So I’m trying to think of what to say about the conference championship games – both of which we predicted correctly, just for the record, both straight-up and against the spread – and here are some postgame points. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
*That Pittsburgh D is serious. James Harrison may have won defensive player of the year honors, but Lamarr Woodley is almost as good, and when Troy Polamalu gets going, he’s a difference maker. Polamalu is a little more hit-and-miss than Ed Reed, but Polamalu definitely can change things. His interception return was a great, great play.
*Santonio Holmes is coming of age, and he gives the Pittsburgh offense a dimension it hasn’t had in a long time. Holmes had one big touchdown and should have had another, if not for an indecipherable replay review.
*Terrell Suggs was a man, playing with an injured shoulder and having two sacks.
*When Willis McGahee got hurt, I couldn’t help but think back to the national championship game in which he blew out his knee. That dude deserves better luck.
*Joe Flacco is going to be just fine. Yes, he had a below-average game Sunday. But the guy’s a rookie, and he’s a lot further along than anyone expected at this point. He got further than Roethlisberger did in his first playoff run. I think those two guys will end up being pretty good comparisons for each other by the end of their careers.
*Pittsburgh played a murderous schedule this year, and the fact that they put up the record they did and have now advanced to the Super Bowl shows that this was the best team in the league this year. They may not be the best team Feb. 1, but they have been the most consistent performer in the league.
*Mike Tomlin is the truth. He just had better be ready for revenge of Ken Whisenhunt stories for the next two weeks
*The Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. I had to say that out loud at least 5 times yesterday just to get it through my thick skull.
*Larry Fitzgerald is a superstar. He’ll be the guy who is the media darling this year. And he deserves it.
*Kurt Warner is a good quarterback and a better leader. Name me another quarterback who could have won the starting job in the last week of the preseason and taken this team through highs and lows like he has. I’m still not sure he’ll end up in the Hall of Fame, but he deserves to be remembered as a great one.
*Ken Whisenhunt is a really good coach. Arizona finally got that part of the equation right.
*The Cardinals defense isn’t consistent game to game or even quarter to quarter, but there is some serious talent there. I’d put Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby, Adrian Wilson, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the top of that list.
*Donovan McNabb is still really good. He bounced back from a pitiful first half to lead his team back to the lead. One of the great what-ifs of this decade will be what McNabb could have done if he had ever had top-level receivers. Imagine McNabb in Minnesota with Randy Moss and Cris Carter. Or in Arizona with Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Heck, even in Houston with Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter. The Eagles haven’t served him well in that area.
*Speaking of that, picking a wide receiver third overall is a good thing. Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, and maybe Michael Crabtree this year. But that’s a research project for later.
*Good for Edgerrin James, who missed out when the Colts finally made the big game but now gets his shot. He’s earned it, too, with his play in the postseason.
We’ll start up Super Bowl coverage in the next few days. We have big ideas and big plans, so stay tuned.