Top 7 reasons why Super Bowl XLIII was an Instant Classic lists the top 7 reasons why Super Bowl XLIII was an instant classic:

Santonio Holmes7. Arizona’s Three Goal Line Stands
Who would’ve thought Arizona would have three goal line stands? Granted, Pittsburgh’s short yardage running game is subpar but Arizona’s run defense was mediocre in the regular season…

6. Controversial Officiating
I already talked about Roethlisberger’s near touchdown. There were other close plays that will be debated by sports fans for years to come…

5. Two Great QB Performances from Possible Hall of Famers
Neither team could run, so they had to go with the pass. This could’ve been an ugly game if the quarterbacks threw too many incompletions but both Warner and Roethlisberger came to play…

4. The Longest Play in Super Bowl History
The Cardinals were one yard from paydirt with 18 seconds left in the first half. They had no timeouts but it was first down. They could’ve taken a couple shots in the end zone. However, they only got one play because Harrison stepped in front of a Warner pass and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. Until this play, Warner was 15 for 16 with five touchdowns in the red zone for the 2009 playoffs…

3. Fitzgerald’s Insane Second Half
Fitzgerald proved that you can’t keep a good man down. His only reception in the first half was in the two minute warning. But in the second half, he exploded with 6 receptions, 112 yards, and 2 touchdowns…

2. The Greatest Super Bowl Comeback Ever… Almost
The greatest comeback was in Super Bowl XXII. The Washington Redskins trailed the Denver Broncos 10-0 at the start of the second quarter, but scored 35 unanswered points to put the game away…

1. Big Ben Does His Best Joe Montana Imitation
…you can’t have an instant classic Super Bowl game without a late game winning drive. (Okay, there’s the Titans vs Rams game but that’s the exception.)…

The article goes into more detail explaining every reason, so make sure to check out the link above to view the entire piece.

The reasons listed above are pretty compelling. Yes, Super Bowl XLIII had several great moments (Harrison’s interception, Fitzgerald’s big play, Holmes’ TD catch). But for me, the game was sloppy on a whole, uneventful in the first half outside of Harrison’s touchdown, and often controversial at times. I thought it was one of the greatest fourth quarters of any Super Bowl played, but not one of the greatest games.

If you want to be technical, I think is right – it was an instant classic. But so many people are coining XLIII the best Super Bowl ever played and I don’t think it even tops two other Bowls in the same decade (Super Bowl XLII between the Giants and Patriots and Super Bowl XXXXVIII between the Panthers and Patriots).

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Did Santonio Holmes really get two feet down?

If you look at these pictures from (via Will Leitch’s personal blog), yeah, Holmes did:

Santonio Holmes

Santonio Holmes

Santonio Holmes

From the looks of that second picture, it appears to me that he stuck both feet into the ground and therefore it was a touchdown. The top picture (which some media publications are using to prove that Holmes didn’t get two feet in), was likely taken either before or after the second photo. In fact, if you look at the first and third photos, Holmes has a piece of the turf stuck in his shoe. In the second photo, the turf appears to be absent, which would indicate that the first and third photos were shot after the second photo and therefore Holmes got his right foot down.

Later I’ll be reopening the JFK case by looking at evidence photos, so make sure to stop back.

Kawakami: Super Bowl XLIII was no classic

Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News writes that while Super Bowl XLIII was exciting, it wasn’t a classic.

Larry FitzgeraldA classic? That was a fun Super Bowl, no question. A triple plot-twist, loop-de-loop carnival ride.

That was a raucous fourth quarter Sunday evening, full of Arizona Cardinals grit and, eventually, a great Pittsburgh Steelers drive to win 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII.

Oh, and there was that stunning 100-yard interception return by Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison to close the first half.

But was that really a classic, Ali-Frazier Super Bowl? I doubt history will treat it that way.
The protagonists were slightly less than epic and the action was just a bit too herky-jerk for instant masterpiece status. No Brett Favres or Lawrence Taylors in this game.

All those penalties. The wide-open receivers when the last thing the defense could afford was to leave wide-open receivers. That third-quarter sag.

Much better description: This was a classic example of the NFL’s Parity Era, when no team is good enough to dominate the Super Stage.

After all those blowouts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and all those Super Teams, we’ve now had two shriek-finish Super Bowls in a row and five straight that were close in the fourth quarter.
The last blowout? Yep, Tampa Bay 48, Raiders 21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

So Larry Fitzgerald was outstanding Sunday. Kurt Warner, too. Santonio Holmes was a revelation. Harrison made the greatest single play in Super Bowl history, by my reckoning.

But… this felt more like a good first-round playoff game that happened to have Bruce Springsteen at halftime and a spaceship capsule as the postgame stage.

Agreed. It was a sloppy game for the most part and take away Harrison’s interception return and the first half was largely uneventful. That doesn’t mean the game wasn’t entertaining because it was. But a classic? That’s reach.

Santonio Holmes vs. David Tyree Super Bowl catches

The last two Super Bowls have given fans two of the greatest catches in NFL history.

It seemed that David Tyree’s amazing “helmet reception” in the Giants’ thrilling upset of the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl would never be topped given the magnitude of the game and the fact that it led to New York’s game-winning touchdown. But after Santonio Holmes’ amazing sideline grab in Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday night, maybe Tyree’s catch was bested.

What catch was better?

David Tyree’s against the Patriots:

Santonio Holmes’ against the Cardinals:

There truly isn’t a wrong answer here because both were freaking phenomenal. But if a gun were placed to my head and I had to choose one, I would go with Holmes’ catch against the Cardinals and not just because it was more recent.

The magnitude of both catches were both incredibly high, as well as the degrees of difficulty. Tyree had to fight with Rodney Harrison in midair just to catch the ball, then as it’s slipping from his grasp, press it against his helmet and make sure that it didn’t bounce out when the two players hit the ground. He also had to make sure that no part of the ball touched the turf, which is probably the most amazing part.

Holmes had to jump up, snag Ben Roethlisberger’s pass as it was heading out of bounds, use only his hands to make the catch, make sure both of his feet came down in bounds and as he was falling to the turf, make sure he remained in complete control. He also had to show immense concentration because three defenders were around him at the time.

Both were amazing, but I give the slight edge to Holmes because his catch actually scored the game-winning touchdown. I know Tyree’s led to the Giants’ game winning touchdown and without it, New York probably doesn’t win the game. But Holmes’s was officially worth six points, so I’m giving the nod to him.

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Holmes’ catch the best ever?

Holmes’ catch the best ever?

Gregg Doyel of writes that Santonio Holmes’ game-winning touchdown grab was the best catch in NFL history.

Santonio HolmesYou can’t dispute that Pittsburgh receiver Santonio Holmes, given the stakes and the degree of difficulty, just gave us the greatest catch in the history of professional football — a 6-yard, leaping, tightrope grab in the back corner of the end zone with 35 seconds left to give the Steelers a 27-23 victory Sunday night against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

The ball was high, and heading out of bounds. Holmes wasn’t merely going to have to make a leaping catch — that’s routine enough; Holmes himself said later that he didn’t leap, but he did a little bit — but he had to make a leaping catch as his momentum was taking him out the side door near the back of the end zone. Leap, focus on the ball long enough to make the catch, then forget about the hands and worry about the feet. Get them down, both of them, because this isn’t Ohio State, son. Two feet down in the NFL, or it’s no catch.

Do all that … oh, and did we mention this is the Super Bowl? And that there is less than a minute left? That the other team leads 23-20?

Doyel goes onto compare Holmes’ catch to Lynn Swann’s in Super Bowl X and David Tyree’s in last year’s Super Bowl.

Swann and Tyree made their catches in the Super Bowl, so they’re still in the running. I guess. But neither guy made his catch in the end zone. Neither guy scored on the play. Swann made the prettiest catch we’ve ever seen, and Tyree made one of the most difficult catches we’ve ever seen, but they came in the middle of the field. Tyree’s grab led to the winning touchdown, true, but it didn’t score it. So give Swann credit for being a ballerina in cleats, and applaud Tyree for making one of the most ridiculous catches you’ve ever seen.

But don’t compare their non-scoring catches to what Holmes did — not just in the end zone in the Super Bowl, but in the final minute with his team trailing 23-20.

I don’t find myself saying this too often but I actually agree with Doyel. I didn’t think that anything could top Tyree’s catch last year considering the degree of difficulty in which he had to hang onto the ball by pressing it against his helmet while he was falling to the ground and wrestling with Rodney Harrison at the same time. But if you were like me last night when Holmes caught that ball you said, “No way – no way was he in.” But he was and it was incredible.

Holmes had to use his hands and his hands only to snag that ball. Not only that, but he also had three defenders around him and while Roethlisberger’s pass was placed in a spot only Holmes could catch it, it was still sailing well out of bounds when the Steeler wideout snagged it out of the air. And as Doyel points out, when you factor in the magnitude of the game and the fact that Holmes had to get two feet down while his momentum was being carried out of bounds, it all adds up to the greatest catch ever.

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