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Spilled Milk and Skinned Knees

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Defense will win the Superbowl

As I recall, the last time we spoke I was crippled with a  state of fear and confusion. My voice was far from steady and my knees were as straight as the annual parades in New York that are filled with rainbows and happiness. I was searching for an answer to my problems at quarterback because I was unsure of the state of my current one. However, a hero did rise and reclaim is place on the throne. Yes, I’m talking about Ben Roethlisberger. He suffered a concussion in the final game of the season as he, and the Pittsburgh Steelers headed into the playoffs.

Let’s start with the Wild Card games. In the NFC the Eagles came into Minnesota and took down the Vikings while the home team underdogs in Arizona dethroned rookie of the year Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Meanwhile the Chargers rode the short legs of Darren Sproles right over the Colts, and Ed Reed single-handedly dismantled Chad Pennington and the Dolphins. The first three divisional games all had shared something in common—all the home teams had lost. So the Ravens beat the first place Titans, the Cardinals came out of nowhere and murdered the Panthers, and the Eagles even took down the defending champions, the New York Giants.

One game had remained in the divisional round and it wasn’t looking good for the home teams. However, what most people had failed to realize was that the home team in this last game was my Steelers, and of course, the best defensive team in the entire league. Four teams remain, Cardinals and the Eagles in the NFC, and the Steelers and the Ravens in the AFC.

The Cardinals and the Ravens were two teams who were literally on fire, surprising teams every week, making plays and winning games. The Cardinals outlasted the Eagles and continue their storybook season by making it to their first Superbowl in franchise history. As for the Ravens, I don’t discredit their hot spark in the playoffs one bit, they surprised good teams and won. They played the Titans, who respectively had the third best defense in the league and won. But they didn’t play the best defense in the league and it showed when they lost to it for the third time this season.

Now it comes to the last two teams, the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. All of my so-called friends have no problem jumping at the chance to tell me how Larry Fitzgerald is going to torch my defense for a few touchdowns and how the Cardinals are going to win. I have a different story.

The characters in my story are called Troy Polamalu, Lamaar Woodley, James Harrison, James Farrior, and Ryan Clark, who sent Ravens RB Willis McGahee to the hospital last week. Kurt Warner will be too busy worrying about the defensive player of the year Harrison coming in for the sack and he’ll forget about the sack machine Woodley coming in on the other side. While he’s doing that he’ll have a hard time accounting for linebacker James Farrior and Polamalu. Just getting a pass off against this defense is going to be a feat in itself. Kurt has had a tremendous season this year but like I said about the Ravens, he hasn’t played against the best defense yet and you’ll definitely see that in the Superbowl.

Roethlisberger will once again prove all my friends wrong when he manages the football game with the help of his legs to scramble out of the pocket to hit a healthy Hines Ward, or maybe even an explosive Santonio Holmes. Forget about the dynamic combo of Boldin and L-Fitz—yeah, they are good, really good even, but I can’t stress enough how they haven’t played against the best defense in the league!!!!

Willie Parker is healthy and the Cards run defense is nowhere near making headlines so you can expect a diverse selection of play calling from the Steelers in order to set up for Roethlisberger, and the pass.

Maybe I’m saying these things because I’m a Pennsylvania native, or because I love the Steelers, or maybe I’m just saying it because it’s all true. Defense wins championships. It’s been said before, and I can guarantee that it will be said again after February 1st. The final score will show about the time this goes to the printer so once you read this, if you have anything to say, you can find me standing in black and gold saying, “I told you so.”

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Dustin Gannon Dustin Gannon says he's a writer because his mama owns a newspaper. At all other times, he's a sportsman, writing both the Sno Biz column, when he's working at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the wintertime, and Fore! Play, when he's working at the Coeur d'Alene Resort golf course during the summer.

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