The Pittsburgh Steelers have won five Super Bowls, tied with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers for the most among all NFL teams. And in beating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game Sunday 23-14 at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh earned its seventh Super Bowl berth, and second in the last four years.
On the other hand …
The Arizona Cardinals have been a doormat in this league basically since the franchise moved to the Desert Southwest 20 years ago from St. Louis. Before beating the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC wild-card game two weeks ago, Arizona had won exactly one playoff game since their most recent relocation. And before pulling off that stunning win at Carolina in the divisional round, the Cardinals hadn’t played for a league or conference title since losing the original Snow Bowl in Philadelphia 50 years ago.
And now, after outlasting the Eagles in the NFC championship game Sunday 32-25 at University of Phoenix Stadium, Arizona is on its way to its first-ever Super Bowl, in two weeks in Tampa.
Pittsburgh turned a tough trick in beating Baltimore three times this season. And the Steelers came through for their financial backers Sunday, covering the spread as 6-point chalk on the SportsInteraction.com NFL betting line when Troy Polamalu returned a Joe Flacco interception for a touchdown in the game’s waning moments.
Polamalu’s pick-six also sent the game over its total of 35.
The Cardinals, 3.5-point home underdogs Sunday vs. the Eagles, jumped out to a 24-6 halftime lead. But they blew that, and allowed Philly to grab a 25-24 advantage early in the fourth quarter. Veteran QB Kurt Warner then led Arizona on the most important drive for this franchise since Harry Truman was president, directing the Cards 72 yards down the field for the game-winning score.
That game also went over its total, which hovered right around 47.5 most of last week.
So Super Bowl XLIII – that’s 43, for all you non-Romans out there – matches second-year head coach Mike Tomlin and his Steelers, 10/1 choices on the SportsInteraction.com NFL futures board before the season started, against second-year head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his Cardinals, who were listed at upwards of 50/1 to win it all before and during the season.