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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

February 2, 2009


Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers and all their many fans, including the one writing the column – hoorah! To celebrate — or at least to kill time until my first caffeine rush of the year wears off (the Super Bowl counts as an acceptable pause of my new year's resolution), here's 27 Super Bowl points that are floating around my head as the TV credits roll...

Quarterback Notes:

• Was that the greatest Super Bowl ever? I couldn't say for sure (and it might be a fairly biased opinion anyway), but Kurt Warner's been in three of my greatest six. That's got to count for something, even if he's only won one of them.

• After 377 yards, 3 TDs, and a 13–point comeback for Warner, and a clutch final drive by Roethlisberger to win his second, both of them might have reserved their seats for Canton.

• I'll admit, I've remained largely oblivious to the rapidity of young Roethlisberger's 'comeback' count during his short career, but after this one, he has my attention. Nice that the other no.7–wearing comeback king, Elway, was there for it.

• Yesterday I wrote that the key to the game would be Blitzburgh parting Warner from the ball. They left it a little late, but they got there.


• If you told me 50 points would be scored in this game, I'd have taken the Cardinals to win for sure.
• 8 catches for Boldin, 7 catches for Fitzgerald, 6 for Breaston. Ditto.
• And Ben Roethlisberger throwing 30 times would be the trifecta.

Officials and Officiating:

• Not a great Super Bowl for officiating. Not terrible, but not the standard we expect in the big game, and even though I agree that was a Warner fumble with five seconds as far as the spirit of the law is concerned, they could have taken a moment to study it, if they really care about the letter of the law. I'd have granted Warner one last fling.

• Thank the Lord we had a good view from two angles when it came to Santonio Holmes' feet on that final touchdown. The clarity of that Super Bowl moment outshone some of the muddier moments of officiating.

Players Who Came to Play:

• After all the fuss about Fitzgerald, Boldin and Breaston, Holmes was more than worthy of the MVP.
• Even in a losing effort, Dominique Rodgers–Cromartie was astonishing again. How was he not NFL Rookie of the Year?
• James Harrison's 100–yard score before the half: once again, the Steelers showed with that play that when it comes to the ball–carrier gathering a convoy around them, the Steelers are the best in the league. The way the Steelers block for each other has been one of their defining features all year, on both offense and defense. It's what you might call 'championship hustle'.

Trophy Stuff:

• After a year with so many distractions about the ongoing ownership by the Rooney family, I'm really so happy for Dan Rooney (who's beginning to look more than a little frail).

• Is it just me, or does Roger Goodell seem the most wooden commissioner in major league sports. Paul Tagliabue wasn't exactly going to swing from the chandeliers at the Christmas party either, but he managed at least some genial conviviality when he handed over the trophy. Maybe Goodell was still pre–occupied with the penalty Santonio Holmes should have got for celebrating the winning touchdown (well done refs for NOT calling that one).

• Joe Namath's fingerprints were all over this Super Bowl trophy — and I don't mean figuratively. Any chance the person presenting the trophy could wear some velvet gloves next year. That would also give them the chance of a last minute wipe–over so that the Lombardi Trophy isn't caked in smudges before it even reaches the owner.

'Going Forward':

• If the Cardinals want to turn this year into the first of a new era, they have to re–sign Warner to a two–year contract.

• On the basis of defensive improvements alone, this postseason shouldn't become a one year aberration for the Cardinals franchise.

• Now that a 36 year old coach has won the Super Bowl, and in only his second year, how do you suppose that shifts the market value of Shanahan, Billick, Cowher et al?

• Even as winners, the Steelers still have to do something about that short–yardage running game. It cost them a touchdown at one end, a safety and possession at the other. It's rare to talk of a Super Bowl champion as having a glaring need, but that's one right there.

Oddities and Miscellanea:

• Taking Mike Tomlin over Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm? Wow, do the Rooneys ever know a Super Bowl winning coach when they see one. I wasn't even born the last time they had a head coach who didn't win at least one Super Bowl.

• Before the game, Cardinals fans were talking about 'Hell freezing over' (as in 'Hell will freeze over before the Cardinals win a Super Bowl'). Some time during the second half of the game, my Dorset garden got coated in snow, which is only slightly less unlikely. A tenuous connection, you might think, but as omens go, I didn't believe that 20–7 lead was safe for a moment.

• Rod Woodson and Jerry Rice as the star guests for BBC and Sky coverage respectively. I'm impressed.

• Congrats to the camera person who picked Cuba Gooding Jr out of the crowd. Until this year, Rod Tidwell might have remained the Cardinals' most famous wide receiver, the same way Hercule Poirot is the most famous Belgian of all time.

• I'm no Springsteen fan, but he fitted the Super Bowl halftime show like a glove. The Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney are fine, but the most American of sports deserves an American act at its center.

• Steelers football 'is never going to be pretty' said Mike Tomlin after the game. Ah, so true. But it suits me. Once upon a time, I was a Rams fan — right up until they won the Super Bowl. But when they landed a title with fleet–footed grace and not much defense, I somehow knew they were no longer the team for me; I prefer my football messy, and defected to the Steelers the very next season. You can imagine my relief now that the Steelers have triumphed over Kurt Warner.

• The Steelers' six Super Bowl victories are more than any other team, including the Cowboys. (This fact dedicated to Dallas fan and fellow columnist Sean L Chaplin.)

• Here's to you, Pottsville Maroons!


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