Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm getting a bad feeling about Super Bowl XLV

I'm getting a bad feeling about this Super Bowl. I have the feeling the Steelers are going to do it for the 7th time. Why? Two words: Ben Roethlisberger. The guy is a past-master of stealing games in the final two minutes of play. I have said this over and over again on this blog and in other venues.

Big Ben hasn't done this once, twice or three times. He does this relentlessly, game in and game out, for several years now. Elway's astounding record for two-minute victory drives is going to be in considerable jeopardy if Roethlisberger stays in the league for another 6-8 years.

He is a clutch guy. Roethlisburger is certainly more of killer-clutch guy than Peyton Manning. I believe he is more clutch than Tom Brady. Michigan men may want to dispute that, but I think it is true. I also believe he is more clutch than Joe Montana. The only guy I rank ahead of Roethlisburger is John Elway. I put Roethlisburger in a tie with Roger Staubach. Only Elway is more clutch than Roethlisberger. Incidentally, Montana was not more clutch than Elway. He wasn't more clutch that Staubach either. Allegations to the contrary are pure mythological bullshit. I saw the totality of both their careers. I know.

Roethlisberger is just too damn clutch. I was reminded of this fact (once again) when I got home last night. The NFL Network was showing a replay of the 2009 meeting between the Packers and Steelers in Pittsburgh. How did it end? With a last-second touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace in the end zone. The Steelers stole that one.

Do I need to remind anybody of what Roethlisberger did to the Ravens in this playoff tournament?

The moral of this story is clear: If the game is close in the final moments, Roethlisberger will win the game for the Steelers. We don't expect most QBs in the league to complete the two-minute drive at the end of the game. Most can't. In Ben's case, we do expect him to complete the drive. At this point in NFL history, there is no worse feeling than having a 4 point lead on the Steelers with 1:34 left go, and Steelers in possession of the ball on their own 30. You are sitting on sharp nails if that is your present situation.

I was actually shocked in 2010 when the Jets prevented Roethlisberger from completing a two-minute comeback drive at the end of their regular season game. I thought Ben was going to do it. My instant reaction was "Damn! Rex is an amazing defensive mind! How did he pull that off?" In most cases, I would be shocked if the QB did pull it off. I would be pissed at the DC if his unit gave up the game-winning drive.

I would much rather see the Packers win the game. If the Steelers win their 7th, it would add greatly to my dismay in life. Still, if you let these guys hang around, they will beat you.

How can the Packers win? I'll tell you how. You must deal with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in precisely the way teams dealt with the young John Elway and the Broncos in the Super Bowl. You have to put them down hard and fast. You slam them right down on the turf and blow their brains out by three scores. You need to blow them out. You can't just beat them. You cannot allow the game to be close. You have to turn on the afterburner full-blast and never shut it down. You must maintain a 3 score lead at all times in the second half. In this situation, the two-minute drill only shortens the margin of victory.

The Patriots certainly blew out the Steelers in precisely this fashion. This is the blue-print for a Packer victory. You can't expect to beat them by four. You have to beat them by 17 or more.

Can this happen in SB XLV? I doubt it. If anyone has the firepower to blow the Steelers it is the Packers, but let's remember, that stellar Packer offense will be facing the #1 ranked scoring defense in the league. I doubt the Steelers will yield that many points. This one is for all the marbles. I doubt the Steelers will lay an egg as they did against the Patriots.

Memo to McCarthy: Open up the playbook. Hit them with the kitchen sink. Make every drive furious. Be aggressive as hell in your play-calling. Score throughout the entire game. Turn on the afterburners full-blast, and keep them on all-game long. Don't shut down the offense. No goose-egg quarters. Try to score on every drive and every play. Don't ever shut it down. You're guys need to chop wood all game long.