An ingenius online prognosticator named Answer Man says that we can tell that Pittsburgh will beat Arizona just by looking at them. He's been amazingly accurate up 'til now, though he doesn't provide a spread in this column. It's time for my prediction for the game:
SUPER BOWL JOE'S... FIRST EVER... SUPER BOWL PICK!
First Half: Pittsburgh runs the hell out of the ball, and we all remember that the Arizona defense isn't actually that good. Even the Arizona defense remember this. "Holy crap, we're not actually that good!" they'll be thinking. You'll be able to see it in their body language every time Willie Parker breaks off another 8-yard run. Meanwhile, the Steeler secondary blankets Larry Fitzgerald with double-teams and bumps off the line. Kurt Warner picked off at least once. Ben Roethlisburger also picked off at least once, setting up the short field that gives Zona its only TD of the half. Steelers up 21-10 at the break.
Halftime: Bruce Springsteen is awesome. Remember those teen-pop medleys that they used to have? Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, anyone? Britney Spears and Aerosmith? No, I don't remember that either, thank God.
Commercials: Some previously unheard-of internet service company will do a completely offensive ad that vaults them to stardom. Pepsi's new beach ball logo will be so ubiquitous that I'll start seeing it in my dreams. Bud Light will do one ad that's not funny (possibly involving Carlos Mencia, though Dane Cook is a distinct possibility), one sappy Clydesdale's ad commemorating the firefighters of Sept. 11 or something, and one hilarious ad that I'll be like, "and then there was this Bud Light ad, and it was funny!" at parties while people look at me cock-eyed... and this will be, like, five years from now that I'll be doing this. There's always one Bud Light ad that's killer. Put it in the bank.
Second Half: Right off the bat, Parker takes a 50-yard gallop to the house. It's 28-10. The highlight crew starts doing Super Bowl flashbacks to the greatest blowouts of all time. 49ers over Broncos, anyone? Bears over Patriots? Cowboys over Bills? Then, with Arizona's miracle season on the ropes, and the Steelers driving, Big Ben throws an absolute melon of an interception to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who returns it at least 95 yards for a touchdown. Pittsburgh punts. Fitzgerald makes a ridiculous Super Bowl highlight-reel touchdown grab of 30-yards plus that they'll play on NFL Films for the rest of time. 28-24! Everyone starts thinking it's the Cardinals' year after all! Then Pittsburgh puts together one of those "hey, remember us? we're the Steelers" 18-play, 8 minute drives that features at least five third down conversions and at least one big-play wide receiver option passes that Arizona probably should have seen coming because Ken Whisenhunt used to run that same play when he was Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator. The drive ends in a 20-yard field goal, as all 18-play drives do. Now it's 31-24 with 3 minutes to go and Zona needs a TD. Warner gamely races the Cardinals down the field as time winds down. They get to about the 30. At this point the TV coverage will flash back to some boneheaded Cardinal screw-up that could've gotten/saved them points that would allow them to kick a tying field goal right now. But they can't! And on fourth down, Warner gets picked. STEELERS WIN, 31-24! Big Ben gets MVP despite throwing for less than 200 yards and more INTs than touchdowns. Years later, he'll be included in the "which Super MVP was least deserving" discussion, though he'll never be able to top Larry Brown. The Steelers, delighted by their Super triumph, mail in an 8-8 2009 campaign and finish third in the division to Cleveland, while the Cards stumble to 6-10 next year (0-10 outside of the NFC West), change their uniforms to become even more bizarre -- probably, the "bib" look that's sweeping college football will be involved -- and are never heard from again.
That's what Super Bowl Joe says will happen. Let the game begin.