by Robert Ferringo - 02/08/2006
For my final Ferringo Report of the 2005-06 season, I've decided to keep a running commentary for Super Bowl XL. Now, I have to warn you that I was pretty much a mess by the end of the game, so not all of my thoughts were completely coherent. But without further ado, here's Doc's Sports first ever Super Bowl blog:
4:40 p.m. - Greetings and salutations! We're going to get this shindig started with four reasons why my money is on Pittsburgh:
1) Seattle hasn't played anyone. Their two playoff wins were over teams running on fumes, their two signature regular season wins (Dallas and N.Y.) were in bizarre fashion, and their division was classically pathetic.
2) Football is a brutal, physical sport and the team that is more brutal and physical will win nine times out of ten. Today, that team is Pittsburgh.
3) My Big Game-Big Program Theory.
4) All of the quantitative data (Seattle is 1-6 ATS off a bye, Pittsburgh is 16-2 ATS on the road, etc) is on the Steelers side.
My prediction: 34-10.
5:32 p.m. - Two quick updates on my "SB Moments" and "SB Myths" stories this week. First, I can't believe that I left off the disastrous parachute race before Super Bowl IV. Any time something gets ripped apart by an angry mob, it should be on my list. My bad. Also, Steve Rushin's article in Sports Illustrated debunked the myth regarding the amount of people that actually watch the Super Bowl. Great work by Rushin, an award-winning writer, but I still feel ashamed for getting punked by Rebecca Lobo's wife.
5:54 p.m. - Have there ever been two worse "storylines" entering a Super Bowl than the pair we had this week: a safety rolling his ankle, and a bloodthirsty linebacker calling out an above-average tight end.
6:06 p.m. - I could write an entire story just about the eight-hour pregame debacle. But if I were to select certain items to bury in a time capsule to represent the buildup to Super Bowl XL, I would choose: Stu Scott's lazy eye, Mike Ditka's cliché book, Condoleezza Rice's boner, Indiana Jones' earring, and Stevie Wonder.
6:10 p.m. - Here are two last minute props for you:
Shots of Jerome Bettis' parents (-150) vs. shots of whiskey I do (+200)
Is John Madden wearing pants? No (+165); Yes (Even).
6:19 p.m. - Tom Brady just delivered the worst coin flip I've ever seen! Even worse than Sandra Day O'Conner's at the Rose Bowl this year. I mean, why is Brady there in the first place? I don't care how many Super Bowls he's won or supermodels he's banged, that was humiliating.
6:26 p.m. - I like it that Pittsburgh's defense is on the field to start the game. A basic tenet of video game football is that you'd rather get the ball after halftime. I think it translates to the Super Bowl. Also, I think it's easier to channel the nervous energy of a game like this on the defensive side of the ball.
6:30 p.m. - So much for the Steelers defense setting the tone. Seattle has come out firing, and has followed the script to a T. The best way to neutralize the blitz is short drops and quick reads.
6:38 p.m. - The only thing hotter than the Seahawks right now is Anheuser-Busch. They're 2-for-2 with their commercials thus far.
6:48 p.m. - Ike Taylor has a chance to make the first game-changing play, but somehow drops a sure interception. In the meantime, Darrell Jackson has is tied with Andre Reed for most first quarter receptions. Not a good omen to be mentioned in a sentence that connects "Buffalo" and "Super Bowl".
6:50 p.m. - And we have our first questionable call of the game. Seattle had a touchdown overturned because of, get this, an offensive pass interference call. Jackson definitely extended the arm as he pushed off, and it's the right call, but that's not something they've enforced consistently at any point his year. Seattle has to settle for three.
7:08 p.m. - Sloppy first quarter. This is why you don't have two weeks before the game. However, that would mean less time to hype the Lingerie Bowl.
7:08 p.m. - If Seattle loses, they're going to look back at their first few possessions and want to hang themselves. They're absolutely dominating right now, but haven't taken advantage of three Pittsburgh three-and-outs and great field position. That may fly against the 49ers, but not here.
7:10 p.m. - Tom Rouen is my early SB goat. He's had three chances to pin the Steelers and has kicked three touchbacks. None of them have even been close. It's such a subtle thing, but it could have a tremendous impact.
7:18 p.m. - Jerramy Stevens just dropped another pass. It's tough, but he's making Joey Porter look like he knew what he was talking about.
7:34 p.m. - Phenomenal play by Big Ben on 3rd-and-28. He stop just short of the line of scrimmage and heaved a "Why not?" ball to Hines Ward, who came down with it at the 3. Ridiculous play.
7:37 p.m. - This is four-down territory for sure. Bettis has been stopped twice, and I'm screaming for a run-pass option for Big Ben. They call an awkward looking keeper sweep, and it looked like Ben didn't get in. In fact, the official started running in to mark it for fourth down, and then suddenly tossed his arms up. Wait, did Frank Drebin sneak into the game as an official? I don't think this is going to hold up.
7:40 p.m. - We've Tivo'd Roethlisberger's run about 12 times in the last three minutes. And if you pause it at just the right time, the ball did break the plane. Barely. At first I didn't think he got it, but at this point I'll take what I can get.
7:48 p.m. - Hasselbeck just morphed into Donovan McNabb for the two-minute drill. Seriously, what the hell is Seattle doing? They got down to the Pittsburgh 36, burned about 30 seconds trying to get set, and looked so discombobulated that they actually confused the Steelers into calling a timeout. What is going on?
7:51 p.m. - Josh Brown barely missed a 54-yarder to end one of the most uneventful and sloppy first halves in Super Bowl history. I have no idea how the Steelers are winning this game.
7:53 p.m. - Mike Holmgren is still bitching about Roethlisberger's touchdown. Poor form. How about bitching at your defense for giving up a conversion on 3rd-and-28.
8:08 p.m. - It looks like a Rolling Stones cover band is playing halftime at the Super Bowl. There must've been a two-for-one sale on tight black pants, and this is just disgusting to watch. Mick sounds/looks awful and I think I see his diaper poking out. Keith is just mailing it in. What a safe, uninspired choice to put on a halftime show. In other words, it's perfect for this game.
How hard can it be to come up with an entertaining halftime show? I think that all future "performances" should include at least one of these three things:
1) A money drop and homeless people.
2) Any feat where the possibility of death or dismemberment is not only possible, but probable.
8:32 p.m. - Willie Parker just ended Seattle's season. His 75-yard touchdown run - sprung by a vicious block by Alan Faneca - puts Pittsburgh up 14-3. Now we'll see Holmgren and the Seahawks true colors. HUGE play, and I sense the floodgates opening.
8:44 p.m. - Shaun Alexander is running hard, but Seattle can't answer with points. Brown hooked a 50-yarder left and the Seahawks are on the ropes.
In the meantime, the Three B's - beer, bowls, and betting - have a firm grip on the crowd at this party. Things are escalating quickly, and a few rabid Steelers fans sense that they're on The Cusp. Everyone else is simply mesmerized by the Technicolor images. The women are bemused and fascinated at the men's primal reaction to something so trivial. The men are consumed by vice, and appear truly happy not to have to worry about the women.
8:52 p.m. - The vibrations have just turned menacing. I don't believe it. I just don't believe it. Pittsburgh had a 14-3 lead and the ball inside Seattle's 10-yard line. They were one score away from being coverlicious, and Roethlisberger threw a Horrible interception that Kelly Herndon almost took back for a touchdown. Ben had Cedrick Wilson wide open, but severely under threw the ball. That was awful, and all of a sudden I feel like I'm down 11 instead of up 11.
8:56 p.m. - It takes Hasselbeck all of 47 game seconds to capitalize. He hits Jerramy Stevens (go figure) for a 16-yard touchdown. Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a game and I think I'm going to be sick.
9:14 p.m. - Three consecutive three-and-outs and neither team wants to take control of this game. Pittsburgh had excellent field position, around midfield, but couldn't capitalize. And while Rouen didn't bring his "A-game", Chris Gardocki just pinned Seattle at its own 2. (Yes, the game has been that bad that we actually have to compare punters).
9:20 p.m. - Another questionable call has gone against Seattle, and it was a Huge One. Hasselbeck has guided Seattle on a masterful drive, but an 18-yard toss to Jerramy Stevens that would have given them first-and-goal at the 1 was just called back on an awful holding call. The other two calls were tough, but I thought they were correct. This one is just pathetic.
But I'll take it!
Now, every time that the officials throw a flag against Seattle My Buddy Rich (insane Steelers fan) throws his Terrible Towel in someone's face. Pretty funny stuff. Some people get irritated, but he's in such a lather no one dares say anything.
9:24 p.m. - The officials are definitely in Hasselbeck's head. He just threw a terrible interception, and then got hit with a 15-yard personal foul on the return. I can't stand that rule (about cutting out a blocker on the return). I remember that was called against Pittsburgh in a game earlier this year, I think it was at Baltimore, and I thought it was B.S. then. Funny that it's coming back to help them out now.
9:30 p.m. - This is exactly what I mean when I question Mike Holmgren as a coach. All week people have spoken ad nauseam about how the Steelers like to use trick plays. And 99 times out of 100 those trick plays involve Antwaan Randle El and/or Hines Ward. So what happens, they get beat for a touchdown on a wide receiver option pass - Twan to Hines. I mean, I must've seen that play run three times this year by Pittsburgh. It's not like they had to dig deep into the playbook for that one.
9:48 p.m. - OK, way too drunk and nervous to keep writing. Seattle got a gift when an apparent Hasselbeck fumble is overturned. However, they don't get any points. Pittsburgh is now doing what it does best - pounding.
Oh, and that terrible personal foul for a "low block" went against the Steelers in their game against Indianapolis during the regular season. Right before halftime. It was actually a key play in that game.
9:54 p.m. - Uh-oh.
This is exactly the type of ridiculous scenario that everyone feared: Seattle is obviously not going to win, but only has to go 80 yards two-minutes against a prevent defense to get a touchdown. If they do, they'll have to go for two, and that one conversion will determine the fate of millions of dollars bet on this game around the world. Unreal.
9:56 p.m. - Do you think that Joe Jurevicius is this much of a hero in just his day-to-day life? Is he the guy that always remembers extra beer and ice? Is he somehow The Guy that just happens to show up and help you with a flat tire? If I ever get on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? he is definitely going to be one of my lifelines. The guy is just clutch (even though he's killing me right now) and is always Johnny on the Spot.
9:58 p.m. - Seriously, it is McNabb! It just took Seattle nearly a minute to run two plays. If they were smart, they would try to get about 15 more yards, kick the field goal and try their chances on the onsides kick. I've talked about it before in the Ferringo Report, but apparently no NFL coaches agree with this logic.
10:05 p.m. - There it is!!! Cover City Boys!!! Hasselbeck's pass to Stevens hits the ground, and the Steelers take over. Ben kneels it out, and we survive another one.
"Victory puts us on a level with Heaven"
- Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, c. 57 B.C.
(I've been waiting all day to type that).
Man, what a weak game. If it weren't for that late-game gambling tension, I would have thought this Super Bowl sucked. But hey, the Steelers won and I'm happy for them. I've watched football at Rich's every Sunday for the past two years, so I've seen Pittsburgh enough to know that they deserve it. I debated all week on whether or not to risk my whole stack on them, but then decided against it. Even though I won my bet, I'm glad I didn't bet it all because it turned out to be a much closer game then I thought.
Alright. I can barely see straight, much less edit this nonsense. I love you all, I hate Jared from Subway, and if I'm less than two hours late to work tomorrow it will be an Act of God.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his Insider Page here.