A long-standing tradition - I'll take Seattle

February 02, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

As usual, Bob Parasiliti and I have differing opinions, and only one of us will be right.

As usual, it won't be me .... because I never get Super Bowl picks right. Or any other picks, for that matter. On the bright side, I only missed the conference championships by 37 total points.

So let's get it out of the way: Everyone should rush off to Vegas and put their life savings on the Steelers. That's right, I'm taking the Seahawks.

Parse is on the side of the Jerome Bettis destiny-fulfilled sendoff. It certainly worked for John Elway. Every Steeler wants Bettis to end his career with a Super Bowl ring, and so the logic goes, they'll all play a little harder to see he gets it. It won't hurt that most of the crowd in Detroit will be rooting for Pittsburgh.


It's not that I don't think that's possible - Heck, if I'm taking the Seahawks, a Steelers victory is unavoidable! - I just think there's greater forces at work here.

We all had a collective laugh when New England quarterback Tom Brady tried to play the "We get no respect" card at the beginning of the playoffs, mainly because the claim was absurd.

Well, the Seahawks have a legitimate gripe.

This is a good team. They have the league MVP in running back Shaun Alexander, a very efficient QB who can make plays in Matt Hasselbeck (even though I can't name any of his receivers off the top of my head ... which I think says even more about him), and an underrated defense with an impact linebacker (Lofa Tatupu) and a solid secondary.

Yet it seems like everybody's treating the Seahawks like they are the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX (A 49-26 drubbing against Steve Young and the 49ers) or the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII (34-19 losers to Elway's Broncos, who won their second straight title) - two teams that were clearly inferior to the teams they were up against when comparing matchups.

Maybe it's the location - nobody outside the Pacific Northwest cares about the Seahawks. Maybe it's the team's lack of a winning tradition. Maybe it's the weak division they won that everyone keeps pointing to - which is rather unfair, since the Seahawks couldn't really help that, could they?

Whatever the reason for the impression of the general public that Pittsburgh is a clearly superior team, I don't get it. If anything, these teams are equals. Both can run the ball and control the clock. Both are above-average passing teams with QBs who make good decisions (I'll give the Steelers a slight edge here, mainly because their play-calling is often superb). Both can make game-changing plays on defense (and whether Tatupu or the Steelers' Troy Polamalu has a bigger impact will go a long way toward deciding the game).

Don't underestimate the respect card in this instance. It worked for the Broncos against the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, and for the Patriots against the Rams in Super Bowl in Super Bowl XXXVI. This Seahawks team feels a lot like that Pats team.

Besides, the Seahawks do have tradition. Every year, I find a way to pick them in a column - I picked them to reach the previous two Super Bowls in the preseason. And every year, they fail spectacularly.

Well, I'm picking them again - let's say, 27-21.

Get your Vegas bets down on the Steelers ASAP. Unlike me, you can't lose.

As Parse would say, it's destiny.

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at

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