I’m already looking ahead in the NFL. Actually, I’ve been looking ahead to late April’s draft since late September, but that’s another story. I’m looking ahead to Super Bowl XLIII (43, for those of us that aren’t Roman).
The game will be a great matchup with great storylines. We can’t go wrong.
Start with Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh. That’s a layup. The battle of Pennsylvania, in Tampa. The cities dislike each other, they have a great rivalry in hockey. Pittsburgh wins championships on a regular basis, but Philadelphia’s teams went forever without a title until the Phillies won the World Series in October. Good matchup.
Philadelphia vs. Baltimore would be terrific. The Phillies and Orioles met in the World Series in 1983, with the O’s winning their last title. The 92 miles between the cities can be traversed in 90 minutes. Two classic football cities with histories of physical, take no prisoners football. The game would feature two of the most complex defenses in the game…Ray Lewis or Brian Dawkins would always be on the field. It would be a slugfest.
How about Arizona vs. Pittsburgh? Kurt Warner nearly faced the Steelers in Super Bowl XXXVI, but the Steelers were upended by New England. Warner and Ben Roethlisberger each gunning for their second title. But the great storyline would be that almost everyone thought Ken Whisenhunt would get the Steeler head coaching job when Bill Cowher retired. If it wasn’t Whisenhunt, it was going to be Russ Grimm. Mike Tomlin got the gig, and now both Whisenhunt and Grimm are in Arizona. They’d be trying to knock off the franchise that jilted them.
Arizona-Baltimore would feature the grizzled veteran Warner vs. the rookie Joe Flacco. Two cities that grabbed franchises from other cities. Two of the best safeties in the league in Ed Reed of the Ravens and Adrian Wilson of the Cardinals. When Bill Bidwill was leaving St. Louis, the two finalist cities were Phoenix and Baltimore. Who got the better deal?
For most of St. Louis, if Warner makes it to the Super Bowl, it’s going to be a spectacle. But regardless of what happens next Sunday, we’re in for a great matchup on February 1 in Tampa.