The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

Defense Beats Offense


In the immortal words of Herman Edwards: "We play to win the game."

Finally after three months of off-season, 14 OTA practices and a three day mini-camp, six weeks of training camp, four exhibition games, a "bye" week, 16 regular season games, three playoff games, thousands of Sports Centers and two weeks of build up, the Super Bowl will be played for football fans around the world this Sunday. The only certainty is that one team will stand victorious.

Both teams have defied the odds this season, overcome adversity, displayed tremendous character, grown together as teams, and have landed in the ultimate of team game championships (no disrespect to the Stanley Cup). Each team has seen their share of triumphs, outstanding plays and individual performances resulting in their respective conference championships. It now all comes down to one game. The question is "who will win the game?"

Both teams bring forth greatness with unique and distinct skill sets to the game. The Cardinals have the vaunted and explosive passing game led by the cagey and capable veteran quarterback, Kurt Warner, complimented by potentially the best receiving duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Both are big, strong, powerful catchers with great hands and the ability to separate. This offense presents tremendous match up problems for any team. And when combined with a solid running game featuring Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington, and a steady third receiver in Stevie Breaston, the Cardinals have a serious choice of lesser evils for any opponent. Who does one try and stop, and who do you try to contain.

The Steelers, on the other hand, are led by an experienced defense that plays the three-four scheme to perfection. They have one of the best defensive minds in football in Dick LeBeau, complimented by incredible players at their key positions in Aaron Smith (defensive end), James Harrison (rush "will" backer) and the energizer bunny in Troy Polamalu (safety). This is a defense that can stop any offense given one week to prepare for a game, let alone the two week Super Bowl hiatus.

The age-old adage is that "great defenses win championships," and in reality this is what will happen on Sunday. In a one-game match anything can happen, but history is replete with examples of great defenses defeating great offenses. Another subtle advantage the Steelers will have is the combined Super Bowl experiences of their players and coaches. There is no substitute for experience, and given this is the Cardinals' first foray into Super Bowl, this should work to the Steelers' benefit.

The best and early key to the game will be to see if the Steelers' run game can control the clock and keep the Cardinals off the field. If the Steelers can move the ball early they should be taking home yet another championship.

By Peter Schaffer  |  January 30, 2009; 11:21 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Peter Schaffer , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Offense Wins a Championship This Time | Next: Cardinal Virtues onto Victory

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