2009 Super Bowl Edge Goes To…

Taliesin West, 1937

The Steelers.  They have the best defense.  Or maybe the Cardinals who have the better offense.  I don’t know.  So, I thought I would put the teams to a mostly non-football comparison.  I’ll look at politics, mascots, wine, film and other categories to help me determine which team has the edge.

POLITICS:  Arlen Specter vs. John McCain.  Both Republican Senators.  I used to like Arlen Specter until he went on a crusade to bring down Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots during the infamous Spygate investigation.  Hey Arlen, Eagles fans and players out there still sore over losing to the Pats in Super Bowl 39;  get over it!

Surprisingly, or maybe not so, according to Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, as posted by John Christopher of the Political Machine,  John McCain ditched Barack Obama’s Super Bowl party declining a White House invitation, but I’ll cut him some slack, because, unlike Specter, he’s not a sore loser.  I didn’t vote for McCain, but I like him – he’s a class act.  By the way, Specter will be at the party even though he’s not a Steelers fan.  Check out the guest list.  Edge – Cardinals

CITY:  Pittsburgh is, Arizona isn’t.  In fact, no team named after a state has ever won a Super Bowl with the exception of New York, which in my view is a dual reference to the city and state, and Washington, which of course is a reference to DC and not the state.  Minnesota, Tennessee and Carolina have all been on the losing end.   Edge – Steelers

MASCOT:  Unless a flock of Cardinals were to rain down on a group of Steelers as in Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds, I’d have to say a Steeler is a bit more imposing.  Edge – Steelers

WINE:   Pennsylvania has over 100 wineries and 14,000 acres of grapes to Arizona’s 35 Wineries and 500 acres of wine grape production.  To be fair, a good chunk of Pennsylvania acreage is devoted to the production of grape juice, not wine.  I can’t attest to the quality of wines produced in these states,  but I would guess (and I’m sure I’ll get some flack for saying this) that wines from Arizona are of superior quality given 1) the proximity to California and 2) that Gary Vaynerchuck featured 4 wines from the state on episode #536 of his Internet wine tasting show.  Edge – Cardinals

FILM:  There have been some great films either set or shot in Pittsburgh including The Deer Hunter and Ground Hog Day.  And the same is true of Arizona with Little Miss Sunshine and Psycho.  If I were to compare these films, I don’t think I could determine a winner.  They are all brilliant.  After the two Arizona based films, there’s not much going on in the state by way of film tradition, ok – Raising Arizona and Bad Santa, if you must.  Whereas, in addition to the two films mentioned, there is a long list of Pittsburgh based films including, Lorenzo’s Oil, All The Right Moves and the Wonderboys.  Edge – Steelers

ARCHITECT:  Frank Lloyd Wright.  America’s greatest architect.  Born in Wisconsin, Wright lived in Arizona for the last 20 years of his life.  Two of his most notable designs are situated in Arizona and Pennsylvania respectively: Taliesin West, pictured at the top of this post, which became his winter home, and Fallingwater, Fallingwater, 1935a stunning house of incomparable beauty.  One of my favorites is the Gammage Auditorium Gammage Auditorium, 1964on the campus of Arizona State University. Edge – Arizona

MUSICIANS:  On the AZ side, Charles Mingus, Linda Ronstadt and 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.  On the PA side, Marian Anderson, Perry Como, Hall and Oates, The Dorsey brothers, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Stan Getz and Keith Jarrett.  Edge – Pittsburgh

QUARTERBACKS:  Both Roethlisberger and Warner have won a Super Bowl: Warner with the St. Louis Rams in 2000 and Roethlisberger with the Steelers in 2006.  Warner also guided the Rams to a loss in the 2003 Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.  Warner has the luxury of throwing to the best receiver in the game in Larry Fitzgerald, who, incidentally, attended college at Pitt.  Roethlisberger is tough and unflappable, and has some decent receivers, but can’t be expected to bring the team back from a early deficit.  Pittsburgh is 20th in the league in scoring; Arizona, 3rd best. True, Pittsburgh has the best defense in the league, but can they contain Fitzgerald? If they can’t – Edge:  Cardinals

Arizona CardinalsPittsburg Steelers

KEYS TO THE GAME:  If the Steeler defense can rough up the Cardinal receivers a la the New England Patriots strategy in their 2003 Super Bowl win over the Warner led Rams, they could win the game in a low scoring defensive battle.  Arizona needs to get out to a big lead early and try to hang on, keeping relentless pressure on Roethlisberger.

SUMMARY/PREDICTION:  While Arizona has a political, architectural, winemaking and offensive advantage, Pittsburgh is the favorite based on film production, musicality, mascot, city comparison and defense.  Super Bowl 44 won’t be the most exciting game ever played, but should be a good game.  I predict a low scoring affair in which the Steeler defense dominates.  Pittsburgh wins 17-10.

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