You all may remember my Super Bowl prediction. You may also remember my good-natured fake rivalry with my Eagles-loving in-laws. Now, we've come close in 2004 with this thing actually being real. The Steelers and Eagles were in their respective conference's championship, one ass-whipping away from the Super Bowl. The Steelers, however, once again ran into the Patriots' dynasty and got their asses stomped. It sucked as a Steeler fan but was good for family harmony. We were all to spend Super Bowl Sunday in Taipei. It could've gotten really ugly.
But now it's looking like it may actually happen. We may, for the first time in NFL history, have a Turnpike Super Bowl. What is a brother to do?
The Eagles seem to have a much easier road. They have to go to Arizona to face the Cardinals, whom they plucked for Thanksgiving dinner. The Cards are a much better team. Kurt Warner's making it feel good again to be 38. Larry Fitzgerald (a Pitt alum, by the way) is simply a god. You can double- and triple-team him, and he'll still get the ball. And Anquan Boldin's looking like he'll be healthy to line up on the other side. Philly's going to have its hands full trying to stop the air attack. And Edgerrin James suddenly thinks he's still a premier running back.
Despite this and Arizona's defense suddenly earning its paycheck, I can't see Donovan and his Eagles losing this one. It's almost guaranteed that they'll be playing for the Vince Trophy.
The Steelers, on the other hand, have a much harder row to hoe. Sure, they've swept the Ravens during the regular season; but each game was a bloodbath, and the Steelers eked wins both times (a GW FG in OT the first game, and a GW TD with less than a minute remaining in the second). It was less of a sweep than a painstaking picking-up of each, individual piece of lint off the floor.
That Ravens defense is only second to ours, and they're insane. I mean, Ray Lewis has killed two people already. There's no telling what he'll do to get back to a Super Bowl before he retires. Fortunately for us, three starters (Leonhard, Rolle, and Suggs) will be out, but nothing stops the Raven D from swarming. They'll hardly be a pushover, and you've got to be careful anytime Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are on the field.
The other thing going in our favor is that Bal'mer has a rookie QB. History's against them. I'm thinking Joe Flacco is the real deal, but Big Ben went 13-0 during the regular season in his rookie year and still didn't make it to the Super Bowl. It'd definitely be a miracle if Flacco can lead the Ravens to the Trophy this year. But, then again, it was against 30 years of US foreign policy to conduct a war of occupation. History--like rules--is made to be broken.
Now, if all this stuff actually happens, and Pittsburgh and Philly fight for that Super Bowl ring (which would be the Steelers' sixth, by the way--the Eagles' first), this family is going to be in a lot of trouble. Nobody's going to be talking; grudges will last long; there could be blood.
Hey, I can respect the Eagles. I actually would like to see Donovan win a Super Bowl ring and tell those Philly fans where they can put it. But not on our backs!
Besides, family only goes but so deep. This is the Steelers, we're talkin' 'bout here! If the two PA teams actually do meet, my in-laws and I will probably have to agree to never talk about whatever happens in the game or just to never see each other ever again. Either way...