Friday, February 03, 2006

Stupor Bowl

As TBogg and Alicublog have both pointed out, the twits over at the National Review Online's aptly-named Corner have overwhelmingly picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to win this weekend's Super Bowl.

Not surprisingly, they've sided with the Steelers not because of any opinions they might have about the team's offense, defense, coaching, etc., but because of the fossilized worldview from the culture wars:
William J. Bennett: Super Bowl? Who am I for?! Seattle is the home of Starbucks, and 38 kinds of designer coffee. Pittsburgh's best sandwich shop serves a huge sub with French fries and gravy inside the sandwich. Who do you think I'm for?

Denis Boyles: I'll sit in Kansas, eating BBQ and wishing for a Penn Pilsner, but happy and certain that the Steelers will completely overwhelm the Starbucks or whatever that team from the capital of soggy self-righteousness is called.

E. D. Hill: After watching my Tom-Brady-idolizing boys start wearing Big Ben jerseys under their shirts to school, I have to go with the Steelers to win 28-21. Scientific, huh?
Now, compare the reasons conservatives use to the ones used at the liberal TAPPED:
Matt Yglesias: With a hurt ankle, Troy Polamalu isn't going to be his usual beastly self on the defensive end. Fullback Dan Kreider plays an underestimated role in the Steeler offense and he, too, will be playing hurt if at all. Last but by no means least, the fact that Pittsburgh is favored at this point largely reflects the statistical naiveté of MSM sports commentary. Yes, Ben Roethlisberger has been awesome so far this postseason. But that's actually the problem. The Steelers' success has relied on Big Ben playing way over his head. If he had turned in an average-for-him performance in any of their three playoff games, they would have lost. And even the best players have below-average games fifty percent of the time. We'll probably see some regression toward the mean, and with it a Seahawks victory.

DJ Francis: The “Stillers,” as they are pronounced, will indeed triumph on Sunday. Led by Big Ben, they will take a commanding lead right from the start, not letting that other team catch their breath. Polamalu will smother the offense like fries on a Primanti Brother’s sandwich. Randle El will wear down the defense and the Bus will simply run over them. And there’s no better figurehead than Coach Cowher. A true bad ass with a chin that could crush small children, he is sure to be covered in Gatorade before that last whistle blows.
Hmmm. Let's compare and contrast.

The conservatives base their argument on tired Red State vs. Blue State cliches from the culture wars. (Tired and inaccurate cliches, I should say, since the heartland heroes that the NRO folks are assuming are part of their world are actually hard-core Democrats. Allegheny County voted 57% for Kerry and Gore in the last two elections.) The liberals, on the other hand, base their argument on an understanding of the game, the teams and the individual players; the histories of each team; and their current state of health.

Hmmm. Conservatives trusting their ill-informed gut. Liberals relying on facts and information. Sounds about right.

As a lifelong Chiefs fan, I don't have a dog in this fight. And on the merits, I'm torn. I think the Seahawks passing game is woefully underrated, and both Holmgren and Hasselbeck know that this is a make-or-break year for the 'Hawks. With Shaun Alexander's contract up for renewal this year, they're either going to lose him or lose some of the supporting talent. The Steelers, meanwhile, are a bit overhyped on offense (Big Ben and Bigger Bettis, especially), though they have amazing talent on defense. This is going to be a close one, but I think the Seahawks will win.


James said...

I agree.

Hawks 27, Steelers 17

S.W. Anderson said...

Otto Man, that is a remarkable and telling bit of insight.

Bennett's ignorance is appalling. Seattle is jam-packed with excellent places to eat, with a variety of cuisines equal to or exceeding what Pennsylvania has to offer, I'd be willing to bet, ahem.

And yes, you can count on world-beater coffee for during and after the meal. Not just Starbuck's, either. Plus excellent brews, microbrews and Washington wines.

It really is a case of narrow-minded, prejudiced clods vs. people whose perceptions and thinking are based in reality. For that very reason the latter are suitably worried as hell because of who has the upper hand for now.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

Now you've got me thinking about Wild Ginger and the Metropolitan Steakhouse. Mmmmmmm.

I'm stunned by the unanimity of the Steelers picks everywhere. The Steel Curtain closed 30 years ago. (Aside: God, I'm old.) I like the Seahawks, especially with 4 1/2 points.

As for the red state/blue state: isn't Pittsburgh a big union town (read: Democratic), and Seattle, being all new economy, is anti-union (read: Republican)? And anyhoo football is all unionized, so this is a pretty Democratic sport, no?

Thrillhous said...

Great post, OM. And I love the Bennett jab, SWA.

I'm in the boat with you, iRod. People are picking some kind of super Steelers team, perhaps an animal-human hybrid of some kind. I wonder if the conservopundits even know that Bettis isn't Pittsburg's primary running back.

As far as who will win, I"ll go with the team whose coach has won the big one before. I know that's not enough info for our famous conservatives to figure, but you guys know who I'm picking.

Studiodave said...

All well in good making political observations for the Super Bowl - unfortunately, the Stillers will win big - sadly projecting Lynn Swann into the senate.

* Steelers 24 Seahawks 13

* Take the 1st half under 24

* Take under 47 yards for longest TD

* Coin flip - heads

* Hines Ward player to score first.

Otto Man said...

As for the red state/blue state: isn't Pittsburgh a big union town (read: Democratic), and Seattle, being all new economy, is anti-union (read: Republican)?

That's a good point about Seattle. While the city itself votes Democratic (like just about every city with an NFL team), the business model there is much more Republican. Aren't they all in love with Microsoft and its stickin'-it-to-the-Clinton-antitrust-folks attitude? Isn't Paul Allen of Microsoft still the "Hawks owner?

And meanwhile, I seem to remember the Steelers playing in "Heinz Field." What was John Kerry's wife's name again?

S.W. Anderson said...

Basically, the whole Puget Sound region is heavily Democratic. Anti-union? Not so much.

That's not to say there aren't a bunch of Republicans in the mix, but where they really hold sway is east of the Cascades.

Otto Man said...

the Stillers will win big - sadly projecting Lynn Swann into the senate.

That would be quite a feat, since he's running for governor.