Doggone! We’ve jumped to dark side fave

Jan 31, 2006 6:01 AM

What could I possibly point out to you about Super XL that you haven’t already heard or read over the last 10 days? Blah, blah, blah, blah blah!

There’s a ton of Super Bowl baloney being sliced up and dished out from the Motor City. Truth be told, there’s not much more I can add to the hype. I can tell you who’s going to win the game, and cover the point spread. Even though I’ve beat the spread in each of the last 4 Super Bowls, you might want to heavily consider making your mortgage payment prior to betting my selection.

STEELERS -4

After sifting through a season worth of stats, there’s just so many you can analyze before going completely bonkers. Certainly I’ve always used statistics as a way of measuring the various aspects of games. I’m not ashamed to admit my decision comes down to a gut check once all has been digested. A feel for the game is what it’s all about prior to plunking down any hard earned cash.

Like the old song says, "It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing." In football language, your pick doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t feel that swing. And what I’ve felt for the last 10 days is a strong feeling that momentum is swinging on the side of Pittsburgh.

Dogs be damned! Denny The Dog is forsaking his own kind. Hey, the favorites covered the point spread at nearly a 60 percent pace over the course of the regular season. It makes perfect sense to me that this type of season would be capped off by a favorite covering the number.

The faves have been coming in waves all year. Why not end it with a Steelers tsumani? But lets face the facts. If you wanted to, a strong case can be made for either teams in Detroit.

The Seahawks are an impressive NFC champ. Throw out the meaningless last regular season game loss to Green Bay and Seattle has been undefeated since Week 4. Their 12th man was very impressive in Seattle where they didn’t lose a game. Shaun Alexander was the MVP and he lived up to the hype. He’s a free agent at the end of the season and has earned the right to name his own team and write his own check.

Hasselbeck finally blossomed. Matt matured all season long and culminated it by throwing one touchdown versus the Skins and two more for good measure against the Panthers. The Seahawks defense (probably the most underrated in the NFL) shut down Clinton Portis to 41 yards and then knocked Goings out of consciousness and into Neverland in their second playoff game.

The Seahawks are for real, but they’re going up against one of the toughest and most resilient teams I’ve witnessed in recent years. On paper, the Steelers might not be four points better than the Seahawks. But when you start looking at the intangibles, the Steelers stock starts rising.

I’m not quite sure exactly what gives Pittsburgh the edge, but it might have something to do with Bill Cowher’s uniquely shaped chin and spit that flows so easily over. He’s one tough guy and so is his team. I’m not sure Hasselbeck will be ready for the fire zone blitzes.

Dick Lebeau designs the scheme and Troy Palamalu provides the firepower to effectively pressure the QB. Opposing offenses really never know what position he will line up in, which angle he will blitz from or what area he might end up covering.

Ben Roethlisberger has been nothing short of sensational. He appeared in an AFC championship game in his rookie season. Big Ben followed that up by leading his team to the promised land in just his second year! Seven touchdown passes in three road playoff games with only one intereception. Does it get any better?

Big Ben is very mobile for a large man and has quicker feet than you would think. Bettis receives all the press for the nimble toes, but the real big man with the quick feet is Big Ben. I think John Madden called it escapability.

Ben can spread the ball around with the best of the QBs in the league. The second playoff game versus the Colts might have been the best example. I don’t think the Colts knew where the ball was going to end up as Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Randle El and Willie Parker all ended up with three catches apiece.

The Steelers offer two completely different running styles to offset the great Seahawks running game. Pittsburgh features Willie Parker when they need a burst of speed or big reception out of the backfield. However, on third and short The Bus, Jerome Bettis, runs over people like a drug-crazed bus driver.

All stats and truth be told, these two team aren’t that far apart. But I get a much stronger feeling that Pittsburgh will win this game and cover the 4. Bottom line is Pittsburgh’s running game is a little more diversified with a 1-2 punch. I’m giving an edge to Roethlisberger over Hasselbeck. He’s guided his team on an unprecedented three-game road trip to the Super Bowl. No team has defeated the No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds in the history of the league.

If you can answer these two questions, you have the winner. Who will shut down the run best? Who will pressure the quarterback more? My answer to both questions is the Steelers.

Why? Because they’ve done both in three of the roughest places to play football on consecutive weekends!

Yes, The Dog deserts the dawg in the grand finale and comes over to the dark side. I’m putting my four straight Super Bowl win streak on the line with the favorite.