Five random thoughts from the NFL conference championship game:
1. Yes! The Arizona Freakin' Cardinals! Just as most of us predicted back in September!
2. Were the Super Bowl a horse race, I'd start handicapping it by saying the Steelers represent a major move up in class for the Cardinals. Sure, Arizona has won $10,000 and $25,000 claimers and a nice $50,000 allowance. Let's see how the Cards do in a $1 million stakes race. The one advantage they have - super-accurate Kurt Warner throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin - figures to be counteracted by Pittsburgh's defense. Of course, I said the same about the Eagles' defense, which was whipped soundly and sent to the glue factory by the Cardinals.
3. By the time he is finished playing, Donovan McNabb will have Hall of Fame numbers. But after watching his Eagles lose another big one, it's difficult to make an argument that he's a Hall of Fame QB. He has gotten to the NFC title game five times and has only won it once, and he lost in the Super Bowl the one time he got there. In several of those mega-games, he had the ball in his hands late in the fourth quarter with a chance to win or tie and he hasn't gotten it done. Sunday, he again had a chance to pull out a big game. And he again misfired repeatedly on his team's final opportunity. I know the losses don't belong to him alone - where was the great Philly defense Sunday? - but fair or not, this is how the best QBs are judged.
4. Steelers WR Limas Sweed dropped a long touchdown pass that couldn't have been any more perfectly placed had Ben Roethlisberger run down field and handed Sweed the football. Sweed then fell to the ground and pretended to be hurt. (For a second there, I thought he was a soccer player.) Later in the game, he caught a 14-yard pass and acted as if he had just brokered peace in the Middle East. What a clown.
5. I'm not sure I could name the other nine right off the top of my hairless head, but Kurt Warner has to be one of the 10 great stories in modern team sports history.
By the by ...
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