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Super Bowl XLIII promises to excite

The playoffs are over. Only two teams remain in the running, with one last game separating them from the championship title, the legendary Super Bowl. This year, it will be the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals made it to the NFC Championship after holding off the Philadelphia Eagles 32-25 on their home turf. Their win was undoubtedly the biggest surprise of this football season, as the Cardinals have never made it to the Super Bowl before in their franchise history and were one of the lowest-ranked teams going into the playoffs. Despite this background, the Cardinals were able to overpower the Eagles’ defensive line and quickly took a commanding lead, which they held for the majority of the game.

Senior Erik Curtis was shocked by the Eagles’ defense’s lackluster performance. “I was honestly surprised, considering how strong they’d been over the last few weeks,” he said. This poor defensive performance allowed the Cardinals to rack up three touchdowns in the first half alone.

“It’s a blowout, and I really don’t feel like watching more of this if they [the Eagles] keep playing like this,” Garrett Savidge, a first-year student and committed Eagles fan, said at halftime. The Eagles managed to rally back in the third quarter, but were unable to keep the Cardinals from victory.

The showdown between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens was a complete about-face from the Eagles-Cardinals match. The division rivals both featured rock-solid defenses, making it difficult for either of them to move the ball. In the end, the Steelers offense proved to be stronger, enabling them to score two field goals and a touchdown in the first half compared to the Ravens’ single touchdown.

“I’m not expecting them to win this game, but at the rate they’re going, there’s still a remote shot,” junior Ben Guiles said of his beloved Ravens’ at halftime. The Ravens never really found their stride until the second half, but it still was not enough, and the Steelers muscled their way to victory.

So now it’s Cardinals vs. Steelers, a Super Bowl newcomer vs. a five-time champion. Who will win? Certainly, the Cardinals have been the NFL’s cinderella team this year. Their performance appears to improve with every game, but they entered the playoffs with a 9-7 record, compared to the Steelers’ 12-4 mark. In addition, the Steelers have a proven history of being among the best in the NFL, with their defense being ranked at No. 1 for the 2008 season. Still, the Cardinals have strengths of their own.

“Their passing game is unreal,” Curtis said. When it comes down to it, Curtis said that he thinks the Cardinals have a slight edge. “They have a better offense, better playmakers, passing game, and they can make bigger plays down the field.”

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