. Warner was doing nothing but clean, god-fearing livin' makes Dr. Dobson and Rick Warren tumescent.
Then we've got the Steel Nation. No doubt, my friends Leslie and Russ could barely sleep last night and have probably already got the eye-black on and the Terrible Towels waving. A lot of people would rather the Steelers lose, because they don't want to hear their fans crowing about how they're the greatest team of all time, how "Seven" is the second coming or how fast "Fast Willie" is. I would prefer to be spared all that as well, but I'll trust those friends to be magnanimous if they win.
I've ridden the Cards so hard during these Playoffs, that if this were a western, the scene right now would be a big aerial shot of a desert with the horse down and me stumbling along a few hundred yards in front of it, with no water in sight. My theory so far on the Cards had been they were by far the biggest "Nobody believes in us" team and that Kurt Warner had promised his daughters a puppy if he won the Super Bowl.
The Steelers, well...they've got a great defense. They also have a QB who suffered a spinal concussion and their best WR is in the "he's gonna got out there and see how it feels" phase. They are also in Tampa thinks in large part to two huge special teams plays and a fluky, long TD pass in which the WR, after catching the ball, did his best Ten-Yard Fight impersonation (zig-zagging diagonally against the "computer-like" Ravens players).
But this thing is in Tampa. You can't tell me that place isn't going to be packed with Pittsburgh fans. It's cold as shit up there, it's not an incredibly expensive trip down to Tampa, tickets are going for record low prices (just $200 or so above face) and there are a ton of cheap-ass flea bag hotels, not to mention a plethora of strip joints. This is a Steelworkers dream vacation.
So who will win?
This would be a good place to break down the teams statistically and show trends that could be indicative of the outcome. You know, something like the fact that the Steelers are 31st in the league in fumbles, while the Cards are 1st in fumbles recovered. Stuff like that. But who cares about that stuff. The theory behind my picks is to be funny and/or insulting. With that in mind, I've asked my good friend Smooth Jimmy Apollo to help me with the pick. Without further ado, here is the BTPC Lock of the Week:
So here it is kids, your Smooth Jimmy Apollo's Lock of the Week for the CARDINALS versus the STEELERS (-6.5)
A few key points:
-One need look no further than the pictures at the top of this post. Compare and contrast. Warner, for all his righteous talk, is committing sacrilege by wearing the number of the greatest QB, dare I say finest actor and certainly the most compelling Nutrasystem salesperson of them all, one Daniel Constantine Marino, Jr. That in and of itself is a blasphemy that will keep him from winning (or for you inexplicable Marino-haters out there, you may consider it an enormous jinx).
-Second thing about that picture is, Warner is effing taunting Marino by wearing the twin-gloves, surely a not-so-subtle jab at our man Marino's fine work in the 1980s informing the public of the benefits of Isotoner gloves. That type of behavior is uncalled for and unfortunately not shockingly surprising considering Mr. Warner's holier-than-thou attitude.
-Finally, check out Mike Tomlin. Does he look cool as shit or what? I seriously believe the Steeler players will bring it for this guy, because they want to roll with him after the game to the after-party. Plus, if you look closely at this picture:
You see that Mike Tomlin is in fact DJ GQ (aka Omar Epps). And we all know Q's got the Juice now.
My pick has little to do with these teams or with football. I can see the change in the tide, even if the GOP can't. The Religious right is out. Their BS message has been rendered obsolete by a black man elected President who leaves his religion where it should be, in private. You know, a lot of Baptist and Presbyterian folks got emails the past two weeks telling them to pray and root for the Cardinals because of Kurt Warner. I'm sorry, but if there's a god and you think he cares who wins a football game, you're certifiable. When I heard about that, it cemented my pick. I want the Steelers to win and win big. And I hope Warner breaks down in the post-game interview, looking at the sky in vain, screaming "WHY!!!! WHY!!!" I'll settle for him explaining why God wanted them to lose, though. My guess would be because Kurt's backed off of the puppy promise to the girls, throwing Brenda under the bus. You can't do that Kurt. God and puppy lovers all over the world were watching and now they want payback.
Obama started something Tomlin's gonna keep going. As my man Chuck D once said: "Black is back, all in, we're gonna win. Check it out. Yeah, ya'll. Here we go again."
The Steelers D is gonna turn it up. The Steelers fans bring tha noize. Steelers win and win big, covering the 6.5.