We will be previewing Super Bowl XLIII with extensive coverage leading towards the Big Game. Our goal is now to evaluate the potential Most Valuable Players (MVPs) of Super Bowl XLIII that will foreshadow the outcome of this Arizona Cardinals versus Pittsburgh Steelers Championship matchup. The selections combine the strengths and weaknesses of both teams, along with the long-standing trends and developments of the forty-two previous Super Bowls. The following five players represent our top choices for the MVP award and further serve as a preview to Super Bowl XLIII:
5: Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh Steelers Strong Safety
Troy Polamalu, along with Baltimore Raven Ed Reed is arguably the best safety in the National Football League. The perennial Pro Bowler tallied 7 interceptions during the 2008-2009 NFL regular season and has earned the green light privilege to roam freely throughout Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defensive schemes to wreak havoc. Polamalu is revered for his top-notch football awareness, overall speed, and jarring hitting ability. His outrageous, free-flowing locks of hair that remain unsheared over the past 7 years highlight these talents.
#43 is able to cover tremendous amounts of football gridiron ground. Polamalu will cover receivers, mix it up with Larry Fitzgerald, blitz the quarterback, and cheat towards the line of scrimmage to make stops in the running game.
Of course, the deck is obviously stacked against all defensive players in terms of garnering the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Trophy. The MVP award has fallen to the defensive side of the football upon only 8 out of 42 Super Bowl occasions.
Polamalu must completely dominate the game from the defensive backfield by filling his stat sheet with an impressive combination of interceptions, tackles, pass deflections, fumble recoveries, and even one touchdown return.
Polamalu will vie with Pittsburgh Steeler teammate James Harrison for defensive player of the game. Troy Polamalu has the edge; as the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary versus Larry Fitzgerald matchup is a key battle set to determine the ultimate result of Super Bowl XLIII.
4: Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver
The Super Bowl XLIII MVP Trophy will represent a “lifetime” 2008-2009 NFL Playoff career achievement award for Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinal wide receiver has been unstoppable throughout these playoffs – torching opposing secondaries for a remarkable 23 catches, 419 yards, and 5 touchdowns that trumps the output of all receivers in the history of the NFL Playoffs. Fitzgerald has dominated every single game.
Although defenses already recognize that the football will be thrown to Fitzgerald on key third-down plays and backbreaking bombs – the opposition has been rendered hapless to stop the inevitable. Larry Fitzgerald cannot be stopped – he can only hope to be contained.
Certainly, the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive brain trust will devise schemes to intimidate and obliterate Fitzgerald out of his game. The likely commitment to Larry Fitzgerald will create holes in the defense to be exposed by Arizona number-two wideout Anquan Boldin.
Boldin has been remarkably quiet amidst these NFL Playoffs and is due for a big game. Still, Fitzgerald remains Kurt Warner’s favorite target and is a threat to score from any place at any time. Larry Fitzgerald must be featured prominently in order for the Arizona Cardinals to win Super Bowl XLIII.
3: Kurt Warner – Arizona Cardinals Quarterback
Of course, Larry Fitzgerald cannot throw the football to his own self.
Kurt Warner is poised to distribute the ball evenly to running backs, tight ends, and his bevy of electric wide receivers. The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver trio of Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston all surpassed the 1,000-yard benchmark this season. The success of this group and the Cardinals second-ranked passing attack is largely attributable to Kurt Warner.
Kurt Warner has been here before.
The flame throwing quarterback has been to the Super Bowl three times, already claiming one championship and Super Bowl XXXIV MVP Trophy. Kurt Warner, 37 has thrown for nearly 30,000 yards throughout his career and has already entered the Hall of Fame conversation. The architect of “The Greatest Show on Turf” has taken his show on the road to Arizona and continues to dazzle fans with his quick release and quarterbacking precision.
The Arena Football League star and former grocery bagger has indeed come a long way and represents all that is good in Sport. Certainly, one more Super Bowl MVP Trophy will deliver Kurt Warner as a bronzed bust at Canton.
2: Willie Parker – Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back
Offense is the best defense to counter against a talented offense and Fast Willie Parker figures to be featured prominently in the game plan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh must control the clock and speed up the game to relegate Kurt Warner and his high-octane offense to the spectator role. A strong running attack is critical and represents yet another hallmark of traditional Steeler Football.
The former Tar Heel electrified the Steeler faithful with his 75-yard touchdown sprint to open Super Bowl XL at Detroit versus the Seattle Seahawks. Still, the young running back was overshadowed and largely viewed as a patient understudy to Detroit’s legendary Jerome Bettis at that time.
Willie Parker is The Man now.
The 2006-2007 Pro Bowl selection has recently returned to healthy form coming off his disappointing 2008 regular season campaign that had been marred by injury. Prior to the NFL Playoffs, the fleet-footed, slashing back visibly lacked the powerful burst and top-line speed that is essential to his game. Parker served notice to the League versus the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. His workhorse NFL Playoff January 11, 2009 27 carry, 146 yards rushing, and two touchdown performance galvanized the Steelers and proved that he is indeed, back.
Willie Parker is ready to accept the challenge and carry the load.
1: Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback
Super Bowl XL is a bittersweet memory for Ben Roethlisberger.
Although his Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious, the second-year quarterback struggled to the worst performance of a winning quarterback in Super Bowl history. The Steelers won with defense and an effective rushing attack, despite Big Ben’s gruesome 9-21 for 123 yards with 2 interceptions disastrous Super Bowlmeltdown. Still, Roethlisberger’s short NFL career proves that he is a winner. Roethlisberger is the youngest starting quarterback to earn fifty victories and his ninth-ranked career 89.4 passer rating rivals all great quarterbacks.
The competitor is seeking both the quarterback pantheon respect of his Manning-Brady contemporaries and his rightful place beside Terry Bradshaw in the hearts of Steeler Nation.
The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive playbook has been tailored to accommodate Big Ben’s skill set since his 2006 Super Bowl XL game and the ironic departure of then offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to the Arizona Cardinals. The massive 6-5 240 pound quarterback masterfully evades tacklers to keep plays alive and demonstrates the arm strength to rifle bullets into the hands of Pittsburgh receivers.
The complimentary offensive firepower serves as testimony to the flexibility of this proud franchise that will stop at nothing in order to win. The traditional Pittsburgh Steelers are also capable of employing three and four-receiver shotgun spread packages with their effective receiving corps featuring Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and third option Nate Washington. The versatile Heath Miller serves as the security blanket underneath – posting 48 catches and 514 yards during the regular season.
Pittsburgh must convert third downs, move the chains, control the clock, and put points on the board to neutralize the powerful Arizona Cardinals offense.
Big Ben is at the controls, seeking to convert the Big Game as a Terrible Towel coronation event for his ball club. Ben Roethlisberger is set to deliver the sixth Super Bowl championship to the city of Pittsburgh as the Super Bowl XLIII MVP.
2009 Super Bowl XLIII Preview and Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 27 – Arizona Cardinals 17.