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Sunday, February 05, 2006 

Quick Slants - Super Bowl XL

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks

I'm rooting for the Seahawks today, primarily because I would like to see them win their first Super Bowl. I'm also partial to Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu, whose fathers played for the Patriots many years ago. For Mike Holmgren, a win would vindicate his decision to trade for Hasselbeck, and elevate his stature as a great coach.

On Friday, the Boston Globe listed how the Steelers and Seahawks acquired all of the players on their rosters. It was an interesting comparison, given how long Bill Cowher has been with Pittsburgh and Holmgren's recent demotion from G.M.

Pittsburgh acquired 17 of their starters through the draft, with every draft from 1998 to 2005 producing at least one starter. They've used free agency sparingly, but hit it big with LB James Farrior in 2002 and RB Willie Parker in 2004. And of course, the 1996 trade that brought Jerome Bettis from the Rams helped too.

Seattle has relied much more on free agency. While their biggest move was the trade for Hasselbeck, their drafting hasn't been as productive, yielding 11 starters.

For all the talk about the Steelers ground game, they've ridden Ben Roethlisberger in the playoffs. I was surprised to read that Bettis has outrushed Parker in the postseason (137 to 132, 3.3 per carry to 2.8). The Seahawks have a better defense than they are given credit for, and if they can stop the run I wonder if they can pressure Roethlisberger into some mistakes. He's on a roll, but can he finish the job? Seattle's offense is playing very well and is more balanced, with the ability to grind out long drives or strike quickly. Seahawks will win.

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