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Old 02-04-2011, 04:08 AM   #6
Anthony
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Cool Anthony's Super Bowl Pick

Last time I do this in 2010 (at least 2010 in the football sense anyway).

Hopefully I'll have to do it two more times every year from now on!


Last week: 1-1. Postseason totals: 7-3, Pct. .700. Best Bets: 2-1, Pct. .667.

Are "Better Record Underdogs" in the Super Bowl going the way of "Dual Qualifiers" in the Kentucky Derby?

For those unfamiliar with the latter, a "dual qualifier" is a horse that both has a Dosage Index (a coefficient denoting the ratio of speed to stamina influences in a horse's pedigree) not above 4.00, and was weighted within 10 pounds of the horse assigned the highest weight in the Experimental Free Handicap of the previous year's two-year-olds (in most years this meant that the horse was among the top 15 to 20 two-year-olds in the country). Throughout the 1970s, '80s and most of the '90s, virtually every Derby winner was in fact a dual qualifier - but since then the trend has reversed, and how: None of the 13 most recent winners of the race have been dual qualifiers.

Similarly - and starting at essentially the same time, in this case, the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 - teams that finished with a better regular-season record than their opponents, yet were nonetheless installed as underdogs in the Super Bowl, were once a perfect 6-0 against the spread (and 5-1 straight up), before the last two such teams lost and non-covered (the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL and the Bears in Super Bowl XLI).

Is the same thing occurring on the gridiron as at the racetrack?

Not if AP Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu has anything to say about it: In 2009 and '10 combined, including postseason, Pittsburgh is 17-4 (straight up) and has allowed 15 points per game when Polamalu has been healthy and therefore has started, compared with 6-7 and nearly 22 points per game given up when he has been injured and has not.

As far as everyone knows, Polamalu will be in the lineup at Cowboys Stadium Sunday.

With a move to an 18-game regular season presumably on the horizon, it is likely that there will no longer be an idle week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl once the longer schedule does take effect (quite possibly not in time for next season), if for no other reason than to prevent the NCAA from suing the NFL over the "March Madness" trademark (of course being a bit facetious here). With this in mind, the Packers may live to wish that this year had 18 regular-season games - since the extra week of grinding media hype cannot help but favor the team with the more recent and more frequent Super Bowl experience - and it ain't them.

Therefore, I'm looking for Green Bay to make one or two deer-in-the-headlights mistakes - and for the Steelers in general, and quite possibly the repeatedly-aforementioned Troy Polamalu in particular, to capitalize when they do.

So let's call it:

Pittsburgh 23 (+2), Green Bay 17

And Polamalu gets my selection as the game's MVP. Why not?
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