In his Wednesday column, Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports draws comparisons from Super Bowl XXXVII between the Buccaneers and Raiders to make points about Ken Whisenhunt’s knowledge of the Pittsburgh Steelers for this year’s big game.
His entire article revolves around this:
The reason I bring this up now is that a seemingly similar scenario exists for Super Bowl XLIII. One of the many questions we’ll be hearing over and over until kickoff on Sunday, Feb. 1 is this: Can Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, a Pittsburgh assistant from 2001-06, pull a Gruden and exercise mental mastery over quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers?
Hmm…I wonder who also compared this year’s Super Bowl to the one in 2002 between the Bucs and Raiders?
2. Kurt Warner vs. the Steelers defense.
The Pittsburgh-Arizona matchup reminds me of the 2002 Super Bowl between the Buccaneers and Raiders. Like Pittsburgh this season, Tampa Bay led the league in total defense that year. Oakland had the best passing offense in the league and was led by long-time veteran quarterback Rich Gannon. Arizona doesn’t have the best passing offense in the league (they were second to New Orleans), but they are led by trusty 11-year vet Kurt Warner at quarterback. In Super Bowl XXXVII, Gannon threw a record five interceptions, three of which were returned for defensive touchdowns as the Bucs routed the Raiders 48-21. Granted, this isn’t Warner’s first Super Bowl (it will be his third), but his situation is eerily similar to Gannon’s. The Steelers’ defense excels at making quarterbacks (young and old) look silly when they drop back to pass. And while he hasn’t shown signs of it yet this postseason, Warner can get awfully turnover prone if he feels too much pressure. The Eagles were able to get to Warner in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game and the Cardinals’ offense wilted. But they couldn’t do it on a consistent basis (neither could the Falcons or Panthers), and Warner picked them apart with the help of Larry Fitzgerald. Can the Arizona offensive line protect Warner long enough for him to find open receivers? Or will Warner suffer a similar demise as the one Gannon did?
4. Does Ken Whisenhunt hold an inside edge?
Mike Tomlin and Ken Whisenhunt were hired eight days apart in 2007. Some believed that when Bill Cowher decided to retire, that Whisenhunt (the Steelers’ offensive coordinator at the time) would take over as head coach. But Whisenhunt eventually decided to head west and take over the seemingly impossible rebuilding plan in Arizona. Tomlin was then plucked from his defensive coordinator position in Minnesota to coach the Steelers, and now two years later the two will meet in the Super Bowl. The question becomes: Will Whisenhunt have inside knowledge of how the Steelers run their offense since he was their offensive line coach when they beat the Seahawks in the 2006 Super Bowl? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know ways to help Arizona defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast defend Ben Roethlisberger (who Whisenhunt coached for two seasons in Pittsburgh) or find ways to exploit the few weaknesses the Steelers have defensively. Remember, Jon Gruden helped Monte Kiffin scheme against Rich Gannon (his former quarterback in Oakland) in Super Bowl XXXVII and the Bucs wound up intercepting the Raider QB five times. It would be unwise to overlook Whisenhunt’s knowledge of the Steelers.
Just what the hell is going on here? Is Silver a copycat? Did he read my column and then use my thoughts as his own? Did he think nobody would find out? Two people can’t come up with similar ideas/comparisons independently of each other, can they?
Calls to the Yahoo! Sports desk have not be returned…because, well, I didn’t make them. But clearly that son of a bitch Silver stole my comparison.