Who Are The Favorites In Super Bowl???

Unlike myself, my brother Rob is a sports genius and so does not pick his Superbowl favorites by deciding which uniform he likes best. He is enrolled at the New England School of Communications in Bangor, Maine where he writes a weekly sports column for their campus newspaper. Here is his piece for next week’s paper:

Who Are The Favorites In Super Bowl???

When I awoke this morning from my long night’s slumber, I found I had a
strange smile splashed on my face, and I felt as though I spent the entire
night dreaming that I had just won the lottery. When I checked the morning
paper I realized it was not a dream: Bill Cowher’s Pittsburgh Steelers
really were 4 point favorites in the Super Bowl. I was but one visit to an
off shore gambling site away from riches! I think I see Las Vegas’ logic
here. Being the best team in the NFC is kind of like beating Jessica
Simpson in Jeopardy, but getting 4 points from a Bill Cowher coached team in
a big game is like stealing. I think I’ll dig a little deeper and try to
look at this objectively before I put the college fund down on Mike
Holmgren’s Seattle Seahawks.

Let’s start with the glamour position, the quarterbacks. Pittsburgh’s Ben
Roethlisberger seems to have arrived in his second season. He has erased
his nightmarish performance in last year’s title game and put the Steelers on
his back this postseason, with 7 touchdowns 1 interception and a league
leading 124.8 passer rating. On the other side Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck
has transformed himself into a star with very little fanfare. This
postseason he has thrown for 3 touchdowns has yet to throw an interception
while posting a 109.6 passer rating in one fewer game then Big Ben. Let’s
call the quarterbacks a draw.

The running back position is one of the two spots where I believe the
Seahawks have a decided advantage. With current NFL MVP Shaun Alexander
shaking off a concussion to have a monster game against the Carolina
Panthers last week, the Steelers should be very worried. Alexander will be
by far the best player on the field on Sunday, with the ability to win the
game all by himself. Looking at the other side, the Steelers bring a pair
of running backs to the party, who combined are not even close to Alexander.

Neither Willy Parker or Jerome Bettis are averaging even 50 yards per game
in the playoffs, and both seem to have caught fumble-itis at the worst
possible time for the Steelers. If I hear one more person say, “Hall of
Famer,” Jerome Bettis I may be sick. Longevity does not a Hall of Famer
make. The only way Bettis should get in to the Hall of Fame is if he buys a
ticket. Memo to Steeler fans, that was Bettis who nearly fumbled your
season away on the goal line in Indianapolis two weeks ago.

The offensive line advantage goes to Seattle as well. While Pittsburgh has
a decent line this group from Seattle is the best kept secret in the NFL.
America, introduce yourself to Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Robbie
Tobeck, Chris Grey, and Sean Locklear. These are the anchors of the NFL’s
second most productive offense this season averaging 28.3 points per game.
The most glaring and overlooked mismatch of Super Bowl XL is in the Head
Coaching. Sorry Steeler fans but with Bill Cowher against Mike Holmgren
you’re bringing a knife to a gun fight. Since the AFC Championship game
began after the merger in 1970 there have been twelve instances where a team
was favored and playing at home has lost. Do you know who coached 4 of
those twelve teams? You guessed it, Bill Cowher. Mike Holmgren on the
other hand sports a modest 1-1 record in NFC Conference Championship games,
and has a Super Bowl win on his resume.

Even if you give Pittsburgh a slight advantage on defense, the only big
advantage they’ll enjoy in this game might be there fans. With probably the
widest fan base in the NFL the Steeler’s will likely have about 70% of the
crowd in Detroit rooting for them, thus making it like a home playoff game
for them. Given Bill Cowher’s record in home Championship games though, he
might want to start passing out those foam, “Seahawks #1,” hands now!
The Pick: Seahawks 27 Steelers 17

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