Weekend Edition - Superbowl XLV

Ever wonder why the Superbowl is listed in "Roman Numerology" (present being "Superbowl XLV")?... You ought not have to think hard about that one... It's because WE're the friggin' ROMANS! (and this is our bread and circus)... You get DWTS, and AI to get you thru the rest of the year when there are not Martin Luther King days, Presidents days, Labor days & such where you can sit on your kiester and complain about how "tough" things are out there - ROR...



Alright - Before I get started, I have to give you my usual disclaimer that this NOT your ordinary "game analysis" type of a breakdown... Oh - I'll get to breaking down the game, but that'll be a bit towards the end (so if that's all you're interested in, just skip down a few paragraphs)... You gotta know by now that I'm the type that likes a little "texture" and "charred smoky flavor" to go along with things, so I'm going to start in my usual way of INSULTING EVERYONE ON THE PLANET before it's time to hand your REAL MONEY over to the cashier at the Sportsbook window and get that winning ticket in your greedy little hands... Note: This whole exercise, may come off a little random, so I'll just try to break it down into components (and task YOU with the job of figuring out how it all plays into the overall scheme)...

THE SPORTSCASTERS

Let me start by saying this... I'm going to try and SAVE you right now from an ALL-DAY SATURDAY & ALL-DAY SUNDAY (kickoff isn't until 6:30PM Sunday) MARATHON of listening to retard sports announcers who are going to tell you why the Packers or the Steelers are going to win the game...

If you think they're going to say something that ends up to be some kind of "missing piece", then I'm guessing that you go to Jim Cramer, the "Fast Money" crew, or Bill Miller for stock tips... I'm guessing you need Erin "B"-Cups to explain to you why the futures are pointing green in the morning... I'll break it down for you... All you're going to get is the Sportscasters version of "JBTFD", or that stocks rose on "THE ECONOMY"...

Here's quick rundown of the various networks...

NBC (Bob "Cost-Us" - Rodney Harrison - Tony Dungy - Al Michaels - Chris Collinsworth)

(only reason worth watching)
I'm not really sure where or if you'll see any of this crew (because FOX is doing the Superbowl this year)... Surely these guys will be around somewhere in Dallas though... This is the crew that does Sunday Night Football (first 3 in studio - Michaels & Collinsworth doing the play by play)...

Costas is a smug "know-it all" who thinks he could stand in the middle of any situation (political, social, or whatever), and break it all to you in a calm voice and tell you why you shouldn't be alarmed... As if to say "Don't be alarmed you dopey little pee-on, this is way out of your league. Just sit there in your comfy chair and listen to my silky voice while my massive brainpower breaks down the entire world for you and serves it in a single sound byte... Actually, that sounds a lot like "CV" doesn't it?... Well the difference is... I KNOW I'M A JERK... AND I ACT LIKE A JERK BECAUSE SOMETIMES THAT'S ENTERTAINING TO PEOPLE (like Laurel & Hardy, or the 3 Stooges)... Costas actually thinks he's saving the world... He has the same disease that Obama has...

I kind of like Tony Dungy (as a person), but he comes off bizzare on camera... You know there's some "thinking" going on there, but it never gets out because he tries too hard to be politically correct...

Rodney Harrison is a brute who has hardly an intelligent thought... Half the time, (because he was a Patriot while Dungy was the Colts head coach during that big rivalry over the past decade), Harrison stomps on something Dungy is about to say as if only to say "you were our bitchez", so STFU... So we're left with what nonsense Harrison spits out while Dungy just sits there and keeps his cool... Costas rarely interevenes in this cause he's probably off fixing his hair and articulating his alliterations... Harrison also has this irritating habit of standing there with his arms straight down (as if he's in a deep sea diving outfit or something)... Probably when he went to initial casting, he was too fidgety with his arms or something so someone told him to stay still... But it comically comes off as overkill the other way...

The BEST thing you can say for this crew is that they managed to boot Keith Olberman out of the studio this past season (before MSNBC "KO'ed" KO and his stupid show [which probably had 3 fans in the end; Thor, DSS, & Manny])...

Actually, by the time the games get started, Al Michaels & Collinsworth are pretty good... Al Michaels has legendary EMERITUS status as the guy who said "Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!" (when the US hockey team beat the Russians in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics)... Some around here weren't even born yet when that game happened, but it was a special moment at a special time...



BONUS HERB BROOKS (thank you - Kurt Russell)


AGAIN - (This is how it's done PEEPS)


All the "political" rewriting of history still doesn't detract from the emotion of that game or situation during a time when there was massive uncertainty in the country due to high inflation, poor job market, and Iranian revolutions & hostage crises (sound familiar)?...

Collinsworth is kind of a "know it all" type too, but he mostly keeps it to football and is, IN FACT, a pretty knowledgeable one when it comes to the game and its strategy...

I probably wouldn't be interested in ANY of these people's picks... Dungy & Harrison notoriously suck with their picks (but you have to weigh that in the context that the Superbowl is JUST ONE GAME - so maybe they'll luck out and get the right call)... Collinsworth, I'm afraid, tends to see the game from a lens of the receiver position he played... I'm sure he's going to end up saying that the whole game will ride on the success of Andrew Quarless (which may be a good point), but it's not the whole enchilada...

CBS (James Brown - Shannon Sharpe - Dan Marino - Boomer Esiason - Bill Cowher)

(We invest as much in our logo as we do in out on air talent)
This crew is utterly unwatchable... Thank GOD for "NFL Red Zone" (as a way to avoid watching these guys every Sunday)... It's just utter chaos with everyone talking over everyone else... You can't even understand Shannon Sharpe because he sounds like he's gargling marbles, Cowher is spitting all over the set, Marino is just trying to agree with everyone, Esiason is on crack & going ballistic every 10 seconds, and Brown is the only 600 pound person in history that manages to stay invisible until it's time to announce that they're going to commercial... I'm glad CBS isn't doing the Superbowl... Even MORE glad because, in the ultimate wisdom of CBS, we'd likely have a "CBS 60-minute" special to air right after the game which features an interview with THE BERNANK so he and his beard sit there and tell us how they're saving our veritable lives... At least with FOX we can dumb it down to American Idol... Oh... & the Obama - Bill O-Reilly halftime interview... That ought to be a hootinanny!

ESPN (Chris Berman - Keyshawn Johnson - Tom Jackson - Chris Carter - Mike Ditka) & cast of others Jaworski, Merrill Hoge, John Gruden)

The best thing about ESPN during the season is "C'MON MAN"... It's ironic that they do C'MON MAN because they might as well just point that lens at themselves (the same way CV ought to - but hey - this is just ENTERTAINMENT, right? right?)...:-)

I'll start by being nice here and say that this crew does the best job of "seeming" to work together as a team... I have to credit the experience of Chris Berman for that... He's probably the ONLY anchor that is deft at interaction... He's knowledgeable about the game, but he's also knowledgeable about studio dynamics... IOW, sometimes the discussions start to devolve into potential chaos, and Berman has a great way of bringing everything back together... This year was a particular example... It was REALLTYWEIRD to watch these guys as the Michael Vick thing was unfolding... You could really see the "race" issue bubbling up on many occasions... I used to really like Tom Jackson, but you could see on many occasions how indignant he became when issues like the treatment of Donovan McNabb, the Michael Vick story, and even Vince Young & his antics... It seemed like none of these stories would go away for weeks... It felt to me like something was about to tip over, but it never did... It came close though... What was kind of revealed to me was that Keyshawn, Carter, & Jackson were "brothers in arms" most of the time... But it was really only Jackson that bothered me... Mostly because Keyshawn is more concerned with just being an entertainer (which I like him for, because even though I don't share his views on many things - I do think he's entertaining)...

I got news for you people... Race, ethnicity, religion, politics, have been, and always will be a part of the human drama... Celebrating diversity doesn't mean that we all have to merge into the same endpoint (which ISN'T DIVERSITY at all)... It only means that we need to find humor & comraderie in our differences (which is the most sublime achievement of all)...

"Look! Bundt cake!"


Ditka is entertaining in another way... The fact that he cannot complete a sentence is hilarious... Anyway, he's the perfect guy to have against the others, otherwise that set may be chaos (like CBS)... And we now send you all off to glass eye Stuart Scott...

FOX (Terry Bradshaw - Howie Long - Jimmy Johnson - Michael Strahan - Curt Menefee)

(I thought these were the Howdy Doody auditions... How'd I end up on this set?)
Like it or not... This is what you're going to get for most of Sunday... (along with the Obama - O-Reilly halftime interview) & a bunch of promos for "The Simpsons", or whatever the most recent FOX animated schtick is... (Why don't they just have Bart Simpson interview Obama? Now THAT I would watch)...

I'm pretty sure Bradshaw is sloshed half the time he's on camera... These are all the "SUPERBOWL RING" cast... I suppose that's the FOX version of all PhD's and Nobel Prize winners in the top positions at the Fed and on the White House economic "dream team" (so you have that going for you)... I won't make any comments about JJ's hair, or Bradshaw or Strahan's gapped teeth other than to say that at least all these guys could get jobs on "Hee Haw" next year if the NFL decides to do a lockout... How ironic that the only "straight & serious" guy on this cast of potential "Hee Haw"-ers is named "HOWIE"...

All things considered, just be glad you're not getting Joe Theismann & Matt Millen (NFL Network)...

I'll end where I began by saying... If you're a little behind on your football knowledge, but need a crash course over the weekend to bring you up to speed (so you can "sound" knowledgeable about the game at the chip & beer table of your local party while you're scarfing down something bathed in melted Velveeta) ... Well - You could watch any number of these guys for some tips, but it would be like going to Bill & Ted (of "Excellent Adventure" fame) to do your history report...

Oh... & what about ABC...? Dude... Didn't you know that ABC & ESPN are both owned by Disney? I haven't checked, but ABC is probably running with the Pro Bowlers Tour (yeah - that ought to keep the beer sales brisk)...

---

So which team is going to win this thing?

Well... I'll start you off here... (The self proclaimed "EXPERT" picks - by ESPN)... Note: Those picks were only STRAIGHT UP picks to win the game (not against any point spread)... CV, in SU, picks of the same games was 7-3...


Merrill "Factor Back" Hoge... (4-6)... ROR

Elsewhere... You could consult the Mighty Madden '11 game simulation (which boasts of having picked 6 out of the last 7 Superbowl Winners)...


Here were the 6 they got right...

Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots 23, Panthers 20 (actual score: Patriots 32, Panthers 29)
Super Bowl XXXIX: Patriots 47, Eagles 31 (actual score: Patriots 24, Eagles 21)
Super Bowl XL: Steelers 24, Seahawks 19 (actual score: Steelers 21, Seahawks 10)
Super Bowl XLI: Colts 38, Bears 27 (actual score: Colts 29, Bears 17)
Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 28, Cardinals 24 (actual score: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23)
Super Bowl XLIV: Saints 35, Colts 31 (actual score: Saints 31, Colts 17)

They obviously had the Patriots to go (18-0), beating the New York Giants in Superbowl XLII, but missed on that prediction...

Let me do a quick review on the above, and then politely suggest to you that you can't just always read the instruction manual on things...

1. All those "predictions" were STRAIGHT-UP (not against the spread).
2. The Madden simulator had the Vegas favorites in all of the games except one (Saints-Colts). So how hard is it to take the FAVORITE on every occasion STRAIGHT-UP and be right? (at least that makes you slightly better than Merrill Hoge).
3. Lastly, I'm going to take exception to this years Madden simulation (read the game summary)...

It has Ben Rothleisberger hitting Mike Wallace on a 36 yard slant pattern with 1:20 to go, to give the Steelers a 4 point lead... The Packers then drive for what needs to be a TD in the end, but Rodgers gets picked off at the end (sounds A LOT like the Steelers-Cardinals game 2 years ago - only the Steelers late TD was a pass in the corner to Santonio Holmes)... Then Kurt Warner getting sacked on 4th down at the end...

Anyway... My problem is this... If the Steelers find themselves down 20-17 with 1:20 left (at the Green Bay 36 yard line), they're not going to be running any slant patterns to Mike Wallace... Or, if they do, Green Bay is still going to be in some kind of PREVENT package (probably a zone blitz - where they hope to free up a linebacker to get a clear shot at a sack - taking the Steelers out of FG range, or inviting a holding penalty - but otherwise don't get beat by anything vertical)... The Steelers, OTOH, aren't going to throw anything in the middle... They're more likely to go upstairs down the sidelines (using Mike Wallace), and hope to either beat someone, or get a defensive holding call (automatic 5 yards & first down)... With the entire defense playing deep and vertical, if Rothleisberger escapes the pocket he can run for a few yards and put them securely in FG range to tie the game and send it into overtime...

Whatever - I know it sounds silly arguing with a video game... But that's the story... I'm going to make a departure here and offer up another metaphor as to why IT'S DIFFERENT THIS TIME, and why, IMO, for this game, it's time to toss out any statistical crutches you may lean on to handicap... Handicapping isn't a SCIENCE... It's an ART...

ARMAGEDDON - (4:06 - 7:43) is the relevant sequence


Harry Stamper: "6 billion people on the planet... Why did you guys call me?"
Official: "You might recognize the rig"
Harry Stamper: "I guess I should recognize it... it's my design"
Truman: "You said we did a bad job of putting it together?"
Harry Stamper: "No... I said you did a PISS POOR job of putting it together... First of all you got the flow system all reversed... Let me guess... You've been tearing up rotors and you can't figure out why... Well, that's because your CAMS are all wrong Mr. Wizard... Who's been operating this thing?..."
Truman: "Well Mr. Stamper whaddya think?"
Harry Stamper: "You know drilling isn't a science... It's an ART... I'm a 3rd generation driller... Doin' it all my life and I still haven't figured it out... What's your BACKUP plan?
Truman: "We don't have a backup plan"
Harry Stamper: "You mean that this is the best you can... Jeez.. THE US GOVERNMENT can come up with?... I mean... you're NASA for crying out loud, you put a man on the moon... you're GENIUSES!... You're the guys THINKING SHIT UP!... I'm sure you got a team of men around just thinking shit up (and someone around backing them up)... You're going to tell me that these 8 boy scouts are the world's hope? That's what you're telling me?"

DRILL TIME (6:40 - 8:40)


Harry Stamper: "We're drilling thru some kind of metal I've never seen before... It's fried 2 of our drill bits and now we blew our 1st transmission"...
Colonel Sharp: "How deep are we?"...
Harry Stamper: "Not as deep as we'll be as soon as you stop asking me all these questions and help me load these transmissions"
Colonel Sharp: "What is our current depth?"
Harry Stamper: "Our current depth is not important Colonel"
Colonel Sharp (to NASA HQ): "Our current depth puts the drilling time to 4 hours past the zero barrier"
Harry Stamper: "What the hell is this?...Where did this come from?... Who are you talking to?..."
Harry Stamper: "Truman - THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DRILL... We cannot use your US AIR FORCE PERSONNEL ONLY DRILL TIME CARD... Who wrote this thing by the way?"
Truman: "We're not looking too good right now"...

Ah well... We'll get back to the "art" in a bit... But first I wanted to assemble a few things I read this week that I liked...

---hat tip "Sports Guy"---

Q: "How perfect would it be if Aaron Rodgers wins the Super Bowl? The storybook part is obviously that it would happen in the same season that Brett Favre experienced the ultimate fall from grace (personally, professionally, physically, photographically). The antagonist/protagonist contrast is brilliant too, as you're putting all-around good guy Aaron Rodgers against (insert insult here) Ben Roethlisberger. But the poetic part would be that it came on the heels of so much other self-serving nonsense in sports (The Decision? SpyGate II? Tiger? Favre? Big Ben?) If Aaron Rodgers wins, does he restore balance and order in the world? And if it does restore balance in the world, does that mean Megan Fox can get her old face back?"

-- Suneet, Charlotte, N.C.

SG: "If you believe there's a certain symmetry with sports, that things happen for a reason, that someone upstairs is pulling the strings with this stuff … I mean, wouldn't Rodgers polishing off Vick, Roethlisberger and Favre in the span of four weeks rank right up there? Like those last few holes when Phil Mickelson was closing in on the 2010 Masters jacket, or even the underdog Giants thwarting New England's 19-0 post-Spygate season, you can almost imagine choking on 500 columns Monday force-feeding the same "Rodgers atones for three NFL evils at once" angle. Personally, I could give a crap. I just want to see a good game. But the Favre angle is freaky. It's like the pilot of a new hard-hitting FX drama."

---Random thoughts I couldn't put elsewhere---

- People who paid $3,000 to attend the Super Bowl live will catch themselves watching large portions of the game on the giant TV screen inside the stadium


- In the lead-up to what is the greatest single testosterone-fueled event of the year, all of us super macho dudes will spend an inordinate amount of time fawning over, debating and analyzing the hairstyles of Troy Polamalu and Clay Matthews.
- Of course... The Black Eyes Peas will be performing at halftime... CV still wonders when they're going to change their name to the "Black Eyes Pees" to fully reflect their apparent wardrobe malfunction issues...



- Superbowl "commercials" have become a big part of this event... CV wonders, in our banana republic, what is there left to buy or sell? Can you buy beer, Doritos, & iPhones with food stamps?

- BJ Raji (the FREEZER), might, just might, have the chance to become this generations FRIDGE...


John Madden: "I love to see a fat guy score, because then you get to see a fat guy spike & a fat guy dance"

- We will see the running backs featured in this game and realize the NFL is officially a passing league. I will remember when Jerome Bettis almost fumbled away the Super Bowl and then wonder what ever happened to Willie Parker... (FANTASY owners - take note of what was written there... & remember that CV took Aaron Rodgers in the first round of this years fantasy league)...

- Pouncey-Legursky... I told ya so!... 2 weeks ago... But nobody ever listens to me... NICKLES bitchez!

---Interesting "prop" bets for the Superbowl (you can actually wager on these)---

 
My favorites...
 
LeBron James 1st Half Points vs. LA Clippers: -115

Green Bay Packers 1st Half Points: -115

Ha!... LeBron vs. the "Clippers" (the "B" team of Los Angeles)... My question is why the "Clippers" aren't called the "(B)LAKERS"...



What will Fergie be wearing when she first appears on stage during the Super Bowl Halftime Show?

Skirt/Dress: +110
Pants (Below Knees): +125
Shorts (Above Knees): +250
Thong/G-String/Bikini Bottom: +1000

Vegas missed an obvious Fergie option, though: Pants/Skirt/Shorts (peed).  -170
What will happen with the Dow Jones the day after the Super Bowl?

Market Up: -140
Market Down: EVEN

Once again, Vegas missed the obvious with this one: JBTFD -1000

THIS FRIGGIN' FAR CV??? AND YOU STILL HAVEN'T UTTERED ONE STINKIN' WORD ABOUT THE GAME???

THAT'S THE SUPERBOWL FOLKS... A BUNCH OF CRAP TO GET YOU ALL HYPED SO THAT BY THE TIME KICKOFF COMES - YOU'RE PASSED OUT BEFORE THEY FINISH SINGING THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER (Which is being sung by Christina Aguilera this year - there are even "prop bets" on the over/under of how long it'll take her to sing the song & prop bets on the O/U of how long she holds the note "BRAVE")... I kid you not!

I'll be back later with ALL my picks (game summary & prop bets)... Promise to have them up by this evening...

---GAME TIME BITCHEZ---

I'm going to start by either BLOWING UP (or UNDERLINING) the "CLASSIC" views I've heard over the past 2 weeks that made it CERTAIN that you should take one side or another...

BIG BEN is 10-2 in POST SEASON...

Sounds pretty convincing to me!!!... Let me whip out all my "benjamins" and put them on "BIG BEN" because he's 10-2 (and that's NO LIE)... But do you mind if I sift through that for a moment or two? Not that I dispute his TRACK RECORD, only that I want to see if there are any flaws with such an outright endorsement...

BIG BEN's POST SEASON RECORD

2005 (AFC Wild Card)
Steelers 20 - Jets 17

Jets kicker, Doug O'Brien 2 missed fgs in the clutch (which could have sealed the game for the Jets)... Ben Rothliesberger (in his rookie year), tossed two picks (one, a pick "6"), in the final stretch, but it seemed FATE would deny him of his GOATMANSHIP (which instead, was honored upon Doug O'Brien)...

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter at 20%  (1-0)

2005 (AFC Divisional)
New England 41 - Steelers 17

Here... I'll just let you read...

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter at 0%  (1-1)

 
2006 (AFC Wild Card)
Steelers 31 - Bengals 17

This was the game that the Steelers defense sent Carson Palmer out of the game early with tore knee ligaments... After reviewing that play, the NFL (the next year) began the first step towards what evolved in to "the BRADY RULE"... IOW... It's OK if the Steelers put dirty hits on QB's, but if any other team sends another high profile poster boy who dates supermodels to the sidelines, we'll flag you fo it and FINE you... Lucky Steelers!

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter at 20%... How hard is it to win against a team playing a backup when the refs have your back?... (2-1)
2006 (AFC Divisional)
Steelers 21 - Indy 15

This is, of course, the famous "conservative" game wherby the Steeleres "managed" their offense & managed to throttle Peyton Manning & Co. for most of the game before all hell broke loose... There was the crazy Jerome bettis fumble play, and quick Indy scores, which almost ended up to be an Indy victory until "Van der Choke" sailed a FG attempt wide right in the end (which led to his sudden dismissal from theNFL and him becoming an alcoholic)

CV thus rates "Big Ben's"HERO meter around 20%... He had nothing to do with this win... (3-1)

2006 (AFC Championship)
Steelers 34 - Broncos 17

Alright... So the Steelers managed to take their "terrible towels" to Denver and defeat the WORLD BEATER Denver Broncos (led by "All World" QB Jake the Snake Plummer)... Let's put that achievement into the PANTHEON!

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO" meter around 50%... Mostly because of his perfectly deft handoffs to Jerome Bettis"... (4-1)

2006 (Super Bowl)
Steelers 21 - Seahawks 10

More massive "heroism"... 123 yards passing... All to Hines Ward... Controversial ref calls... 9 completions... It's hard to win a Superbowl as a QB without being MVP, but my man Ben has the knack...

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO" meter around 30%... Mostly because
Bill Cowher was smart enough to NOT let him throw the football... (5-1)

2008 (AFC Divisional)
Jaguars 31 Steelers 29

Ben Rothliesberger tosses 3 picks in the first half... Team tries to rally but fails...

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO" meter around 15%... The Steelers managed to rally and almost pulled out a win, but it was due to BB's "choke" factor that they found themselves in that predicament... (5-2)

2009 (AFC Divisional)
Steelers 35 - Chargers 24

8-8 Chargers... Playing on the road... You managed to beat a team that you were "supposed" to beat no problem... Congrats!

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter around 45%... Thank goodness you didn't totally FU!... (6-2)

2009
Steelers 23 - Ravens 14 (AFC Championship)

Rookie Raven QB Joe Flacco tossed 3 interceptions in this game... Including a "pick 6" in the last few minutes of the game that SEALED what was a 16-14 margin with a 23-14 win...

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter around 35%... for his unbelievable ability to deftly KNEEL DOWN on the last 2 plays of the game... Avoiding the Joe Pisarchick moment (7-2)

2009
Steelers 27 Cardinals 23

I really can't fault Big Ben for James Harrison's 100 yard interception return for a TD on the last play of the first half, OR, the miraculous catch that Superbowl MVP "Santonio Holmes" made in the end zone for the go ahead score... But I still gotta ask... Why, Big Ben, aren't you the MVP here?

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter around 65% (for keeping them in the mix against a team that they should have blown out by 2 TD's and some help by their defense)... (8-2)
2011
Steelers 31 Ravens 24

The Steelers were choking up the stadium (including a Big Ben fumble that the Ravens took in for a TD) until the Ravens gave up 3 turnovers themselves after halftime (when the Raven's were leading 21-7)...

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter around 40%... About 10% in the first half... Then, around 40% only because of managing to convert some crucial 1st downs at the end of the game... (9-2)
2011
Steelers 24 Jets 19

Here... Read it up for yourself... The JETS scored 19 unanswered points in the 2nd half (more on that subject later)...

CV thus rates "Big Ben's" HERO meter around 35%...(10-2)

I swear... I'm not even doing any math here, but off the "not reading instruction manual", "off the top of my dome" meter, Big Ben's HERO meter comes in at less than 50% (despite his gaudy 10-2 record)...

That's not saying ANYTHING other than "TAKE A DEEPER LOOK AT STATISTICS THAT YOU READ"... Things MAY, just be, DIFFERENT than what they appear to be on paper...

I have a lot of respect for what the STEELERS have accomplished as a franchise (mostly because a lot of it has been done at the expense of my beloved RAVENS in recent history)...

WELL IT's STILL A PRETTY GOOD RECORD

Sure it is... But then again, so is the post-season record of Trent Dilfer (4-0), and a Superbowl ring... Or how about Earl Morrall (4-1 as a starter)... 3 Superbowl rings (1 with Baltimore as a starter, 2 with Miami [as a back-up])...


Even Aaron Rodgers is 4-1 (playing every game thus far on the road)... And if you think a good playoff record and a few Superbowl rings are the key to success, you might want to take a look at Tom Brady... The "poster boy" for a QB who once boasted a fine playoff record, and has 3 rings... What has he done lately? I'll tell you... He's LOST his last 3 post seaspon games in a row. (Superbowl vs. NY Giants, at home to the Ravens last year, and at home to the Jets this year)...

I'd even argue that Brady got a lot of help from the leg of Adam Vinateiri (without whom the Patriots have not won a Superbowl since they let him go)... Somebody looking for an angle might take a look at the Steelers record with or without Troy Polamalu in the line-up, then compare it to when Rothleisberger is out... The Steelers are close to a .500 team when #43 is sitting... They manage to win games with or without Rothleisberger...

It's the same argument I make all the time about Michael Vick... Vick makes a lot of razzle dazzle plays... Rothleisberger too (in a different way because he's hard to bring down)... Both end up making "sandlot" plays that make the highlight reel... Where is Vick's Superbowl ring?

LET'S TALK ABOUT QUALITY WINS

The Steelers beat the Bengals & Browns (twice each), for 4 of their wins... Plus, they got to play the 1-15 Carolina Panthers at home, plus the Raiders & Bills at home... They beat the Dolphins on the road on a play that Rothleisberger fumbled the ball on the goal line as he was going in for the winning score... The play was reviewed and the Steelers got awarded another chance (only because an official had blown the whistle prior to the Miami defender recovering the lost ball)... It was one of the shadiest calls in the history of the NFL...

They managed to beat Tennessee & Tampa Bay on the road & Atlanta, in overtime, at home... All 3 of those games were when Rothleisberger was sitting due to his 4 game suspension...

Their losses came at the hands of Baltimore, the Jets, Patriots, & Saints... Detect a pattern here? They blow out crappy teams, and struggle with (or lose to) good teams...

WHAT ABOUT THE PACKERS?

Many probably forget that GREEN BAY (cruised thru preseason)... Aaron Rodgers was on fire, throwing 10 TD's with no picks (and that's only playing 2-3 posessions per game)... That is why CV made them my "pre-season" pick to go to the Superbowl, and drafted Aaron Rodgers for all my fantasy teams...

Then they started getting decimated with injuries (having as many as 16 players on "IR" during big chunks of the season)...
They lost a close game to the Bears early mostly due to bad play as they were trying out new running backs to fill in for Ryan Grant... They lost games to Miami & Washington in (overtime)... The Washington game, Rodgers suffered a concussion... On the road, in Atlanta, they basically had a game taken away from them as a catch which was not a catch, was ruled a catch on 4th down, and the Falcons scored on the next play before halftime... There was also a goal line fumble that created a 14 point swing the other way... They lost to the Lions (when Rodgers went down with a 2nd concussion), and lost the very next week in New England (with Matt Flynn), in a game they almost won, as Flynn had them near the goal line at the end of the game for a go ahead score, but ran into clock issues...

The bottom line is, with all the adversity, the injuries, the concussions, the poor officiating, Green Bay overcame that & won when they had to (including BOTH games against Brett Favre - which is important to them)... Then, basically facing single elimination the rest of the way thru... Took down the Giants - Bears - Eagles - Falcons - & Bears again in succession (last 3 on the road)...

WHAT ABOUT THE COACHES?

I think both teams have fine coaches... Mike McCarthy is a very good "playcaller"... I wouldn't put Mike Tomlin in the pantheon of good gameplanners (not to say he's not prepared), but I think he's just more of a good leader (that his players will play hard for)...

McCarthy is a little like Sean Peyton in a sense that he'll find some "trick" to exploit you with (like when the Saints did the ONSIDE kick to open up the 2nd half last year)... With McCarthy it's not necessarily a special teams play, but it's more some wrinkle in the offense (a set that they use for one purpose - then all of a sudden do something completely different)...

Tomlin doesn't panic... As much as the Steelers win, they often find themselves behind the 8-ball and have to pull out a victory... The Steelers can blow teams out as well, but as stated above, the Steelers aren't really built to blow out good teams... And on the occasions that that might happen, it's usually because the other team self destructs... In it's two playoff games, the Steelers found themselves down by 14 points at halftime to the Ravens... The Ravens shot themselves in the foot with 3 turnovers in the 2nd half... The Jets played poorly and staked the Steelers to a 24-0 lead... But let's not forget that the last 19 points scored in a Steeler game were AGAINST them (as the Jets climbed back into the ballgame)...

So when I look at all these tendencies, one thing that jumps out at me is that what can give the Steelers fits are good teams, that are led by QB's that read the field quickly and get the ball out of their hand fast... Both Drew Brees & Tom Brady come to mind (& both toppled the Steelers)...

The Ravens & Jets won too (but then the Steelers split games with them)... It's because the Jets & Ravens try to line up toe to toe and play defense and come at you with a running game... Whoever is more physical, and gets the critical plays in that mosh pit, usually wins the game...

The Packers don't have to worry about slugging it out with the Steelers in the running game (because they haven't really relied on that all year)... Neither did the Saints... neither did the Patriots... So I guarantee you that Mike McCarthy is looking over this game to see what he can find...

Steelers-Saints (20-10 Halloween Sunday Night)

Remember that Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers was a staff member with legendary Steeler DC Dick LeBeau... McCarthy, no doubt, has been picking Dom Capers brain all week asking "what defense is Dick going to call with this set or that set"... Capers may be putting more work in to help the Green Bay OFFENSE, than DEFENSE...

In any case, Rodgers style of play is a lot like Brees or Brady... Quick reads, quick decision, multiple options... He could arguably be better, because he can take off and run (rushing for over 350 yards this season and scoring TD's in the process)...

MATCHUPS

There is a lot of talk about individual matchups that I'll just briefly get into here...

- Chad Clifton vs. James Harrison
- Troy Polamalu vs. ANY situation
- Clay Matthews vs. a depleted Steeler front line
- Legursky (filling in for Pouncey) against BJ Raji
- Hines Ward finding seams
- Mike Wallace and his speed

The thing is... I'm guessing that sometines the "win" will go one way, and other times it will go the other way... So I don't necessarily see any MISMATCHES that could spell doom either way... Or, if so, they'll be counterbalanced by some other element... If the game comes down to field goals, I'd TRUST Mason Crosby more than Shaun Suisham, but the game is indoors, and I don't see much of that being a factor...

THE REFS

The ref for this game is Walt Anderson... What's important to note here is that based on the elements that I've presented thus far, this appears to be a game where the chains are going to have to be moved using the passing game... The Packers are not likely to want to waste possessions running the ball into the Steeler defense... Sure, you have to mix in some running game, but let's be honest... That doesn't mean though that the game is destined to be high scoring... The Steeler-Saints game (above) was a low scoring affair until the game was broke open a little in the end...

But what it does mean is that the refs are going to be very busy watching who's guarding who in the secondary... A couple of flags here and there could make a big difference in this game... I'm sure we'll see our share of replays and challenge flags as well...

I'm convince that in the end the refs will want to "get this one right", so to do that, you have to "let 'em play" as much as possible... If a poor call is made, I wouldn't be surprised to see some "make-up" calls as well...
I'm also a little concerned that James Harrison might go a little "headhunting" at Aaron Rodgers... If Rodgers goes down, that could be a huge dynamic change in this game...

CV's PICK

So finally we come to this point... If it sounds like I've been hinting at leaning towards the PACKERS in this game, you're right... The Packers were my pre-season pick to get here, and I'm not dropping them now...

However... The "smart" pick is actually to take the Steelers and the points... You've heard me many times say... "When in doubt - take the points"... Before the League Championship games, I predicted the Packers would be 2 point favorites over the Steelers in that scenario, and here we are... The line opened at 2.5, moved to 2, and is now back at 2.5... There is 50%-50% money bet on each team right now...

Bottom Line? There are no angles... This isn't like last year where taking the Saints and the points was a GREAT bet (kinda easy too)... Steelers are getting action on the Money Line... And the UNDER (44.5) is a little lopsided with 72% on that...

So this is way CV is going to go... I'm going to say this will be the first OVERTIME game in Superbowl history (final score: 20-20)... Remember, there are NEW rules regarding overtime whereby the team that does not win the toss gets a possession if the receiving team kicks a field goal...

This could lead to all sorts of wacky scenarios... Such as... If you win the toss, might you DEFER?... But what it also may do is lead to a 23-23 situation, where the game is extended futher from there (in which it would be good to have the OVER)...

Packers 26 - Steelers 23
(1 wimpy unit)

Note: The Steelers have never lost in a Superbowl and this would be their 7th "Lombardi" Trophy... The Packers had never lost a Superbowl either (until they did vs. the Denver Broncos, 1998)... This would be Lombardi Trophy #4 for the Packers... How ironic would that be to get #4 in the year that Brett Favre, supposedly, hangs it up?...

AmenRa's Corner

A place where a skillful caddy always offers cool contemplation when it comes to your "stick" selection.


Note to Bears...stop sending cubs to fight with a seasoned Bull.


Creditcane™: I was forced to tap out. Thank you NFP for being so bad that everyone wanted to discredit you.



SPX
Bullish short day. It also looks like a hammer but tail is too short. Midpoint above EMA(10). Still above all SMA's. Made a new 0.0% retrace. New high on daily 3LB (reversal is 1276.34). QE2infinity.



DXY
Spinning top day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Back above the 14.6% retrace (77.54). Still below all SMA's. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 78.13).



VIX
Bearish long day. Midpoint below EMA(10). Back below all SMA's. New low on daily 3LB (reversal is 17.63). Still out of the "no fear" zone. Currently has a monthly 3LB reversal.



GOLD
Spinning top day (which also formed a bearish thrusting). Midpoint above EMA(10). 0.0% retrace holding. Held above the upper trend line. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 1319.80). Must have the precious.



EURUSD
Spinning top day. Midpoint below EMA(10). Approaching 1.3506 (the 50% retrace). Still above all SMA's. Daily 3LB reversal down (reversal is 1.3813).



JNK
Bullish long day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Above all SMA's. Closed above its 50% retrace (40.47). New high on daily 3LB (reversal is 39.63).




10YR YIELD
Bullish long day. Made a new 0.0% retrace at 36.66. Still above all SMA's. Midpoint above EMA(10). New high on daily 3LB (reversal is 34.55). It doesn't stop at 36.00 so The Bernank is having a sleepless weekend.



TLT
Bearish long day (failed to confirm inverted hammer). Midpoint below EMA(10). Still below all SMA's. Way below lower trend line. New low on daily 3LB (reversal is 90.80). Currently has a monthly 3LB reversal (down).



EEM
Bearish short day (also forming a rising three method pattern). Midpoint below EMA(10). Below all SMA's except the SMA(144). Held its 23.6% retrace (46.42). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 47.25).



EGPT
Bearish long day. Midpoint below EMA(10). Still below all SMA's. Back below its 50.0% retrace (18.26) of the recent down move. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 16.22). Now, what happens when the Egyptian market reopens?



S&P TMI
Bullish short day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Above all SMA's. Held lower trendline. New high on daily 3LB (reversal is 1445.10). TMI (total market index)= S&P 500 + S&P Completion Index.



LEFTBACK'S BOND REPORT

The Bond Report 2.4.11 - The Dash for Trash

Well, we have talked about the possibility that we would see an 88 handle on TLT, and here it is. If there was carnage at the long end, the rest of the curve was almost as bad. It was like an abbatoir in Ts.

But there was a clear difference between today and yesterday, when all FI was being tossed out the window in a sort of bond capitulation. Today, credit investors were snapping up HY and dodgy munis at the expense of IG, MBS and lower yielding munis.

Corpies: LQD -0.31%; AGG -0.34%; JNK 0.37%; HYG 0.44%
Govies: TLT -1.01%; IEI -0.42%; TIP -0.56%
Munis: IQI 0.77%; MUB -0.24%
Mortgages: MBB -0.18%
Hedgies: TBT 2.00%

It was a good day for our junk (smirk) but not for the rest. In fact we had a bit of a Cold Steel day. We noted the blood on the floor, and added another 6% to our fixed income today, adding 1% of TLT and 5% of AGG. So we are now:

AGG 20% TIP 5% TLT 9.5% JNK 9% LQD 4.5% (48% total)

We are still long US equities 15% and short EMs 19%.
Cash is Trash here now that the bond "bubble" has unwound.


Morning Corner 2.4.11

10 Yr Note (weekly info)
-no change (below mid)
trend=down
low= 119.594
rev= 123.578; mid= 121.586



This week is forming a bearish engulfing candle. In an uptrend this would be seen as a reversal. If in a trading range then I'll say the decision on direction has been made. With the 10yr and 30yr yields increasing something will have to happen to get traders to start buying bonds. If not then mortgage rates increase and homes sales are history. There goes what little "recovery" we had.



30 Yr Bond (weekly info)
-no change (above mid)
trend=down
low= 120.094
rev= 121.594; mid= 120.875



We are now below the 50% retrace and about to break below SMA(89). The Bernank needs to stop speaking. Every utterance sends the bonds lower. Or is it a subtle way of letting The Bernank know that he does not have things under control.


S&P TMI (weekly info)
-no change (below mid)
trend=up
high= 1474.83
rev= 1416.57; mid= 1445.70



This is the S&P Total Market Index. It's made up of the S&P 500 and S&P Completion Index. I think of it as the S&P version of the Wilshire 5k. Last week formed a gravestone doji indicating it did not want to go lower. This week has confirmed the candle. The gravestone doji is usually a reversal candle in a downtrend. Since we were in a small range it acts as the absolute floor for the range. That's until it gets taken out.



The Bernank must really "Believe the Lie"

AmenRa's Corner

A place where a skillful caddy always offers cool contemplation when it comes to your "stick" selection.



Creditcane™: I tried another take down move. This one didn't work either.



SPX
Bullish short day. Also looks like a hammer but color should be opposite of trend. A lower open might be the tell. Midpoint above EMA(10). Still above all SMA's. No test of 0.0% retrace. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 1276.34). QE2infinity.



DXY
Bullish long day (so yesterday was 2nd day of a morning star). Midpoint below EMA(10). Back above the 14.6% retrace (77.54). Below all SMA's. Next test may still be the 0.0% at 75.63. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 78.13).



VIX
Bearish long day. Midpoint below EMA(10). Back below SMA(21). New low on daily 3LB (reversal is 18.47). Still out of the "no fear" zone. Currently has a monthly 3LB reversal.



GOLD
Bullish long day. Midpoint above EMA(10). 0.0% retrace holding. Tested and passed the 38.2% retrace (1328.33). Closed above the upper trend line. Daily 3LB reversal up (reversal is 1319.80). Must have the precious.



EURUSD
Bearish long day (so it completed an evening star). Midpoint above EMA(10). Back below 1.3782 (the .09 fibo). Still above all SMA's. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 1.3609).



JNK
Bullish short day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Above all SMA's. Held its 38.2% retrace (40.28). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 39.63).




10YR YIELD
Bullish short day. Well above the 14.6% retrace at 33.86. Still above all SMA's. Midpoint above EMA(10). New high on daily 3LB (reversal is 32.96). If it doesn't stop at 36.00 then...



CRB
Bearish long day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Above all SMA's. Made a new 0.0% retrace. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 335.44).



IQI
Bearish harami day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Back below SMA(55). Still hasn't overtaken its 38.2% retrace (12.01). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 12.30). Still above weekly 3LB mid (11.76).



TLT
Inverted hammer day. Midpoint below EMA(10). Still below all SMA's. Way below lower trend line. New low on daily 3LB (reversal is 93.79).



SUGAR #11
Bearish engulfing day (remember it needs confirmation). Back below SMA(21). Midpoint above EMA(10). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 30.24).



LEFTBACK'S BOND REPORT

The Bond Report 2.3.11

Today was a very important day, as TLT closed below 90. TNX above 3.50 and TYX at 4.66%, well into our 4.60-4.80% target band. Fixed income sold off across the board as inwestors anticipated a monster number in tomorrow's employment report.

TIPS, long bonds, 5y, munis, IG corporates, mortgages, it was all shit today, as a media focus on inflation washed over the market and the recovery Kool-Aid was drunk by all. In jars.

Corpies: LQD -0.22%; AGG -0.35%; JNK 0.15%; HYG 0.04%
Govies: TLT -0.67%; IEI -0.36%; TIP -0.52%
Munis: IQI -0.50%; MUB -0.11%
Mortgages: MBB -0.18%
Hedgies: TBT 1.62%

We have been patiently waiting for a day (or days) like this. Bond bears massively outnumber bond bulls, and the prevalence of DGDF talk, commodity ├╝ber-bulls, and US default mongerers among the talking heads suggested to us that we are close to a sentiment extreme.

So we were buying big. We bought TLT, we bought LQD, we bought AGG. Our total FI exposure is now 42% and we can go to 50% or more.

We are also short EEM. The last sell-off was much more extreme in EMs than in SPY, so we prefer to express our bearishness in this way.



Morning Corner 2.3.11

Shanghai Composite (weekly info)
-no change
trend=down
low= 2715.29
rev= 2842.43; mid= 2778.86



Starting to turn bullish as it has closed above the weekly 3LB mid so far this week. Not sure why since their government economic reports are as manipulated as ours. We may have built more homes than needed but they have built cities that aren't occupied.


Year of the Rabbit

Egypt Compilation of the day (re-shuffle your i-POD's)


AmenRa's Corner

A place where a skillful caddy always offers cool contemplation when it comes to your "stick" selection.



Creditcane™: I tried a take down move. It didn't work.



SPX
Bearish harami day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Still above all SMA's. No test of 0.0% retrace. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 1276.34). QE2infinity. Finally conquered 1300? Or is it a trap?



DXY
Bullish thrusting day (not morning star because body didn't gap lower). Midpoint below EMA(10). Still below the 14.6% retrace (77.54). Below all SMA's. Next test is the 0.0% at 75.63. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 78.13).



VIX
Bearish short day. Midpoint below EMA(10). Still above SMA(21). New low on daily 3LB (reversal is 20.04). Still out of the "no fear" zone. Currently has a monthly 3LB reversal.



GOLD
Bearish short day. Midpoint below EMA(10). 0.0% retrace holding. Tested and passed the 38.2% retrace (1328.33). Closed right at the upper trend line. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 1347.90). Must have the precious.



EURUSD
Bearish thrusting day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Still above 1.3782 (the .09 fibo). Still above all SMA's. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 1.3609).



JNK
Bearish short day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Above all SMA's. Held its 38.2% retrace (40.28). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 39.63).




10YR YIELD
Bullish long day. Well above the 14.6% retrace at 33.86. Still above all SMA's. Midpoint above EMA(10). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 32.36).



DJ TRANS AVG
Bearish long day. Still below SMA(21) & SMA(55). Midpoint below EMA(10). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 5129.33).





CRB
Spinning top day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Above all SMA's. Made a new 0.0% retrace. New high on daily 3LB (reversal is 335.44).



XLF
Bearish harami day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Still above all SMA's. No test of 0.0% retrace. No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 16.25).



IQI
Bullish long day. Midpoint above EMA(10). Back above SMA(55). Still hasn't overtaken its 38.2% retrace (12.01). No daily 3LB changes (reversal is 12.30). Still above weekly 3LB mid (11.76).




Disclosure/Warning

This blog should not be interpreted as investment advice of any kind. The authors are NOT representing themselves CTAs or CFAs or Investment/Trading Advisor of any kind. The authors may or may not trade in the markets discussed. The authors may hold positions opposite of what may by inferred by this blog.The information contained in this blog is taken from sources the authors believes to be reliable, but it is not guaranteed by the authors as to the accuracy or completeness thereof and is presented here for information purposes only. Commodity trading involves risk and is not for everyone.