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Tuesday, February 07, 2006 

Not so Super show

A few random thoughts on Super Bowl XL...

Pittsburgh made two huge plays in the second half, starting with Willie Parker's Super Bowl record 75 yard TD run, and culmunating with WR Antwaan Randle El's 43 yard touchdown pass to MVP Hines Ward with just under 9 minutes to play. Randle El made history as the first WR to throw a TD pass in the Super Bowl, which was even more remarkable since he had been badly shaken up earlier in the game. Those 14 points enabled the Steelers to overcome a horrible start that featured no first downs until midway through the second quarter, and possibly the worst-ever day for a winning Super Bowl QB. Ben Roethlisberger was just 9-for-21 for 153 yards and 2 interceptions. His two best plays arguably came late in the second quarter, when he scrambled and found Ward for a big gain on 3rd-and-long, then ran it in himself from the 1 yard line on a very close play. The Steelers also struggled on the ground, gaining just 62 yards on 24 carries with the very big exception of Parker's TD run.

But Seattle wasted too many opportunities. Matt Hasselbeck started out on fire, and completed five passes to Darrell Jackson in the first quarter. But Jackson was shutout the rest of the way, and with TE Jerramy Stephens dropping three key passes the Seahawks offense had to settle for long field goal attempts. Plus, although the TV announcers didn't mention it, I thought Tom Rouen did a horrible job punting, as he kept kicking the ball into the end zone instead of driving the ball high and short and giving his teammates a chance to down it inside the 5. That translated into a lot of wasted field position for the Seahawks.

Mike Holmgren's pathetic play calling late in the second quarter is inexcusable. He was obviously upset by the Roethlisberger TD call, screaming at the officials as he ran off the field at the end of the first half, but he cost his team 3 big points by not getting into more reasonable field goal range. And I hope he makes good use of that last 2nd half timeout in the offseason - at a minimum he should have taken it to settle down his team as they made a last desperate attempt to stay in the game.

As I've written before, I never watch the Super Bowl pregame, and rarely watch halftime, but I suffered through the Rolling Stones performance. Too bad Jagger can't sing anymore - it would have been awesome for them to have played at Super Bowl XX, but now it's 20 years too late. Here's hoping the NFL books something more contemporary next year, like Coldplay or whoever the next "big thing" is by then.

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