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03 Feb 2006

Super Bowl XL Preview

DVOA Preview by Aaron Schatz, with additional analysis by Michael David Smith
Rundown by Mike Tanier
Key matchups by Michael David Smith

This year's Super Bowl preview is available on FOXSports.com. Don't worry, it is the same complex FO preview you know and love. Even the colorful week-to-week DVOA charts are there -- in fact, this week you get four of them, as each team is separated into offense and defense.

No, I have no idea what the FOXSports.com headline "BARELY THERE" is referring to.

Also up is Mike Tanier's Super Bowl XL Rundown -- a different view of the game, with fewer numbers and more jokes. (After re-reading this, I realize I was low on the jokes this week. I think the well has dried up.) Mike and I agree that this one is a close matchup, but we disagree on which team should be the favorite.

But wait, there's more! If you order now, we'll also include this revolutionary Michael David Smith look at key matchups absolutely free! So sharp, you can cut a tin can with it, plus it makes delicious omlettes.

The article on FOXSports.com doesn't have total DVOA ratings, just splits by unit, so for those curious, here they are, through the postseason and not including Seattle's meaningless Week 17 game:

PIT: TOTAL 33.9% (3), WEIGHTED DVOA 39.2% (2)
SEA: TOTAL 34.7% (2), WEIGHTED DVOA 43.1% (1)


(The Jacksonville game finally goes bye-bye from the weighted formula just in time for the Super Bowl, which is why Pittsburgh's WEIGHTED DVOA is much greater than TOTAL DVOA with all quarterbacks, but about the same without the Ben-less games.)

A note on context: one paragraph in the preview is a direct rebuttal to the WhatIfSports.com Super Bowl simulation that has Willie Parker gaining 146 yards on 14 carries, including two runs over 40 yards and two runs of 16 yards. Here's the paragraph again:

People just do not understand how good Seattle's run defense is. The Seahawks only gave up two runs over 40 yards all season. They only gave up 10 runs over 15 yards — and that includes scrambles by Michael Vick and Mark Brunell, plus an end-around by Jacksonville receiver Matt Jones. Over the past two months, the Seahawks have allowed just two runs of more than 11 yards, both of which came in the fourth quarter of games that Seattle was winning by at least three touchdowns. By the way, Parker ran for more than 15 yards only 12 times this year, including the postseason.

I understand why FOX edited out the sentence criticizing another article on the site, but I wanted to make it clear to you guys just why I talked about runs against Seattle for 16+ and 40+ yards. I have no complaint about the result of the simulation -- Pittsburgh winning by a field goal -- because I do think the game is close to an even matchup that either team could win. But Seattle has only given up seven running back carries over 15 yards all season, and now Parker is supposed to get four in one game? That's silly.

This weekend we'll have up a link to in-game discussion of the Super Bowl, for those of you who aren't going to a massive Super Bowl party with a bunch of people who aren't sure how many yards you need to get a first down.

One more thing which has nothing to do with the Super Bowl: I forgot to stick the voting for the first-ever inductees to the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame on the FO 2006 Awards ballot (see big blue banner above). We're going to stick that onto the free agents contest page (coming next week) instead.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Feb 2006

208 comments, Last at 08 Feb 2006, 12:11pm by JMM


by Josh (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:57am

Great preview, after almost 2 weeks I'm now psyched for the Super Bowl, should be a great matchup

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:12am

If I apologize to all the Redskins fans, will that stave off the apocalypse for one more game? Please?

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:12am

Oh yeah trveling about 200miles to watch the game with my best freind. This is as good a matchup as i can remember and I am excited. I fell both teams are very deserving.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:32am

So Roethlisberger on 3rd down reverting to regular-season form is expected, but the Seattle secondary doing the same is not? That's a bit odd.

by admin :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:37am

No. Two reasons: 1) Seattle played better pass defense with Dyson than when Dyson was injured, and Dyson is not injured. 2) When it comes to reverting to the mean, there's a difference between improving from bad to good (Seattle secondary) and improving from average to far better than any other team in the NFL (Roethlisberger on third downs).

by Josh (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:42am

Hey Aaron, emailed you on this, so sorry if I'm being annoying, but I'm pretty sure the 3rd down chart in Steelers offense section should say #1 Offense, not Defense, in the 4th column.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:44am

I'd like to see the Steelers not go for the usual "establish the run" deep passing. Like (I think it was) MDS said, get Miller into the middle. Run crossing routes with Randle-El and Miller. Make Seattle's LBs worry about that off play-action. Then establish the run to the sides. You'll get a little bit of hesitation, and Parker is pretty good when he's got the upper hand (which unfortunately hasn't been often). It's tempting to go for long stuff early, but those are low-percentage plays, and you can't leat the hawks get up on you early. Plus, they're likely making a game plan to maximize safety help on mid to deep routes to patch their weakness. Make the LBs back off the line a bit, and I think PIT can get a run going, even against such a great rushing defence.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:32am

My posts on the FOMB are officially becoming stupid and angry.

Two weeks is too long to wait between the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. I'm really on edge right now.

by dutch (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:36am

After readingthat article , you would think the Seattle is the 85 bears and the Steelers are 85 pats. you got a few problems with your write up. First off, nobody runs against the Steelers. i don't care what your numbers say. 1 one hundred rusher in 32 games. Casey hampton has to be double teamed. No center in football can block him one on one. Therefore other teams running attacks are already thrown off gear do to their blocking assignments being thrown off.

Secondly, your numbers won't show you this, therefore your not going to talk about it., But there is a whole lot of truth to this. Which is , to beat the Steelers you must be able to match their physicality. J-ville, Baltimore, and New England have all had some success against the Steelers cause they are physical. It will take Seattle nearly 2 quarters to get used to this.

Finally I'd like to say that although Seattle has a good running attack, they do not have the speed at the receiver position that Cincy and indy have. That is a big deal.

by dutch (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:45am

By the way, i'd like to mention that running games don't win championships. if they did, Payton, Campbell, Dickerson, Sanders, Bettis, simpson would have SB between them .Yards per pass attempt is the most important stat in Football. Both offensively and defensively. The Steelers were number 1 wit 7.9 yards per attempt.Even higher if you go with just Bens numbers. The defense gave up only 5.5 yards per pass. Subtrat the 2 numbers and you get +2.4. We have never had a SB winner in the negative. The key to winning is to throw early, get a lead and run in the second half. That's what the Steelers do.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:45am

Dutch, Casey Hampton is indeed the god of run-stopping nose tackles, but the lack of 100-yard rushers is more an effect of getting huge leads and forcing teams to go pass-wacky than it is allowing very few yards per carry.
Of course, that has the secondary effect of increasing yards per carry slightly since we are expecting the pass, but it balances.

We're a great rushing defense, but great enough to stop Shaun Alexander behind that offensive line? I don't know.
I can defintely see us holding him to an average game, though.

And physicality has not exactly been a trademark in the last two games. Recently, we've won with a similar style of play to teams like the Colts... a solid passing attack supported by a ridiculously strong defense.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:46am

Dutch, a lot of this is accurate, but every accurate assertion in your post has been said about 50 times here in the past week by our regulars.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:07am

dutch, that's also what the Seahawks do. If you watched the NFC game, they passed early and often at the beginning of the game and then ran the ball for most of the second half. That's been Seattle's style as well.

Also, the 100 yard rusher stat is one of the lamest benchmarks in football. Not giving up 100 yards rushing is one thing, but limiting one rusher to 100 yards or less? Not that big a deal, especially against teams like NE who don't have a marquee RB any more and spread it around a lot. James was successful when he ran the ball. Johnson was successful when he ran the ball. Mike Anderson was actually successful when he ran the ball. The common scenario in all three cases is that none of these backs got a particularly large amount of carries, and that's because the teams went to predominantly passing offenses and abandoned the run.

I do agree, if Pitt can do that to Seattle Seattle will have a really tough time of it. Then again, same thing is true with Pitt; notice how in the first game against Indy and the second game against Cinci, the Steelers had gone down early and started passing more to catch up, and they couldn't.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:08am

Also, I'm fairly certain that Walter Payton did actually have a superbowl win. Unless you're referring to some other Payton.

by J (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:49am

Great Articles!

These articles are what make this site the best, and why I find myself clicking on it more and more.

ESPN. I think I used to know what that was, but I have forgotten. Is that some kind of Spanish word? What is the translation?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:00am

Scoring first has been paramount in the overwhelming majority of Super Bowls, but I think it is even more so in this one. A 7-0 first quarter lead will be huge, I think.

by dutch (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:13am

Kai yes payton did win a Sb, but he was pasthis prime. That year the bears offense was number 1 in the NFL in yards per pass.

Secondly You keep mentioning the running attack of the Bengals and the colts. In all due respect, their receivers are far and away harder to deal with then what Seattle is putting out there. take the Colts. You got Harrison and Wayne. Stokely and Dallas Clark. And james wgo catches passes. Harrison and wayne and Stokely are all deep threats. Plus Harrison catching passes is a problem if you buy that the Steelers weak link is Backs catching passes. The Bengals don't have or two but 3 deep threats. No wonder thoses teams were able to run it a little bit. It's called stretching the defense. i a msorry but your not going to get me to believe that Seattle's receivers are nearly as explosive as those 2 teams. Seattle does not stretch the field like the Bengals and Colts. And unlike james, Alexander doesn't catch passes. An unlike the last 3 games, it's the Steelers who will have home field and Seattle will be on the road wit htheir mediocre 6.7 defensive yards per pass. And let me say this, Pitt's running game cannot be stopped with Seattle's front 7. Teams must stack the line of scrimmage to stop the steeler run game and that's what they have been doing. The difference is that the Steelers now have have a supremely talented young qb who will kill you when you do that.

by dutch (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:16am


i respectfully disagree. Yes Pitt is good at getting a lead, but the main reason teams pass more agaisnt them is cause they simply know they can't run. Yo uwould have ot be unbelievably committed to the run in order to make much yardage against the Steelers.

by deuce (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:31am


No offense, but are you making this up as you go along?

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:31am

Something yards per pass indicates is not just passing efficiency; it is often a good indicator of a strong running attack. Why? If you pass less, your YPP will go up.

For instance, in the game against Detroit Ben's YPP was insanely good (8.4 I think) even though he went 7/16 with 1 int. The important point there is that he threw only 16 times.

The 85 bears had a decent passing attack - something that a lot of folks forget is that they were one of the best offenses in the NFC that season in addition to having the best D - but don't take that as an indication that Payton wasn't a good running back. While they were 5th in the league at YPP, they were 26th at attempts and 23rd on completions - meaning that 25 other teams threw the ball more than they did. The Pats plan was simply: stop Payton. That year they were #1 in rushing offense with 2700+ yards.

So yeah, when you say that good running games don't win SBs it is either flat-out wrong (witness Czonka's domination in the perfect season win or Emmitt Smith's dominant and MVP performance) or just incomplete.

As to why Cinci and Indy were able to run well in their games - it's because they're good running teams. Shockingly you're right - teams that can't run the ball well don't run well against the Steelers. That being said, Denver was actually okay at running the ball; it was that they did it so infrequently that it couldn't ever get started. Same with Indy.

Finally, on Seattle's front 7 stopping the running attack of the Steelers...well, that's just sad. You're wrong from a statistical point of view, you're wrong from the Steelers point of view, and you're showing gross ignorance of what the Hawks are about. The Hawks did a fine job stopping Clinton Portis and Washington's excellent running attack with 7 guys. They were fine against Indy even when Indy was playing their starters. They held Atlanta to 115 total rushing yards with 7 in the box.

But hey, choose to believe what you like.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:36am

Oh yeah, one last thing - the 85 Bears were not #1 in YPP that year. They were 5th. I don't know where you're getting your stats from; I'm getting mine from the link in my name.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:45am

Finally, (and I apologize for the triple posts but this really pissed me off) Walter Payton was not by ANY measure washed up in 1985. He won the rushing title, gained 1500 yards and another 500 receiving yards and had 11 TDs. In addition to that, Suhey - the fullback - had another 500 yards.

Saying that the 85 Bears weren't a running game is just.plain.wrong. Saying Payton was washed up though - that's downright heretical.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:56am

God I'm nervous.


My girlfriend is wondering if she should be jealous that I care this much about a football game.

I'm 99.9% positive I will not get a thing done tomorrow.

I will be going to the gym Saturday to work out, and will probably stay twice as long just to try to zone out.

I'm wondering if I should wear my Seattle NFC Conference Champions shirt to the Super Bowl party I'm going to, or if I should leave it at home so as not to jinx anything. Should I wear it to work Friday, instead? Should I wear it both days? Should I just wear it now and not take it off until Sunday's over?

What happens if we win? Am I crazy if I want to take an emergency flight up to Seattle just to see the parade?

What happens if we lose? Another off-season of disappointment? Am I supposed to act happy that we even got there? Why am I even thinking about the outcomes? Isn't that a horrible jinx?

Should I take comfort in the fact that Joey Porter is obviously as nervous about this game as I am?

Will there be commercials for Matt Hasselbeck reclining chairs some day?

Is this what it's like every year, for every team? God, once it's over, I'm going to want to do it all again.

by masocc (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:06am

Mike Tanier is clearly an idiot because he doesn't know Jack about Bauer. TV Guide is way better than this. 24 is a carp show, Mike Taneer is a twinky, and the seres wil end with Keefer Southerland failing miserbally.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 9:36am

18: Dutch, with all due respect, if you believe a word of what you're saying, you are a moron.

by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:36am

Nice moustache, Tanier. Are you the construction worker or the cowboy?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:55am

putnamp: My usual deal is to either wear my most recent championship shirt (at the moment, 2004 AFCN) when its warm, or my sweater when its cold, the Friday before gameday (but never on the friday before a bye week).

Advantages: People at work/class see you supporting your team. Plus, unlike wearing it on gameday, you don't have to change if you lose to avoid being mocked by your football buddies.

Disadvantages: Makes it harder to gloat when your team beats your buddy's team on gameday.

Yes, I've thought about this too much.

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:57am

putnamp - the fact that you have a Seattle NFC Champions shirt says it all. :)

dutch - please behave yourself so the FOMBC does not befall the Steelers. They're on the edge as is.

by admin :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:04am

9/18: Dutch, are you saying that the Seahawks have never played a physical team like the Steelers? I'll be sure to call up Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker to tell them that you think they're a couple of big pussies.

by Steve Z (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:36am

Here is a bit of self-refuting thinking by Mike Tanier:
The Steelers have come this far by exploiting the inexperience of their opponents. Whisenhunt designed an offense that surprised youthful defenders playing key roles for the Bengals and Broncos. The Colts were a veteran team, but they too were caught off guard by a pass-first game plan.
So, it wasn’t the Steelers ‘exploiting the inexperience of their opponents’ that has gotten them to where they are today but, rather, it was the Steelers’ offensive coordinator devising a game plan that confounded the defensive game plan of the opposing team. To be sure, it helped that Whisenhunt devised these game plans for an offensive squad possessing the talent to exploit the weaknesses of their opponents.

by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:38am

World Champion Pats fan checking in here for the last time during the CURRENT reign. I know you've all been wondering how we've been handling it. I'll admit it's been kind of weird, but I tried to make the most of having two weeks off without intense football analysis--wrote a novel, learned Italian and cleaned the garage. And now for the big weekend. So, who's playing again?

by Dr. Bleeding Black and Gold (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:55am

In all of his attempts to invoke the FOMB curse, dutch did make one very good point not mentioned in any of the three FO preview articles.

[...] unlike the last 3 games, it’s the Steelers who will have home field [...]

I hope and I think that this is true. Holmgren is making what I hope is a mistake: he is not piping in noise during practice (click my alias for the link). We must be as loud as possible when the Steelers are on defense, all the way from the end of one play to the snap of the next. On Sunday, Ford Field is our field! We need this advantage: make some noise!

by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 12:11pm

From Mike Tanier's articleIke Taylor and Deshea Townsend weren't up to the challenge of stopping Marvin Harrison and Chad Johnson in the regular season; so it only seemed like a matter of time before they would break down in the postseason.

Uh.... if you weren't paying attention, Chad Johnson did absolutely nothing in any of the three games against the Steelers. So Ike was most certainly up to the task- all year long.

As for Marvin Harrison, aside from the one 80 yard TD, he, too, did basically nothing- both times.

Also, a comment was made that Manning didn't have trouble in the first game. I would disagree with that. The Colts mustered only two TDs in that game; the first resulting more from Ike Taylor's error than anything Manning did; and the second resulting from absurdly short field position due to the failed onside kick. Beyond that, the Colts repeatedly settled for FGs, and Manning looked completely confused late in the first half.

Lost in the 26-7 score of that game was the fact that the Steelers' defense played fairly well. It was the offense, the failed onside kick, and Ike's mistake that cost them the game. That's it. It was not a blowout. It was not a dominating win, despite what the score may have said.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 12:15pm

I'm glad that this hasn't turned into a typical name calling forum. It makes me feel smarter when I post. :-)

Excellent analysis guys. Funny comments. Very well done as always.

If I could make one suggestion, I greatly enjoyed your preview of the Pittsburgh/Indy game where you laid out a gameplan Pittsburgh would have to follow if they were to win. It turned out to be a deadly accurrate analysis, some of your best work. Did you do that because Indy was such a favorite? Could you do similar game plan predictions for every big game?

After reading your analysis, I could tell Indy was in trouble when they couldn't stop Pitt's passing game in the first quarter. I knew Denver would lose when I saw Pitt convert third and long after third and long in the second quarter. This is my take based on your analysis for the Superbowl:

The Hawks are excellent stopping the run, much better than any of the three playoff foes Pitt has faced. Also, Pitt is only an average running team. This indicates to me that unlike their other games, Pittsburgh will not have success by building a big lead and the handing off over and over in the second half. If Pitt gets a 10 point lead, they should probably continue to throw the ball, because with Seattle's ofense and ability to stop the run, that is not an insurmoutable lead.

Similarly, Pittsburgh is excellent against the run. If Seattle gets off to a lead, then tries to run out the clock, they may not be successful either. Of course, Seattle has one of the best, if not the best, running attacks in the game, so that's not nearly as clean a prediction as Seattle stopping Pittsburgh.

Both of these considerations tell me that this game will not be a blowout. Pittsburgh will not be likely to continue to throw the ball if they get a lead, and their defense is too good to allow Seattle to run off with it.

For Seattle to win I think they can let Rothlessburger get his yards in the first quarter as long as they don't allow Pitt to run effectively. They should get enough chances on offense to get their points in quarters 2-4. I see Seattle getting a late lead, then Pittsburgh driving late in the game with a chance to win. I see a dramatic ending that could go either way, with the game being decided either by a big TD pass, a big sack, or a big turnover with less than a min to play.

by MRH (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 12:22pm

On PIT being favored: partly I think the Steelers' record the last two years w/a healthy Roethlisberger justifies it. But another part is that the Steelers are the champions of the AFC which has been the dominant conference at least the last two years (9 of top 10 teams in '04; 7 of top 10 in '05 if I counted correctly). Having beaten the media-darling-will-they-go-unbeaten Colts and the team-that-beat-the-champs (the other media-darling), they have now become the Press-Annointed Ones.

Fortunately for Seattle, they don't have to play the whole AFC, just the Steelers.

I'm struck by the parallels with the '85 Royals who beat the Cardinals (who had beaten the Press-Annointed Mets) and redeemed decades of suffering by KC fans. Dig up the Bill James Baseball Abstract article on the subject. If Leavy blows a call late in the game and Joey Joaquin Andujar Porter punches a sideline fan (mechanical, not human, fan) the analogy will be perfect.

I'd still pick the Steelers but I'm rooing for the Seahawks.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:12pm

So here's my one homer-ish question, in regards to Aaron's article:

In the header, Aaron contends that the game will probably be decided by Pit offense vs. Sea defense. Then we get the following numbers:

Overall: Pit 10.4% (8th), Sea -1.0% (18th) - Advantage Pit (9.4%)
Trend: Pit 19.1% (5th), Sea -12.5% (7th) - Advantage Pit (6.6%)
Pass: Pit 23.8% (8th), Sea 10.0% (25th) - Advantage Pit (33.8%)
Rush: Pit 1.1% (11th), Sea -14.9% (7th) - Advantage Sea (-13.8%)
Red Zone: Pit 48.7% (3rd), Sea -24.5% (5th) - Advantage Pit (24.2%)

Yet Aaron still picks Seattle. The numbers clearly give an overwhelming advantage in this matchup to Pittsburgh.

So, the syllogism is:

Whoever wins Pit Offense vs. Seattle Defense will likely win
DOVA suggests Pittsburgh's offense is likely to win the matchup against Seattle's defense
Seattle is likely to win


Oh, and dutch, you're a moron... there, that oughta stave off any FOMBC from this post :)

by pawnking (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:17pm

DJ, Pitt's big advantage is in the passing game, but Pitt passes less than any other team. If they play their typical game plan, they play right into Seattle's strength on defense. That might be the basis for Aaron's conclusions.

by Malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:23pm

re: #24. heh. that's hilarious. dutch is too, if he's kidding.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:26pm

Re: 37

I'm giving Aaron the benefit of the doubt on that, because its an underinformed analysis. Pittsburgh doesn't run far more than any onther team in the first half. In fact, over the season they've run on 50% of their first-half snaps, and probably less in the post-season. Their overwhelming run frequency is based on their tendencies when they have a large 2nd half lead.

Now, I'd note that Seattle has a greater edge on offense than Pittsburgh does, by DVOA, and based on all of the numbers, Aaron's conclusions work fine. My only question stems from his preamble, which would lead one to focus greatly on a subset of the numbers, that disagree with his conclusions.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:28pm

34: Except, strangely, the Steelers are incredibly good running the ball when they have the lead.

by masocc (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:58pm

Anybody else getting SQL errors when submitting page two of the Outsider Awards?

by Luz (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:18pm

ron mexico (#34) beat me too it...

i think, though i haven't looked it up, that pittsburgh's real improvement in the secondary has been against #2-3 recievers. for years the steelers have always performed very well against #1 recievers and allowed #2 recievers to have their season best games (see: parker, eric). however, as mcfadden has gotten worked into the nickel/dime the improvement has been noticeable. as a steelers fan i feel very comfortable with the steelers matchups with jackson and engram. where i have a lot of concern is for townsend covering jurvecious in 3-wide sets. this to me seems to be a big advantage for seattle.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:20pm

I am a little surprised that more books aren't offering 4.5 points, and that nobody is offering more than that yet. I don't want to doom the Seahawks fans, but I think I like getting 4.5 points with the Seahawks a lot, and I also somewhat like the -120 being offered on the moneyline by some books as well. I'm just surprised that the national following the Steelers have has not moved those numbers more. Maybe something will happen in the next 48 hours.

by Mshray (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:27pm

DJ, I think you might have to try harder than that to offset Dutch. But then again, now you have someone you can blame for Polamalu's ankle. The FOMBC is real; it's even in Wikipedia! (can we get Joey Porter to post here?)

by Mshray (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:28pm

Putnamp, I am just wearing my Super Bowl XL shirt with both teams on it, so as not to tempt fate. If, you know, something good happens on Sunday, I'll buy some more stuff, but I am too nervous to even say out loud how much I want, you know...(ack! have I already said too much?)

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:35pm

Wait, FO's on wikipedia? Might as well close down shop. The credibility's shot by association!

by Mshray (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:44pm

Re #33 From Mike Tanier’s article: Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend weren’t up to the challenge of stopping Marvin Harrison and Chad Johnson in the regular season; so it only seemed like a matter of time before they would break down in the postseason.

Uh…. if you weren’t paying attention,...

Actually Ron, you're the one not paying attention. Mike started that paragraph by saying: "The book on the Steelers' defense after their losses to the Colts and Bengals in midseason..." and then in the next paragraph he writes about how 'the book' doesn't really apply anymore, and Taylor & Townshend have "settled down".

by Steve Z (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:58pm

Re: #47

I think Ron’s claim was that that point — namely, that Townsend and Taylor weren’t up to the challenge of stopping élite receivers — didn’t even apply in midseason or at any time during the season. He wrote (#33):
Uh…. if you weren’t paying attention, Chad Johnson did absolutely nothing in any of the three games against the Steelers. So Ike was most certainly up to the task- all year long.
As for Marvin Harrison, aside from the one 80 yard TD, he, too, did basically nothing- both times.

by Mshray (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:11pm

Okay, I don't want to start a flame war, but if someone references the opinion of others you ought to be able to differentiate that from said person's individual opinion, especially when it is is different & it follows in the next paragraph.

Secondly, a receiver without an 80-yard touchdown may have done 'basically nothing', but a player with an 80-yard touchdown has demonstrably done something that one really can't dismiss by saying "aside from ___." For example: "aside from pulling the gun, Chris Henry didn't do anything all that bad."

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:16pm

It is a valid point, though. He's pointing out that he was off his game, made a young player's mistake, and likely won't again. Fair enough.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:20pm

Bill Simmons has his article out. I like reading him, because he's like the anti-FO Writer. Absolutely all of his opinions are based on storylines, rather than objective analysis. Of course, picking against the line is such a crapshoot, he might very well be right.

Oh by the way, he mentions no where in his artcile the fact that this year and also in the playoffs, he has a losing record against the spread. Personally I believe his pick is a result of sullen feelings about this fact. But what do I know?

by Manteo (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:38pm

#35 - "If Leavy blows a call late in the game and Joey Joaquin Andujar Porter punches a sideline fan (mechanical, not human, fan) the analogy will be perfect."

What, so the Steelers have robot supporters? (Sorry...)

Great analyses in all three articles. I hadn't really thought about the Tobeck/Hampton matchup until this - just another thing to worry about... Ah well, guess I'll just go sit in a corner and rock back and forth until game time.

by one for the other thumb too (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 3:40pm

Dutch - I'm with you all the way. Don't listen to anyone, keep rolling with it. Seriously, I agree. The Stillers MUST win this game. Yards per attempt is a very important statistic, but not as important as number of plays run from exactly the 50 yard line. Think about it. Are you in your own territory? Are you in the opponent's territory? You're certainly on the midfield logo. Unless your playing at Riverfront Stadium. Or Notre Dame, or does that little circle they used to put on the 50 count as the logo?

by Bill (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:06pm

Nickelback IS terrible. But worst Canadian band ever? Bryan Adams, if he counts, is right there.

by DJ Any Reason (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:16pm

If we're counting singers, like Bryan Adams, as "bands" then Celine Dion has to top even him.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:25pm

I think everyone is overlooking the most important thing from this article. Check out the chart of run-stopping DB's, and tell me this:

Who the bloody hell is A. Wilson?

Involved in almost 20% (!!!) of run plays, the most by far, and holds them to a measly 3.6 yards per play, half a yard less than anyone on the chart? Sweet merciful crap! What kind of hype would this guy get if he played for... well, any team other than the Cardinals? So unless there's an error in the stats, or unless he's a worse pass defender than me, how is this guy not considered a top safety? What's the deal with this guy? Surely there's a Cardinal fan that can answer... Hmmm. OK, that may be wishful thinking. Well, they play the Seahawks twice a year, maybe some of their fans can say what they've seen from him?

"It is more likely that Roethlisberger can't keep converting half his third-and-longs forever"

Unfortunately, they don't need to do it forever. If they keep it up for one more game, they have too good of a shot to win for my liking. Why, oh why, couldn't their insane hot streak have come simultaneously with Washington's? Bastards.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:31pm

One of my favorite jokes ever, from comedian Brian Posehn. "I agree that music causes violent behavior. Like whenever I listen to the band Nickleback, it makes me want to kill Nickleback."

Nickleback is one of several bands that has "instant station change" status on my radio. Usually I've changed the station even before I've finished swearing about having heard that quarter second of a Nickleback song. One of the others is another Canadian band, Rush - but only when they're in the singing parts. Their music is great, and if every song was an instrumental they'd be one of my favorite bands. But come on, they can't find anyone who can sing better than Geddy Lee? They should tour with Megadeth, on the "Bands who would be so much better if their singers didn't make me want to rupture my own eardrums" tour.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:36pm

41: You used an apostrophe/single quote or similar in one of the one-line entry boxes. That causes an SQL error.

by admin :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:42pm

I was just about to post that ... Benjy and Pat are working on fixing the single-apostrophe problem. Sorry about the error.

Adrian Wilson is one of the most underrated players in the game. You might remember him from my preseason "10 Players to Watch" column on PROTRADE. The guy is the entire Arizona defense at this point. He may go on the cover of next year's book.

Realized the total DVOA isn't in the article. Now added above.

by Aaron Boden (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:44pm

I don't care who wins. It just better be a good game, it will just piss me off if it is a blowout for either team.

by DGL (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:54pm

And how come a Canadian band calls themselves "Nickelback" anyway? Shouldn't it be "Penalty-Killing Defenseman" or something like that?

by Andre (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:05pm

If pittsburgh wins the super bowl. I'll be happy to say that they beat the best teams in the NFL, except New England. I'm rooting for seattle anyways... oooo how i hate that joey porter guy!

by MikeT (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:12pm

I have had some interesting email today. I am used to Seahawks and Steelers fans coming after me, but the Nickelback fans are brutal. How can such a wimpy band have such vicious fans?

by Steve Z (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:37pm

Re: #49

Okay, I don’t want to start a flame war, but if someone references the opinion of others you ought to be able to differentiate that from said person’s individual opinion, especially when it is is different & it follows in the next paragraph.
I did, so far as I can tell. Here is Mike T's position:

The book on the Steelers' defense after their losses to the Colts and Bengals in midseason was pretty simple: If you could protect your quarterback and attack their cornerbacks, you could beat them. Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend weren't up to the challenge of stopping Marvin Harrison and Chad Johnson in the regular season; so it only seemed like a matter of time before they would break down in the postseason.

But times have changed since midseason. Taylor and Townsend have settled down, with a little help from their friends.

Ron M’s point was: Nothing has changed. The book always was and remains inaccurate — crap! — with respect to Townsend and Taylor. Yes, Harrison managed to catch a bomb on Taylor in the first Pitt-Indy game. But, he posed no real threat otherwise, and this in a game that, insofar as score was concerned, was a blowout. Mike T’s point clearly has something changing with the Steelers’ defense. So, your claim, as stated in the following, misses Ron M’s point:

Actually Ron, you’re the one not paying attention. Mike started that paragraph by saying: “The book on the Steelers’ defense after their losses to the Colts and Bengals in midseason…� and then in the next paragraph he writes about how ‘the book’ doesn’t really apply anymore, and Taylor & Townshend have “settled down�.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:37pm

#59: I'm sure they've figured out that you can treat the string before submitting it by having the php add a \ before the apostrohe. (hedging my bets!)

by admin :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:45pm

Re: 61. And yet, there is an adult contemporary piano-led band from Los Angeles called Five For Fighting. Shouldn't they switch names or something?

by dutch (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 5:52pm

kai & Vash

You can call me names if you want,but if you provide me your email address I'd like to send you a link where you can see my write up for all the playoff games as well as predictions. I'm 10-0 in the playoffs and plan on being 11-0 come sunday. I thin kI was the only person in the country picking the Steeles to beat the Colts. And my analysis of that game, I can send you via email if you like. I also do a live radio show and you can hook up on the internet to listen in. My show is on at 10 o'clock saturday night on wmbs590.com. Please call in and discuss your view points if you like.

Emmitt smith did nothing to win the superbowl versus the Steelers. Aikman had the better passing game and got a lead. Also you people need to start realizing that you have been completely wrong about Big Ben. While most quarterbacks need a few easy passes to get warmed up, big ben doesn't. He has the hardest job of any quarteback , simply because so manyof his throws are on 3rd down. But this playoff season you saw him throwing on first down and look at his numbers. Look how easy it was for him. He will be the best qb in the NFL for years to come. Get used to it and admit your wrong. And by the way your opinion that the Steelers run defense is only good because they get a lead is IGNORANT. This team has played great run defense for years. They only give up 3.4 yards per carry. Also like i mentioned before the Seattle Receivers scare NOBODY. This is the easiest friggin game I have ever called. You idiots on here keep telling yourself that all theses fancy numbers work , and yet none of you had the Steelers going to the Superbowl. Nonoe of You. And now your trying to make excuses for yourselves.

saturday night sports talk

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:00pm

67: Sorry Skip, but I suspect the only thing more painful than reading your analysis is listening to it, so I think I'll pass.

by Andre (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:01pm

I think I agree with dutch but I'm afraid to accept it. Anyways, I'm sure Seattle will win 29-25.... and canadian bands suck. I'm canadian but i hate them, I used to like Sum 41 but their last album sucks too. Madden 06 franchise update: I imported my NCAA footbal 06 draft class to madden 06 and i got reggie bush, D'Brick, Jean-Gilles, A.J. Hawk, Marcedes Lewis, Avant and Stovall.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:04pm

Actually, every Steeler fan was picking the Steelers. Please forgive me for not acknowledging homerism as tremendous insight just because your team happened to win. Hell, I picked OSU over Miami on 02, and even came up with very rational arguments for it (some of which were proven correct, others didn't happen), but you're crazy if you don't think the primary reason was "I'm a Buckeye fan, and I'm NOT picking against them in a championship game, ever." Replace 'Buckeye' with 'Steeler' and 'championship' with 'playoff', and you have an important part of every Pit/Indy prediction from Steeler fans, no matter how rational the analysis may have been.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:07pm

You might think that's a good haul, Andre, but I think you should've traded all of those picks for Ricky Williams.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:08pm

I would also like to complement the Football Outsiders staff on guaranteeing to get hatemail from everyone by having Aaron pick the Seahawks, and Mike Tanier pick the Steelers.

In a normal world, everyone would be happy. But of course, instead, everyone's complaining. :)

by P. Ryan Wilson :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:11pm


Larry Foote SUX!

That is all.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:14pm

63-19 against the spread? Hmmm. I smell cow feces!!

If you were that good, or anywhere near that good, you'd've broken the bank in Vegas long ago, and have more than enough money to not be working at some dumpy Pittsburgh AM station. At any rate, you'd have more than enough to never have to get that close to West Virginia again.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:17pm

Ryan, I think I would be the happiest man in the world if Anthony Ragano got a sports talk show. Could you imagine him on ESPN radio, maybe as a fill-in for a few days for Cowherd or Patrick? Or even better, he could sub for Greenberg, and we could take bets on how long until Golic tried to kill him. I wonder whatever happened to my old friend Ragano...

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:19pm

dutch, why don't you just post the website here? It's not like we won't if you email it to us anyway.

I do agree - Emmitt Smith did not have as good a passing day as Troy Aikman. Fortunately he's a running back.

I notice that you didn't refute any of my points about the Bears. I'd love to see where you get that #1 YPP stat that was so much crap - or that the Bears didn't have a good running game that year. I'm glad that you went 10-0 in the playoffs, but a Pitt homer picking Pitt to win would likely have a similar record. Did you pick Palmer's injury too?

I actually think that the Steelers will win, but what I don't agree with is your analysis. I think you're spouting irrelevant and often wrong facts that don't matter. You might as well be saying that the Steelers are nasty. If you're going to be using stupid stats to assert your arguments, you'll get called on it. If you're going to actively lie about those stats, even moreso.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:25pm

Nice piece on Aaron today in the Globe
(click my name for the link)

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:42pm

Trog: I actually picked the colts to win. My team completely ruined my bracket. Not that I'm complaining....

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:43pm

#77: What is kind of funny is that they mention Aaron going to sharon high school but don't mention Brown (at least, I think it was brown he wouldn't shut up about...).

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:45pm

Wait, they do. I just missed that graph. Still a bit silly, though.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:52pm

Fnor, shhh!!!! I had a perfectly good rant going, and you're trying to ruin it with evidence! Sigh. Oh well, the point changes little. So instead of all 12,468,365 Steeler fans picking them, it's 12,468,364 for and 1 against. If nothing else, now it can be expressed as a ratio without getting that darn 'divide by 0' error.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:00pm

Trogdor -

A lot of Steeler fans picked the Steelers to lose to Indy. I'll freely admit most picked Pit based on dumb homerism, but all teams have fans which do that.

Dutch -

If you're actually a Steeler fan, STFU!!!! PLEASE don't tempt the FOMBC!!

Does the curse have some sort of out for fake trolls trying to invoke it against the other team? Should I pretend to be a Seahawks homer and start trolling to offset Dutch's idiocy?

by DGL (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:02pm

Trodgor is disrespecting the Steelers by implying that there are only 12,468,365 Steelers fans.

(Oh, sorry, is the "disrespect" joke getting old? Can a joke predicated upon something being overworn and trite itself get overworn and trite? This requires further thought.)

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:05pm

Nah. The FOMBC knows all and sees all. It knows when you've been good or Bayless, so be good for Bayless' sake.

Dutch not only is trying to get the curse done, he's disrespecting the 85 Bears and Walter Payton. I think that's a Gordie Howe Hat Trick FOMB curse-level deal.

by dave crockett (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:06pm

It's friday afternoon and I've heard about all I can stand about how Pittsburgh has the edge coming from the rougher, tougher AFC. It's the better conference no question but the Pro Bowl is in a couple weeks for crying out loud.

Comparing common opponents just on points scored and allowed tells us what we need to know. These teams are pretty evenly matched. Both played the AFC's little sister division (the South) and seem to have performed equally well, at least on the scoreboard. (I don't have the week to week DVOA.) If we throw out the game Indy's backups played at Seattle while averaging the scores from the two Pittsburgh/Indy games...

Seattle: 28 AFC South (less Indy): 20
Pittsburgh: 22.5 AFC South 14.8

...about the same 8 point difference. I know that comparing common opponents has to come with some caveats but it's far more insightful than any sentence that begins, "The AFC has won such and such"

by Jed (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:06pm

#83, The disrespect joke is about as worn out as the "Bettis is from Detroit!?!?" joke.

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:07pm

I've been busy all week, but now I'll finally be able to look at some quality analysis. Thanks guys!

by DGL (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:11pm

I think the FOMBC has some sort of threshold. I'm not sure whether it's a number of posts threshold, a number of posters threshold, or an overall trollishness threshold. I think some statistical analysis is merited.

Perhaps a system could be developed that would calculate the amount of irrationality of a post compared to an average post. That value -- let's call it "Vitriol Over Average", or VOA -- could then be adjusted based on other factors, such as the quality of discourse of other posters in the thread, to give a "Discourse-adjusted Vitriol Over Average", or DVOA. We could then calculate the DVOA for each team in the various FOMBs leading up to the game, and calculate the corrrelation between DVOA and wins, to truly quantify the effect of the FOMBC.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:20pm

Re: 88

That's a great idea. Somebody ought to start a website to track these statistics... like FO Outsiders or something.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:26pm

A site called FOO? That's awesome.

by Paul (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:31pm

I am so puzzled! I read an analysis that basically says Seattle by a tiny hair, and dutch comes along and interprets it as genuflecting toward Seattle. I remember reading dozens of posts explaining why the Steelers would beat Indy, but dutch claims he was the ONLY person to predict it. Maybe he is the guy in the USA Today story about the guy that put 50K on them. I swear, Larry R., you are off the hook. There is a more irritating member of this community.

by Minister (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:42pm

Re Pittsburgh-Indy, did anyone think that Indy lost that game because Manning called an asinine game, and Dungy let him do so?

The one drive I saw where Manning consistently gave Edge the ball on the stretch run, Indy's most effective running play, Indy scored easily. And of course, Manning continued after that to throw medium and deep balls, when the run and short pass seemed to be a given from the Steelers.

I'm betting Hasselbeck plays a smarter game than Manning. I think Pittsburgh's blitz-the-QB and defend the deep pass leaves a lot of field open for some very good route runners. And I think Seattle jumps out to an early lead, which Pittsburgh is simply ill-equipped to come back against. Let's see what Roethlisburger's YPA is when the threat of the run is effectively neutralized.

Seattle 42, Pittsburgh 27. And I'm not a Hawks fan (though i'm perhaps an idiot), so I don't care about any jinxes.

by admin :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:45pm

Nothing to do with the Super Bowl, but Fnor, the constant references aren't because I went to Brown, it's because all the guys who founded the site (Al, Benjy, Jason, etc.) were fraternity brothers at Brown, except for Pat Laverty, who coincidentally happens to work there.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:57pm


Just to make this site just a little bit crazier how's this. I played PIT vs. SEA on Madden 2006 on All-Madden Level. I played PIT and my buddy played SEA. Final Score 31-31 dead even tie.

Stats Big name players

BEN R (qb) 16-21 210 yds 2 td 1 int
Jerome Bettis (rb) 14 Attempts 36 Yds 2 TD
Hines Ward 8 Cathces 76 Yds 1 TD
Heath Miller 6 Catches 52 Yds 1td

Fg 1/2 Missed Fg at 49 Yds made at 44


Matt Hasselback 21-30 206 Yds 2 TD 1 int.
Sean Alexander 132 Yds 1 TD 1 fumble
Jerovicious 6 Catches 92 Yds 1 TD

FG 1/3 Made at 39 Yds missed at 42 and 51 yds.

SEA won coin toss at start of game
PIT won coin toss for overtime

by Vince (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 8:17pm

I charted a few Cardinals games, and I can confirm the greatness of Adrian Wilson. He's just about the only good player on Arizona's D. (They also have one good CB, whose name escapes me, but his impact is lessened because the opposite CB is very, very bad.)

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 8:20pm

Aaron: Yeah, Brown and... Michigan, wasn't it? I was going for the "Huh? Brown? Brown what?" joke, but it wasn't very funny. Sorry.

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 8:25pm

I can't believe nobody else caught this, but Dutch - you didn't use the template.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 8:57pm

Trogdor, thanks for the gratuitous slap at West Virginia in post 74; it definitely raised the tone of discourse and added to my understanding of football. West Virginia, a state whose natural beauty has been damaged and whose natural resources have been pillaged by corporations in extractive industries; whose wealth has flowed into the pockets of the owners and shareholders of those corporations with precious little left behind for the residents whose work it is to actually do the extracting; which has suffered terrible tragedies to a number of those residents and workers just in the last few weeks (perhaps you were paying close attention to the NFL and missed the stories); which has been treated for most of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the same way that colonies were treated by the colonial powers in the nineteenth ; and which is populated by hillbillies, one of the last groups of people that is acceptable in polite society to denigrate. Yeah, that sounds like a good target for a wiseacre remark.

by thad (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 9:02pm

Pro football reference does not include sacks or sack yards. According to thr pro football encyclopedia, the Bears were numero uno in net yards per pass at 6.5 per attempt.
Dutch, both the 2001 Pats and the 2000 Ravens won the super bowl while being in the negative. Its a good stat, not perfect. It would be more accurate to say all winners have had a positive net qb rating.
Kal, Payton had an excellent year rushing and recieving, but lets not forget his throwing.
3 for 5 for 60 yards, 1 td, 0 ints...141.7 passer rating.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 9:10pm

RE: Pats Fan (#77)

You're right and it even complimented most of her on this web site as being intelligent fotball fans.

guess that means I have to loose my club with the nail through it? :-)

by Theo (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 9:56pm

I want more talk about the coaches.
(and less about the players -and the hair on their heads)
With 2 weeks of prepraring: who has the better game plan?
Cowher/ LeBeau/ Wisenhunt or Holmgren/ Haskell/ Rhodes?

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:08pm

Ah, thanks Thad. I appreciate that. Doesn't really matter; the important point I was trying to illustrate was how dominant the bears were running the ball that year, thanks largely to the abilities of Payton.

by NedNederlander (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:17pm

Pittsburgh has been throwing well all postseason. Pittsburgh's running game has basically sucked all season, with the bulk of their yardage due simply to so many rushing plays and also coming late in the games with leads, when they could afford to either run on non-obvious running downs, or they had run so many consecutive times that the (already slightly demoralized by being behind) defense was worn out. With all that obvious to everyone, what's the only thing for Pitt to do?

Pittsburgh is going to run wild on Seattle. There will be a few long end arounds or direct snap rushes, "Fast Willie" is going to live up to his sobriquet and a Seattle team that prepped for one Pitt strategy is going to be surprised to find the exact opposite occurring. Holmgren's as a coach is the football equivalent of the character portrayed by Wallace Shawn in "The Princess Bride" (well, maybe Martz fit that role better, but it applies to Holmgren as well), and he'll have overthought and over game-planned, only to have a monkey wrench thrown in the works. Cowher is criminally underrated as a coach (the reason they have more trouble than most getting over the hump is the organization's refusal to overpay and refusal to mortgage the future for "one shot at the title"). That will be the difference. Pitt wins, but not how people expected. Pitt wins, ironically, by doing what most people (who are uninformed) would expect, but that people who KNOW don't expect (because the people who know realize Pitt hasn't been a great running team).

by calig23 (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:20pm

And how come a Canadian band calls themselves “Nickelback� anyway? Shouldn’t it be “Penalty-Killing Defenseman� or something like that?

Actually, "The No Talent Goons" would make more sense. Them Canadians like their horrible hockey players who do nothing but drop the gloves. And, as an added benefit, the "No Talent" part applies quite aptly to Nickelback.

And Re:#63

I'm amazed that such a wimpy band even has fans to begin with.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:30pm

Shockingly, how much Joey Porter would respect a band has very little to do with how many fans they have. ABBA does not do a lot of smashmouth football. That's a damn shame, because I think they'd make an excellent defensive line.

By the way, the articles were great. I especially appreciated MDS's analysis of key matchups; it's one of the things I really wanted more people to cover and something I thought the media really hadn't.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:34pm

the reason they have more trouble than most getting over the hump is the organization’s refusal to overpay and refusal to mortgage the future for “one shot at the title�)

Actually, they have done that. Following 2001, they reupped the likes of Jason Gildon, Chad Scott, and Dwayne Washington, among others.

It didn't work out so well.

The real reason they haven't gotten over the hump is because, until the ~middle of Week 2 last year, they were trying to get over the hump with the likes of Neil O'Donnell, Mike Tomczak, Kordell Stewart, Kent Graham, and Tommy Maddox. The lack of a real QB prevented them from overcoming the inexplicable and predictable (if that makes sense) breakdowns on offense/defense/special teams that so often happened.

If anything speaks to Cowher's ability as a coach it is this: He took a Neil O'Donnell QB'ed team to the Super Bowl, and would likely have won- until O'Donnell choked. He won playoff games with Mike Tomczak and Tommy Maddox. He twice took a Kordell Stewart QB'ed team to the AFC Championship game, and lost by 3 and 7 points. He took a team led by a rookie QB to the AFC Championship game, and despite a 1st half implosion, came very close to getting the team back within a TD. And, now, he has a chance to win a Super Bowl with a second year QB.

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:04pm

Yet another embarrassing fact about Nickelback: in a move only Peter King could applaud, they got their name because the lead singer used to always get a nickel back in change from his $2 when buying his daily coffee at Starbucks. So manly. So, so manly.

by DGL (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:49pm

#103: 5 points for the "Princess Bride" reference (always popular in these parts), but minus 2 points for referring to "the character portrated by Wallace Shawn" rather than "Vizzini".

Clearly, I can not choose the cup in front of you.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:55pm

94: "We want the ball, and we're going to score!"

by putnamp (not verified) :: Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:59pm


Was that a joke? Because I think in your attempt to explain that Holmgren was being Vizzini, you became Vizzini yourself.

by Balaji (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 12:17am



by Paul (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 12:27am

101: the presence of Russ Grimm and his extensive SB experience under a coach even better than Cowher-I love Cowher, don't get me wrong- is the tipping point in favor of the Steelers staff.

by kleph (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 1:29am

now guys, nickleback is simply carrying on a long tradition of canadian band suckage that goes back decades.

they are the direct descendents of such great white north titans of rock mediocrity such as honeymoon suite and frozen ghost.

by dutch (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 4:44am


Thanks for correcting kai on the bears yards per attempt.Also it doesn;t surprise me that the 2001 ravens and 2001 pats were in the negative.But the one thing with regards to yards per pass, if the superbowl team does not have a high ranking in offensive yards per pass, then look to the defense and typically that ranking in defensive yards per pass is very high. But the offensive yards per pass is more important over the years.

To everyone who still refuses to believe in Big Ben or stilr efuses to believe that they made an ass of themself over their evaluation of him, please get over it. These constant questions regarding Big Ben's inability to play from behind is ignorant at best. Do some research and go back to his senior year in Highschool, then college days, then NFl and you will plenty of come from behind wins. In fact it didn't take Ben long in the NFL. See last years Dallas game where parcells lost an 11 point lead in 4th quarter for like the first time in his life. Then see jacksonville game on Monday night in 2004. you will find plenty of them. Also last time i checked weren't the Bengals up 17-7 in the playoffs. And wasn't Ben's passerrating something like 148%? . some of you on here are a bunch of idiots that know very little about football.

by Joon (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 7:39am

Re: #114

that is the ultimate straw man. please find the message where somebody is still refusing to believe in big ben? he's godly, and everybody here knows it.

Re: #88

LOL. and i literally mean that, which is rare because i usually just inwardly snicker at most.

finally: aaron, your seahawks weekly graphs seem to suggest that they played chicago in the divisional round of the playoffs, not washington. what's with that?

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 11:52am

Re: 115

I think dutch was referring to the fact that nobody genuflected in post #7

by Walt Pohl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 12:06pm

I find that if I just scan a post for the words "bunch of idiots who know very little about football" to see if I should skip it, I save a lot of time.

by Paul (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 12:35pm

115: I noticed that too, but the steam coming out of my ears thanks to dutch made me forget to ask about it. Joey Porter hopes he can be as distracting.

by Paul (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 12:44pm

Also, Parcells has a career WP of .872 in games that he has a 2 score lead-39th alltime-and a WP of .838 in games he has a 4th Q lead-37th alltime. So its not even close to "for like the first time in his life" Stats courtesy of PFP 2005
And bringing high school accomplishments into A SB discussion is beneath contempt.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 1:30pm

108: -2 points for referring to Vizzini the Great without the honorific. Inconceivable!

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 1:48pm

Re: 120

Seems like a reasonable mistake, so I dunno about your word choice of 'inconcievable'. I do not think it means what you think it means.

by admin :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 2:23pm

96: Yep, Michigan is the other big FO school. Russell, Vin, and Ned (Michigan Law).

113: They have good bands up there too. I dig The Pursuit of Happiness and 13 Engines.

115: Typo, typo, man, I am clearly not on my game at this point. (Typos, lack of jokes, and the fact that after re-reading it, this preview did seem to come out a little too slanted towards Seattle even though I only favor them by a little bit.) I hope people don't mind if I don't fix that, the charts take some time to make. I'm busy filling in missing game charts and being shocked at just how bad Buffalo's offensive lineman #66 is.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 3:16pm

Propaghandi; they redeem Canada for musical horror shows like Nickelback, Sum41 and the Barenaked Ladies.

by Vash (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 3:51pm

Dutch, as a Steelers fan, I am officially pissed off.

In case you still don't understand what we're trying to tell you, allow me to say it a bit more plainly.


by jeff t (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 4:17pm


Where do you find the stats that you quote about Parcells? I always see the "Bill Cowher has a 103-1-1 record when his team has an 11 point lead at any point in the game" stat and I've always wanted to put in context with other coaches.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 4:32pm

Vash, I think you should speak for yourself. I don't think any of dutch's points are really in the spirit of dispassionate objectivity, but I would prefer you don't speak for me, and I may not be the only one. The point is to explain why we disagree, and if he continues to feel the way he does, fine; his issue, not ours.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 4:33pm

I should clarify that:

If he has a point, then of course we listen, but if he's just being stubborn, then it's his problem, not ours.

by Matt (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 4:42pm

Who was the idiot and put Dutch on the radio. He has not posted an intelligent thought and is actually making us all more stupid for having read his post. I feel bad for Steeler fans because Dutch is making you look really bad. Dutch, stick to tennis and you may want to move to Massachusetts because I hear that marriage is legal there for you.

As for the game, I think that the match-up to watch will be O-Line vs. D-Line. This match-up goes both ways. Both O-Lines on each team have a size advantage over the other. Also, I wonder how Seattle's O tempo will fair with all of the commercials. I have seen all of Seattle's games and have noticed that when they get in there rhythm, they are very very hard to slow down. I believe Seattle will win (Seattle fan), but I know how good the Steelers are. Go Seahawks! For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation in the world will ever be enough.

by Matt (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 4:46pm

SP: there (their)

by thad (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 5:12pm

re 125
Pro Football Prospectus pg 439
There is a chart that lists winning % for coaches with a two score lead.
11. Cowher 915
29. Shula 881
32. Paul Brown 875
69. Shanahan 832
8. BRIAN BILICK?...925?
Its a cool list but maybe not the most important factor in rating coaches, heh heh.

by thad (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 5:24pm

Ok I tried to write this in the awards section but it didn't work.
First of all, its a great book, buy it.
I don't care if the season ends tomorrow its got all sorts of cool data.
They have these defensive data boxes with
stop %
So I can go check out Adrain Wilson and find out he is up there in Harrison/polamalu land.
My one tiny quible with the book is there are no standards or rankings for the defensive players. If you could include an average for each position or top 20 or something in next years book that would be awesome.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 5:41pm

I would also like to add that Gospeed You Black Emperor! are a fine band from the great north, as are The Weakerthans.

It was interesting hearing the pundits talk about this game:
"The Seahawks haven't faced a good defensive/blitzing team!" Nevermind the Panthers or Redskins...

They are starting to pick up on the throw first, run second nature of Pittsburgh's game. Of course it became exceedingly obvious once people paid attention in the playoffs.

I hope it's a decent game and I can't wait until it's over and I can start dreaming about next year.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 5:41pm

Does the PFP come with an electronic version? I'd buy the book in a heartbeat if I could both read it on dead trees and be able to search it.

by Paul (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 6:25pm

128: Well, of course we're idiots. dutch told us that himself, right before complaining that we were calling him names.
130: thanks for picking me up. went shopping for kielbasa & dungeness.
please oh please make it a good game. I don't want to have to watch Bleak House on PBS at 9

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 6:33pm

Mactbone, the Weakerthans are fronted by John Samson who was the bassist for Propaghandi (first 3 albums iirc). If you like the Weakerthans and haven't heard Propaghandi, do yourself a favor and get a copy of How to Clean Everything. If I'm telling you something you already know...glad to see another fan of Canadian Thrash has an overlapping interest in Football.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 6:35pm

Putnamp, no fair!!! You're a Seahawks fan (correct me if I'm wrong), of course you want dutch around to poke the FOMBC with sticks. Seriously though, I agree with your sentiment, dutch has zero in the charm department, but it's a free country. If people want to post nonsense, we're all free to ignore it.

by mshray63 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 8:39pm

RRP, Putnamp & I are both miserable Seahawks fans & if I dare speak for both of us, we are too scared of getting our hopes up to do much any trash talking. So the only thing left to us is gently goading someone like Dutch into messing with the football gods. Meanwhile Vash is trying his best to be the Defender of the Faith for the true Pittsburgh believers, and he wants to excommunicate Dutch for his apostasy.

We can only hope tomorrow's game delivers half this much drama.


by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 8:46pm

What's annoying is that Foxsports doesn't have a real printable version. Their "printable version" has crap on the page, too.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 10:18pm

Every time someone's asked me who I think would win, I've just looked at them funny. It probably gives the appearance of being totally non-confident, but the truth is I'm sitting there wondering "Don't you read FO? You should know that this one is way too close to predict, and that no Seattle fan in their right mind is going to do a thing to jinx themselves."

I actually pointed a pair of co-workers to FO yesterday, we'll see if it sticks.

by CA (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 10:58pm

I wonder if Seattle had made the effort to beat Green Bay in week 17 (and had done so) and were 14-2 in the regular season, would the line be close or even favor the Seahawks? That assumes that they still beat Washington and Carolina to represent the NFC. Would a 14-2 team that had not lost in 4 months be harder to bet against psychologically than a 13-3 team, especially when its opponent went 11-5? Remember, the 14-2 2001 Rams were 14 point favorites over the 11-5 2001 Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. Just speculating.

by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 11:06pm

On the other hand, those Rams had just won the Super Bowl 2 years beforehand, and had the juggernaut offense. The Patriots had come out of nowhere, and I imagine that many people felt they had gotten lucky in the divisionals against the Raiders with the whole "tuck rule" thing.

The Steelers, on the other hand, won 15 games a year ago, and were likely only a 6 seed because of Tommy Maddox. And the Seahawks, while very good, don't have that same "aura" that the 2001 Rams had.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 11:30pm

#141 - Cinci rested their starters in Week 17 and apparently some of week 16. I'm not saying that they would have won those games anyway, but I am saying that it's not quite as simple as Pitt being a 3rd seed just if they win one or two more games.

by Comrade Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 11:43pm

I keep reading about how everyone in Detroit is apparently rooting for the Steelers, but I'm wondering if it really matters. Do many random people from the local area actually get to go to the Superbowl? Never having lived in a town that hosted the big game, I have no idea.

Also, as long as we have started talking about good Canadian bands, I'd like to throw out The New Pornographers and The Arcade Fire for consideration ...

by Vash (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 11:47pm

142: Actually, winning the second game against Cincy would have given Pittsburgh the division, as it would put us in the division lead with 4 games to go, and we won out.
Interestingly enough, early in the game, a fumbled punt by Cincy (around the CIN 15) that was taken for a Pittsburgh touchdown was ruled down. That could have made a big difference in a game that was decided by one score.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sat, 02/04/2006 - 11:53pm

#144: did you actually read what I wrote? I wasn't talking at all about Pitt/Cinci heads up - I was saying that winning one more game (presumably one of the games lost by Maddox) may not have helped Pitt win the title given that Cinci rested their starters for the last two weeks because they had it wrapped up by then. If they hadn't had it wrapped up, it may have been a different set of the last two games.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 12:19am

145: Pittsburgh won every game after the 2nd Cincy meeting. If Pittsburgh had won the Cincy game, it wouldn't matter what Cincinatti did, Pittsburgh would keep the division lead.

by meh (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 12:40am

The Steelers are clearly ranked too low because DVOA has a bias against fast-maturing young quarterbacks. Dutch is way better than this. While you kids have your math, you don't have good sense.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 12:42am

Sigh. I'll try this again.

I am not talking about either of the Pitt/Cinci games. What I am responding to is the notion that if Pittsburgh won one more game they would have been the #3 seed instead of the #6 seed. That presumes that Cinci played the same way they did, and one of the things they did was rest their starters in week 17.

I agree, if Pitt beat Cinci both times it would not have mattered what Cinci did. But that's not anything to do with what I was talking about. A number of people have said that if it wasn't for Maddox losing two games Pitt would have been the champion of the AFC North. I'm saying that this isn't as cut and dried as it could have been since Cinci rested their starters for two weeks, which presumably they wouldn't have done if they were still in a race for a division title.

Okay? Once again: nothing to do with Cinci/Pitt playing each other directly.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 1:36am

Re: 147

meh is clearly ranked too high because he spelled 2 gooood in his last sentinse, LOL! Dutch spells way better than this. d00d ur 1337 is teh suxor!!!!1!!11!11oneone1

by dutch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 5:13am

The two myths that have cost bettors a lot of money this year are that Ben is a game manager and doesn't "win" games. And that the steelers weakness is in the Secondary. 5.5 yards per pass is not a weakness .Especially considering you played cincy 3 times, colts twice, at sandiego, new england at denver.

It's great to see Football outsiders finally admitting guilt on Ben. The article regarding the Secondary in this superbowl was a good one. i accept their apology.

I'd like to welcome you all to the BEN ROETHLISBERGER ERA. This superbowl is the easiest game to predict and i am 10-0 in the playoffs. (you can send me your email and i'll email you the link if you want proof). Steelers win by 11-18 points. Seattle is not as good as denver or the Colts and thosee teams were playing at home. Denver rushed for an average of 4.9 yards per rush, seattle only 4.4. Denver threw for 7.5 yards per pass at home and seattle on 7.2. Denver gave up 6.2 yards per pass at home. Seattle gives up 6.2 yards per pass at home and a whopping 6.7 yards per pass on the road! Seattle does how a strong run defense allowing just 3.6 yards per carry but they will have their hands full wit hthe multi dimensional steelers whose running game can only be slowed by an 8 and 9 man front. Then you have ot deal with Ben, hines, randle el, miller etc! Some fo you people no nothing about football and you find that out tomorrow when the Steelers blow this team out. Seattle is not ready yet, they just happened to be the best of the bunch in the worst conference in recent history. They would not be palying in the SB if they were in the AFC.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 5:43am

I'm glad the game's in 15 hours, I think if I had to hear one more person declare the unequivocal superiority of their grand scheme, I'd end up making a flaming a$$hole of myself.

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 5:51am

Christ, dutch.

FO has been one of Ben's BIGGEST SUPPORTERS since last year. As the season's gone on they've been huge on him. Would you kindly drop this stupid argument? NO ONE IS ARGUING ABOUT THAT POINT.

Never mind, you won't. You come from the land of people who don't care about talking intelligently about football. That's fine. Go back to that land, please.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 10:45am

I tried to link something, and the comment won't go through.
We're getting good publicity all around.


by goathead (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 11:24am

Why in the world is Tom Brady tossing the coin? We just got passed the silliness with the Brady Worship (I hope this post is a multiple of 12...) and the NFL decides they have to find a way to get him on the field anyways... Sorry, but this is Ben & Matt's day and the league simply should not have involved another active player in this (OK if it was Favre I could understand - would still be wrong though- but Brady???)

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 11:48am

Re: 154

13*12=154 - you're in luck!

The theory behind it, I think, is that they're doing stuff with all the past SB MVPs, 'cuz its superbowl 40 and that's a nice round number, like us humans like. I agree tho, and my initial reaction upon hearing that was "Well, now Cowher's got his Huckleberry to convince the troops that its them against the world"

by Fnor (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 12:00pm

Yeah, Brady is uncalled for, especially considering the recent history between the Pats and Steelers.

And yeah, dutch, stop it. You're making all of us Steelers fans look bad by talking out of your ear.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 12:24pm

Heh, I think I've figured out where Dutch is getting his "analysis" from.

I did a search on "yards per pass attempt" and came up with this page on budgoodesports.com, which describes pass yards per attempt differential (YPA gained on offense - YPA given up on defense). This statistic is fairly compelling, the top of the list starts Indy, Pitt, Carolina, but then along comes Seattle.

Yes, the stat that Dutch is claiming is the ultimate stat in football that displays the Godlike dominance of Big Ben and predicts the utter destruction of the Seahawks, is a stat that Seattle is almost as highly ranked at! Even more damning to this stat in predicting individual games is the fact that Seattle just two weeks ago throttled a team with a better YPA differential!

Dutch, you are truly living in a fantasy land. In addition, according to YPA differential both Chicago and Tampa Bay are in the bottom third of the league. Guess your numbers are baffled by their success this year, eh?

Finally, as far as your ridiculous claim as for your record against the spread on your station's website. I don't buy it for a second, and neither does anyone else. You can't possibly prove it in any case, so I'll make you a deal. Next NFL season you email me your weekly picks and the site where you get your betting lines, and I'll keep track of them. I'll give weekly reports on the results. Anyone can claim to have this or that picks record in the future, but if it really happened and wasn't a fluke, you can do it again.

My email address is arkaein@monsterden.net.

by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 12:33pm

steelers 5.32 ny/p against
seahawks 5.74 ny/p against
can we just use net yards per pass attempt? Its a very goot stat, however...
2001 pats 5.95 ny/p against.
They did pretty well against the Rams.

by admin :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 12:36pm

The Tom Brady coin toss thing is even stranger because he'll be tossing the coin in his outfit from the Saturday Night Live "Sexual Harassment" sketch.

Sorry to have not read some of these comments but there's no reason to take anyone seriously who criticizes Football Outsiders for not endorsing Ben Roethlisberger. In the book, we compared him to Brady, Favre, and Montana. He is that good. He was that good last year too. The belief that he cannot continue to convert third-and-long at a godly rate is not a belief that he is an average quarterback.

by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 1:00pm


Uh, 13*12 = 156. 154 is 11*14, or 22*7. So, I think 154 is in grave danger of not showing proper respect for Roethlisberger by making a post about Brady in one of Big Ben's slots.

by goathead (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 1:56pm

Oops sorry. Hey, maybe one of the steelers LB's will take a cheap shot at Brady during the toss!

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 2:34pm

Is Kimo Van Ove.... a captain?

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 2:43pm

Arkaein, I'm actually willing to fund a proposition to debunk on dutch's prowess.

63-19 against the line in 2004, enough said!!

Well, what about the 2005 record? Or the fact that you're taking on about 1/3rd of the games. Even if you were picking your action carefully it would still be tough to rack up a .750+ record ATS. Dutch, I'd be willing to bet that you won't sniff .650+. PS if you're not math inclined that would mean you'd have to go roughly 53 - 29 assuming you pick 82 games.

The prop can work 1 of 2 ways:

1: We'll set some neutral line about your prowess. Let's call it .550. For every point over .600 you are at the end of the year, you'd get $3 for every point under you'd pay me $3. If you had similar success to 2004 you'd be $500 richer courtesy of me.

2: We can just set a hurdle rate, if you hit it I pay, if you don't you pay.

The $3 per point is just a figure to get started. My limit for taking money from suckers caps out at about $1500 so I can go higher. I'm also willing to go lower, since this proposition doesn't really require me to do anything. Let me know what your limit is. You can reach me at:

rowdyrodypiper at hotmail dot com.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 2:58pm


you're 2 off, 13*12 = 156 :)

by Vash (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 2:59pm

163: Dutch, I'm in too if you want action.
vash7ehstampede at yahoo dot com

by putnamp (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 3:00pm


No sir, he's looking great! Tell him to keep talking out of his ear. I'll take as much FOMBC as I can get, if I can get any at all. :p

by Kal (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 3:53pm

I'm still amused that the FOMBC won't ever be invoked by Seahawks fans because they're way too apathetic to ever come on a message board to crow about their team.

If KvO hit Brady during the coin toss this would be the best superbowl ever.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 4:01pm

Does the coin-toss guy count as an official?

If so, then the Steelers need to go lower on their depth chart, to find someone to cheapshot Brady at the toss. Name some usually-inactive guy honorary captain for the game.

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 4:48pm

167: What about Larry R?

by richconley (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 5:42pm

re 155:

13*12 is 156.

I love how we can bend math for Tom Brady.

by Tice London UK (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 5:50pm

Re 163
RRP : Imaginative idea to test for BS, but as you've suggested he contact you direct, you have to keep us informed as to:
a) Whether he accepts the challenge
b) Weekly progress reports
c) The level of the bet.
Also, have you noticed that whenever a rabid fan gets it wrong (yes Dirk, this means you amongst others), not only do they not admit they got it wrong, they completely disappear from the site.

by goathead (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 6:24pm

I just heard that Brady has decided that the entire Pats team will come with him to perform the coin toss. Each player will toss a coin and whichever comes up the most times wins.

by Eric (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 7:46pm

Re: #23 - putnamp: I hate to tell you this, but it doesn't matter when you wear (or wore) your shirt. Now that I have discovered the magical combination of shirts to wear, my Steelers can't ever lose again. I wore a new Steelers sweatshirt that I received for Christmas (not realizing it was magical) to work on the Friday before the Cinn playoff game. I then did my yardwork on Saturday with a Steelers T-shirt. (I live in Phoenix now, so there is yardwork to do in January.) I then looked for my Steelers jersey to wear during the game on Sunday, but it was stacked in the wrong pile of clothes, so I ended up wearing a Taekwondo T-shirt for the game. Needless to say, this combination magically produced a huge game altering injury. So, I have worn the same combination of shirts (washed each week) throughout the playoffs. This magical effect trumps any scientific method of evaluating games like DVOA, so I don't know why you will even bother watching the game now. :-) BTW I don't hope for any injuries of any type to anyone. I much prefer the magical game saving tackles my shirt combination can invoke.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 10:52pm

You know, there haven't been any really bad calls this game, but if I were a Seattle fan I'd definitely feel like my team was getting a bit of the short end of the stick. That Ward pushoff on the 3rd down catch against the blitz was about the same as Jackson's.

And now an INT makes the play moot. Such is life.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 11:46pm

For someone who really shouldn't care too much about the outcome of this game, the way it's turning up is getting me pretty wound up. The reffing has gone from questionable to ridiculous.

Can anyone recall a single questionable call that has not gone in Pittsburgh's favor, or a blatant non-call that has benefitted Seattle? That hold before the Hasselbeck INT was very iffy at best, and if it was called they should have called a hold on Ward on the Roethlisberger draw play (it wouldn't have affected the outcome of the run for a 1st down, but it was there, and probably was about as touchy as the play negating the Stevens catch to the 1.

And don't get me started on the Hasselbeck "block below the waist". Gimme a break.

Now they just give Pitt a TO after the play clock has run out. Close, but it was zero.

by Orothar (not verified) :: Sun, 02/05/2006 - 11:59pm

This is horse crap. Does Pit think the officiating was bad against them in the Indy game?? This is beyond rediculous.

I've watched MULTIPLE IDENTICAL plays on which the Hawks were called for penalties and the Steelers were allowed to play. That "block bellow the waste" which Hasslebeck got called on - which was a TACKLE - was mirrored by a Steelers player in the backfield on the Randel El reverse. We get a penalty on our version of the play (which was a TACKLE) Steelers get a touchdown on their version of the play (which was a BLOCK BELLOW THE WASTE).

The "pass intereference" we got called on in the first half was a TOUCHDOWN. And I saw an IDENTICAL push off by a Steelers reciever for which he was not called. Result? Steelers convert to a first down and were stuck with a field goal instead of a touchdown and momentum.

I've seen holding that wasn't holding called on HUGE Seahawks plays (that pass to the 5 yard line just before the last interception was called back on a non-existent hold). And I've seen Steelers hold guys on big plays on not get called.


Don't even know why they played it.

And don't even bring up that non-existent Rothles-whats-his-@#%^^ "touchdown" in the first quarter.

Absolutely the WORST officiating in any playoff game so far.

Absolutely the worst.

I cannot believe how bias this was. It's sad to see a game ruined by poor officiating.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:02am

Orothar, I completely agree. This is what I just posted on my own website:

Wow, this is turning into the worst reffed Superbowl I've ever seen. It's not that there are a huge number of bad calls, but that so many questionable to moderately bad calls that completely favor one team:

Push offs: Darrel Jackson called for Off Pass Interference in the end zone to negate a TD, Hines Ward a bit of a push on a Seattle blitz a drive or two later to convert a key 3rd down.

Holding: hold on Seattle's RT takes the ball away from 1st and goal at the 1. Instead Hasselbeck gets picked a few plays later and gets called for a ridiculous block below the waist AS HE MAKES THE TACKLE on the return. Next drive, Hines Ward grabs a bit of Jersy to hold back a player on the 3rd down Roethlisberger QB draw to convert a 3rd down right before the Randel El to Ward TD pass. It wouldn't have affected the outcome of the play, but it was there and was as much of a hold as the Seattle play.

Down by contact: Hasselbeck's scramble. They got this one back on replay, but it was a bad call made on the field.

Delay of game. Pitt gets a TO on their next drive just AFTER the play clock hits zero. Close, and this call does usually go in the offense's favor, but I still think it was a bad call.

Now maybe I missed something, but has Pitt had any call like this go against them this game, or even a bad non-call hurt them? Chime in guys.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:07am

One more thing, I don't know if the Roethlisberger TD run was in or not, but it wasn't off by more than an inch either way, so I'll give the benefit of the doubt there. However, it was just one of the first in a string of debatable calls in Pitt's favor.

On a good note, it's nice to know that even though Pittsburgh won, our new friend Dutch was completely wrong about why they were able to win, as it was a team effort that got it done IN SPITE of Roethlisberger's play (43% completions, 0 TD passes, 2 INTs, and a whopping 5.9 yards per attempt).

by Hochuli (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:14am

Yeah, even cheering (mildly) for Pitt its seems that they got incredibly favorable calls. I pretty much agree with what Arkaein said, just wanted to say something before the Steeler fans jumped all over those guys for making excuses for Seattle.

by CoreyG (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:17am

I'm not a fan of either team, but it seems that there was an extremely strong Pittsburgh bias when it came to the officiating.

Also, can hitting the pylon with a foot establish possession in-bounds?

by Hochuli (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:20am

Oh and also wanted to ask whether anyone else thought that there was a missed horse collar tackle on Alexander on the run after the questionable holding call on Locklear (the play before the INT). I thought so, and some of my buddies did too, but we seem to be pretty split. It looked as though Porter (I think) grabbed Alexander by the shoulder pad by his neck, yanking him down backwards, snapping his him backwards. Which is what I thought a horse collar was.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:23am

Re 180, not after your other foot has come down out of bounds and it looked to me like that is what happened. (warning: following sentence does not show up very often in these threads) However, I may be wrong.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:28am

I was a bit worried that I was injecting a bit of my own bias into my observations since I predicted a (narrow) Seahawks victory, but the thing that confirmed it for me was the fact that Michaels, Madden, and the halftime analysts all seemed to think that the Jackson TD should have counted, and the fact that Michaels and Madden pointed out the low block on the INT return as well.

Announcers will as a rule never say outright that the officials are doing a bad job, but they never pointed out any corresponding plays that hurt the Steelers.

To all the Steelers fans out there, I also want to let you know that I've got nothing against you or your team, which very well might have won if the game had been called better, so go ahead and enjoy it. At least they got the MVP right, I was going to break something if they gave it to Roethlisberger.

As far as Superbowl Keep Choppin' Wood, I expect Jeramy Stevens to win by unanimous acclimation. 3 drops, every one of which was largely responsible for stalling a drive. The TD was a bit of redemption, but not enough.

by TimmyG (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:32am

Regarding Stevens:

Worth noting that when he finally DID catch a ball (at the 1-yard line), the play was called back. Maybe he had the right idea all along...

by Galen Osier (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:32am

Well, enough about the officiating has been said so I won't really get in to that. Two things:

1:Hochuli: Yes, I saw that horse collar as well. I have never seen that penalty called. If they aren't going to enforce it, get it off the books.

2: Did anyone else hear Cowher ask "Where's Mike?" after the game? I think he was looking to speak to Holmgren. Does anyone know if they got together or not? I would imagine Holmgren didn't feel much like congratulating anyone after the oficiating debacle.

by CoreyG (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:33am

On Willie Parker's TD run, aren't they supposed to call a penalty for unnecessary diving into the end zone or am I mixing up the NFL and college rules?

by FastEddy (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 1:09am

Not a big fan of either team, although I was hoping for a good, close, interesting game. It was none of those things. It wasn't particularly well played, especially in the first half.

But most of all the officiating was horrific. I agree with every single comment I've read on this thread - the nullified Seattle TD was definitely a TD, the horsecollar should have been called, and so forth and so on. Just terrible.

Gotta give Cowher credit for calling that TD pass by Randle El. But also have to say that getting Ben to throw on 3rd down when they were up 14-3 was nuts. The pick changed the flow of the game. Yeah, Ben should never have thrown that ball, but the call was crazy.

Overall, one of the least interesting Supes I've ever seen, and combined with the officiating, just a train wreck. They've GOT to do something about the officiating for big games like this. I can't believe Ed Hoculi would have officiated this badly.

by someone (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 1:33am

Wonderfully interesting analysis. But you got the biggest prediction of the year wrong as well. Oh no, one of you predicted Pittsburgh would win, but got it wrong as to whether they'd cover the spread.

Looking forward to that pay-section on handicapping next year. Good luck with that.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 1:53am

Wonderfully interesting analysis. But you got the biggest prediction of the year wrong as well. Oh no, one of you predicted Pittsburgh would win, but got it wrong as to whether they’d cover the spread.

Looking forward to that pay-section on handicapping next year. Good luck with that.

You never see this stuff in the preseason. Is there some connection between hindsight and bravery?

by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 2:08am

I'd like to see the DVOA of the game.

I'd think the Seattle running game scored high there and the total DVOA was about even, w/ Seattle's 1st half DVOA way higher.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 2:52am

Look, the NFL definitely had no interest in letting Seattle win the Super Bowl if it could help it, but the officiating was not as bad as it's been most of the postseason. The only really bad call was the ridiculous personal foul against Hasselbeck. The no-call on Ward's push off was bad too, I suppose.

I guess what makes this such an easy thing to complain about -- and I'm not saying those of you who are complaining are wrong -- is that so many of the little questionable calls went in Pittsburgh's favor.

It ain't as bad as Seattle fans think, nor as clean as Pittsburgh fans think. That the NFL has its officials do what they can to influence the outcome of important games in the favor of the more profitable team seems pretty obvious to me, but there were no egegrious examples the likes of we saw three weeks ago when the league was desperately trying to get the Colts to the Super Bowl.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 3:17am

Re: 191

I'm a biased Pittsburgh homer, but I find the idea that the NFL is telling its refs to lean one way or the other highly suspect. I also don't think there was any fix in against the Steelers vs. Colts.

Now, as for this game's calls:

The OPI in the end zone was clearly a push-off IMO. If the rule exists, that's gotta be called. Jackson pushed Hope, forcing his momentum away from the play, moved two steps to his left and catches the pass. I don't recall the Ward push-off (I'm a homer, as I said above, and, to be fair, I didn't notice the Jackson push-off in real time), but perhaps it wasn't done right in front of a ref like the Jackson one was. OPI is so rarely called that it probably needs to be obvious to be called

The hold - I think it was technically a hold, as the RT had his arm still obstructing Haggans once Haggans got past him. That's sometimes not called, but by the letter of the law it should be. You block a player by keeping him in front of you and keeping yourself between him and the ballcarrier, not keeping him to your side or slightly behind and keeping your arms around him, obstructing his path. That is, in fact, a hold.

Roethlisberger TD - It was very close question of if the ball broke the plane while Ben was in the air. If he had been called down initially, then I think it would've been upheld as well.

Low block on INT return - yeah, that was a blown call.

Honestly, I think the officiating in this game was alright. It wasn't perfect, but it never is. Its usually luck as to which way the bad calls go, and this game, whatever luck there was unfortunately mostly went against Seattle. That's the nature of the game, though, and a team has to overcome that from time to time. Ultimately, I think the Steelers were the better team today, and deserved to win. I'd hope that, after passions calm down, Seattle fans would be able to agree, and hope we'll see each other in Miami next year.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 3:41am

Re: 192

I wouldn't accuse the officials of being deliberately biased, but I am forced to conclude that they were intimidated by all the terrible towels in the stands at a supposedly neutral site. I'd also be willing to bet they may have been a little caught up in all the Bettis hagiography.

Speaking as a Lions fan, I thought the officiating was pretty biased in favor of the Steelers. I wanted a titanic clash between two evenly matched teams and I honestly think I was denied by the refs inserting themselves into the game. What I saw was alot of the Seahawks getting flags and then watching the Steelers do the same penalties and not getting flagged for it. And I'm not buying that the officiating didn't matter. The Seahawks were manhandling the Steelers in the first half and the penalties cost them at least one TD and probably another (a hold that called back a play that ended within the 5 yd line). The officiating completely turned the tide.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 4:03am

You'll have to review this in super slo-mo on your Tivo's, but Darrell Jackson was robbed of a touchdown on that play where the officials ruled he only had one foot in-bounds. (This happened with about 1:13 left in the 2nd quarter)

If you watch the play again, Jackson's left foot is inbounds when he catches the ball, and as his right foot crosses past the pylon, the pylon begins to fall down. That means he at least grazed the pylon with his second foot. This should have been a touchdown, or at the very least, a challenge should have been called down from the booth.

Just one of a series of bad breaks for Seattle.

by Subrata Sircar (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 4:15am

The one blown call that went Seattle's way was Stevens' non-fumble on the sidelines; he caught the ball, turned, took a step and a half, and got crushed by Chris Hope. That's a fumble, and it didn't look like it was going out of bounds.
The call that proves I don't apparently understand the rules is Hasselbeck's non-fumble. The guy fakes past a linebacker, who grabs his jersey and lets go as he's diving. He hits the ground with no one touching and the ball pops out, but it's not a fumble? He couldn't have gotten up and run the ball further, a la Marvin Harrison? Later on, when a Seahawk player rolled over a Steeler and landed on his feet, my first thought was "If he now falls down, is he down? How long do you have stay upright before falling down doesn't end the play?"
That said (and I'm a Steelers' fan), the 15-yard penalty on Hasselbeck looked wrong to me. The OPI call on Jackson looked very dicey to me too, as I'm positive I've seen that sequence go uncalled before. Big Ben's touchdown ... I don't seen how any replay would have overturned that.
The Steelers were clearly outplayed in the first half, and were lucky to be winning rather than down 14-10, say. The big difference in the game was the Steelers coming out in the second half and getting the Parker touchdown, followed by the 50-yard miss by Brown.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 4:28am

Re: 195

Actually, I agree that Stevens fumbled... but the ball was rolling out of bounds and probably would have made it before a Steeler got there, so it should have been about a 25-yard first down for the Seahawks. :)

Regarding the Hasselbeck non-fumble: Hasselbeck wouldn't have lost his balance and fallen down if the contact hadn't spun him around slightly. Then when he falls, first his knee hits, then his right elbow, then his left elbow, then the ball pops out.

I'm inclined to agree that there wasn't enough evidence to turn over Ben's TD, but that wasn't one of the calls you will hear me complaining about.

by dutch (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 5:18am

Steelers win by 11 exactly as i call it and exactly as I said they would. If you don;t beleive me, please give me youremail and i will send you the links of the board where i post my plays. Clearly the Hawks were goingto play more zone and take away some things from roethlisberger. But again as isaid the hawks would not be able to stop Pitt's run game wit ha seven man front. Just for the record, both parker and bettis went over their prop numbers for rushing yards. Also clearly alexander was not able to get inot the endzone dueto the Steelers great run defense. The MVP had no scores nd was held under 100 yards as Iexpected. Also You laughed at my opinion that Seattle would not be ready for Pittsburgh's physicality and certainly you saw that with all the penalties. Hopefully some of you will admit your wrong on here, but I doubt it. A any point I am 11-0 SU and 10-1 ats this playoff season. tAKE CARE, SEE YA NEXT YEAR.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 5:43am

I bet your insightful YPP metric called the shank job the refs pulled, too, right?

We didn't laugh at your opinion, we laughed at you.

by Vince (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 5:44am

You laughed at my opinion that Seattle would not be ready for Pittsburgh’s physicality and certainly you saw that with all the penalties.

Actually, no. Go back and watch the big hits, Seattle was ROCKING the Steelers.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:11am

Dutch, I do expect to see you next year, and I expect you and your big mouth to take me up on my proposition to show off your 75% ATS picking skillz. For now, go ahead and email me that link. arkaein@monsterden.net. Personally I don't don't buy your story, And I'd say I have better odds of never getting that link than you do of picking 55% ATS in your best season.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:17am

Congrats to the Steelers and their fans on a terrific year. That said, I feel realy bad for Seattle and their fans. The officiating was terrible. The Roethlisburger 'TD' was particularly bizzare to the point of inspiring conspiracy theories.

The linesman is clearly running in to mark Big Ben short of the goal line. Roethlisburger (while laying on the ground) then shuffles the ball from his stomach (well short of the goal line) to his his shoulder (on the goal line) - in clear view of the linesman! The linesman then raises his arms to signal touchdown. Unfreakingbelievable.

Unless this dude believes that Big Ben was somehow levitating a half inch off the ground it's impossible for me reconcile what I saw.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:57am

took a step and a half, and got crushed by Chris Hope. That’s a fumble, and it didn’t look like it was going out of bounds.

I thought it took 2 steps to be a football move, so it wasn't a fumble.

I think I'm done wiht the NFL, the officials ruined a great game.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:43pm

On the Chris Hope hit on Stevens (this is Stevens first drop we're talking about, right?), this one looked pretty dodgy to me at first, but on the replay from the endzone camera it looked pretty clear that as Stevens was turning upfield, right shoulder first, that the ball was already coming up high onto his shoulder pads, and even without being hit he would likely have at least bobbled it if not dropped it completely.

I'd have to see it again to be sure, but that's waht I remember from a pretty careful look a the initial replay. Given his other drops, along with the way Stevens looked like he was hanging on for dear life for the TD catch, a bobble before the hit seems likely.

by Aaron Boden (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 12:47pm

I just want to add, and I don't think anyone has mentioned it, the Steelers did not beat the Seahawks, the Seahawks lost the game all on thier own. The refing problems have been already been discussed but Seattle really beat themselves. They were able to move the ball on Pitt almost at will and thier drives only stalled because of dropped balls or overthrown passes, not good defensive coverage. I second whoever nominated Jeramy Stevens for the keep choppin wood award, and would like to add Daryl Jackson to make it a combo. Those two, more than anyone else gave the win to Pitt. In the interest of full disclosure I am neither a 'hawks fan or a stillers fan and I found I was thouroughly bored by the game. Chris called it a great game ruined by the refs. I disagree. It was a bad game ruined by the teams. I found it even more boring than last year between the eagles and the pats (which really stunk too).

by dutch (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 6:06pm

I sent you some links

by Subrata Sircar (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 6:35pm

Re: 204
"...They were able to move the ball on Pitt almost at will and thier drives only stalled because of dropped balls or overthrown passes, not good defensive coverage."
I'll quibble a little with this; the Steeler corners were clearly wary of the deep ball. Seemed like every time I saw Hasselbeck go deep, I saw a Steeler corner deeper than the target ready to smother that pass. That's good defensive coverage.
Now, why Hasselbeck didn't take the short patterns that the Steelers seemed to give him all game, I'm not sure; I'd have to watch all the film. Certainly my first reaction was that the Steelers should jam the receivers more and give their rush time to apply pressure, counting on safety help, but the 'Hawks seemed to be keeping more players in to block, perhaps expecting exactly that, and the Steelers countered with something else.
I'd have to watch all the film, but it's certainly possible that the sloppy offensive play was caused by good defensive scheming, that forced both offenses out of their stride?

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:11pm

What's really funny? I bet that Ben's 9/21 with 2 INTs and 125 yards was better in terms of YPP than Hass's 26/49 TD/INT performance.

Boy, that's a good stat!

by JMM (not verified) :: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 12:11pm

Good guess. Better if you look at team play vs starting QB's.

21.......123......5.86 Ben
1.........43.......43 ARE
22.......166......7.55 Steelers
49.......273......5.57 Matt/Sea