Tag:Super Bowl XLIII
Posted on: January 19, 2009 11:29 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2009 11:49 pm

Ravens AFC Champions Gear For Sale!

Yeah, you read that right.  Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blogs today that the NFL Shop still has a link that's seemingly active where one can purchase an assortment of Baltimore Ravens 2008 AFC Champions merchandise.

What?  No, your eyes are not playing a trick on you.

Personally, I'd go for the "AFC Conference Runners Up Faux Leather Helmet," a relative steal at $36.99 + tax and postage!

And the Runners-Up Tapestry Throw is guaranteed by NFL Shop to be more accurate than a Joe Flacco throw!  $39.99 + tx & post.

Don't forget the lady in your life with the Women's Ray Lewis Super Bowl XLIII Replica Jersey.  She won't know it's a replica, guys, so you'll save a bundle with that $64.99 price tag as she'll think it's one of the authentic models.  And, really, what player endears himself more to the NFL's female demographic than Ray Lewis?

Man, Baltimore could have really rubbed it in Pittsburgh's face had they actually won...with this item, the Trophy Towel.  If I were a Ravens' fan, I'd order a hundred of these today, hopefully the league would give me a nice bulk discount.

And yeah, I realize all this crap is probably available over at the Steelers page on NFLShop.com.  But these items are funnier because, well, the Ravens lost.

I love Chuck's take on it, too.  This stuff may end up as part of a shipment of donated goods.  It's always interesting to read those stories about the unused/loser of the championship gear.  Everytime one of my friends or relatives travels to some exotic faraway place, I tell them to be on the lookout for things like this.  If someone ever spots a 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates NL Champions cap or t-shirt, by all means I want to know!

Posted on: January 19, 2009 2:12 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2009 2:23 pm

Bye Week: Will It Slow Down the Cardinal Express?

The always-grueling Super Bowl bye week may turn out to hurt Arizona, big time.  The general consensus in sports suggests that when you are that hot, you do NOT want to wait that long to play again.  Moreover in this case give Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau that much more time to devise a strategy to shut down your potent offense. Advantage, Pittsburgh.

In better news for players on both teams, it seems that the media for the next two weeks will be focused squarely on the coaching matchup.  Even in the week leading up to the AFC and NFC Championship games yesterday, some were anticipating some kind of grudge match pitting Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm's Cardinals vs. The Rooney Family and Mike Tomlin's Steelers.  Whisenhunt did say after the NFC game but before the Steelers-Ravens game that he preferred to face Pittsburgh.  But he said so more out of respect. He knows that he wouldn't be a head coach anywhere without his time on Bill Cowher's staff.  Sure, he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh, in part so that he didn't have to move his family cross country.  But I honestly don't think Whisenhunt can actually be upset by the Rooneys' decision and certainly not upset at Mike Tomlin in particular.  If anything, maybe he should be upset at Bill Cowher.  I mean, Cowher certainly seemed to earn the ability to name his successor like all these college coaches with much less success.

Regarding Whisenhunt, this suggests two possibilities: 1) Cowher didn't go to bat for Whisenhunt--or Grimm, we have to consider as well--in large part because he had loyalty to both Grimm and Whisenhunt or 2) Cowher's influence in the Rooney "circle of trust"-- to borrow a term from retired CIA Agent Jack Burns in Meet the Parents--wasn't all that great.  Ultimately, the fact that both Grimm and Whisenhunt were vying for the job led the team to go in another direction entirely.  Easier to do that and create something new than split your old loyalty.  You see this in lots of things in life.  I've been at companies where two middle managers are vying for an open upper-level position and the top brass ultimately brings in someone from outside.

Getting back to the point, all this attention given to the coaching matchup will give the players much less time in the spotlight, and should make their preparations for Super Bowl gameday much more efficient and focused.

One random concern I have about the Steelers is the location for this Super Bowl XLIII.  Tampa Bay and its beaches are, shall I say, a bit more lively than Detroit where they played SBXL.  I hope that the players still on the team from that season don't go crazy at the clubs this time 'round.  They may want to stick it to the NFL after being stuck in Motown back in 2006!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com