6 Ridiculous Factors That Determine Who Wins The Super Bowl


Usually we reserve our guest columns for Saturday. But seeing as this is Super Bowl Sunday, and we're a bunch of nerds, we figured it couldn't hurt to ask the guys from the hilarious sports blog, With Leather, to stop by and tell us who's going to win the big game.

You've analyzed the rosters. Pitted strengths against weaknesses. But you still don't know if Pittsburgh's secondary can contain Larry Fitzgerald, or if Kurt Warner can make a hot read faster than James Harrison can get to him off the edge rush. In fact, you may not know what most of those words mean.

Here's the thing: none of it matters. The Super Bowl almost never turns out the way the experts say it will. Some ridiculous development always intervenes to render everyone's predictions moot. So we've taken a look back at the most unexpected news stories in Super Bowl history to try to predict this year's unpredictable winner.

The Guy Who Wins the MVP Award While Hung Over

The Green Bay Packers' Max McGee didn't expect to play in Super Bowl I, so he violated curfew to get hammered the night before the game. Hurting on the sidelines, he told fellow wideout Boyd Dowler, "I hope you don't get hurt. I'm not in very good shape." Dowler then separated his shoulder, forcing McGee to borrow a helmet (he had left his in the locker room). McGee somehow finished with seven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Super Bowl XLIII contenders:

Ben Roethlisberger, Anquan Boldin

Boldin, an All-Pro receiver who rushed back this season after a concussion and fractured face forced him to get a steel plate in his head, was visibly sullen--and apparently jealous of the offense's focus on Larry Fitzgerald--on the sidelines in the NFC Championship, even as the Cards locked up their ticket to the Super Bowl. Sounds like a guy who needs a drink, right? The right combination of anger, motivation and tequila could make him the next Max McGee.

Roethlisberger is famous in sports blog circles for the drunk pictures snapped on a return to the Miami of Ohio campus during his rookie year, plus he already has experience playing like he's hung over in a Super Bowl: He went 9-of-21 for 123 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in Super Bowl XL--by far and away the worst performance in history by a championship-winning quarterback. And Trent Dilfer is on that list. Wow. Drink up, Ben.



The Guy Who Gets Arrested the Night Before for Soliciting a Prostitute

Living it up like Max McGee shouldn't be considered a recipe for success. Eugene Robinson was the leader on the Falcons defense going into Super Bowl XXXIII in New Orleans, then he got arrested for soliciting prostitution from an undercover cop. Atlanta would lose the game, 34-19. Said one Atlanta player after the game, "Instead of getting mentally ready for the Broncos, we were talking about Eugene. The Broncos beat us, but anyone who says what happened to Eugene was not a factor is lying."

Super Bowl XLIII contenders:

Jeff Reed, Matt Leinart

Reed, given the self-portrait of his freshly-shorn manhood, drunken bar pictures and uber-douche peroxide Troll-doll hair, makes Andy Dick look like someone with judgment. Leinart has his own history of questionable decision-making, but years of scoring college girls for free make him less likely to offer to pay for it. Also, we can't imagine that his teammates really care what he does.



(Note: Since this is a negative trait, Reed's win counts for Arizona)

The Coach's Weight

There is a long history of the coach with most remarkable girth winning the Super Bowl. Fat coaches like Mike "Walrus" Holmgren and John "Flapjacks" Madden (captured above in their prime, answering the question "Where do cookies go?") knew what it took to tip the scales in their favor on Super Sunday. Two years ago, we saw the opposite end of this corollary, when the normal looking Lovie Smith lost to Tony Dungy, the first anorexic coach in the history of the NFL.

Super Bowl XLIII contenders:

Mike Tomlin, Ken Whisenhunt

Tomlin and Whisenhunt are both young, fit coaches, which is a huge disappointment. Football games are always better when the coach has boobs, a red face and the pained look of a man suffering from angina. And this year we're pretty sure either of these guys could kick our ass, so we don't have a skinny-off on our hands either. Tomlin wears a puffy coat in cold weather, so he gets credit for maintaining the illusion.




The Choker

Failure in a big game is as American as blowjobs and apple pie…warm, capitalist apple pie. Jackie Harris dropped a sure TD pass in SB XIII, but look on the bright side--the Cowboys lost! And who can forget Scott Norwood's potential game-winning FG soar wide right in SB XXV (answer: nobody from Buffalo)? Or Neil O'Donnell's diarrhea-of-the-arm in SB XXX? Indeed, for every monument built to great players in the Super Bowl, there's a longer shadow cast by a goat who history will never forget.

Super Bowl XLIII contenders:

Limas Sweed, Neil Rackers

The Steelers are stocked with dangerous receivers who can drop the ball just as easily as they can score long touchdowns. Limas Sweed gets the nod over Santonio Holmes here for the dropped touchdown pass in the AFC title game two weeks ago. For the Cardinals, kicker Neil Rackers deserves nomination, after blowing the MNF game that lead to Denny Green's famous "crown their asses" tirade.



(Although, honestly, if the game is close enough for Rackers to blow it, Cardinals fans should probably count that as a victory.)

The Team That God Loves

Football has a lot to do with catching breaks. The initial trajectory of the game is decided by a coin toss and it's played with a ball that bounces in any damn direction it pleases. Add to all that the fact that it's the only major American sport whose championship is decided by a single game. Try to keep that in mind when players are thanking Jesus after every touchdown like He was their lead blocker, reminding us drunk fans who skipped church to drink beer that we're spiritually weak.

Super Bowl XLIII contenders:

Troy Polamalu, Kurt Warner

Troy Polamalu may be a fierce and quiet competitor, but watch him carefully and you'll see him make the sign of the Eastern Orthodox after every play. But there's no bigger Jesus freak in the NFL than Kurt Warner, who calls a press conference to thank God after every morning shave. God, however, being an unmerciful bastard, is obviously a Steelers fan. How else can you explain five championships (including the above pictured "immaculate reception") and Polamalu's Samson hair?



unless Polamalu's wife cuts off his hair.

The Guy That Pulls An Amazing Play Out Of His Ass

Make one big play in the Super Bowl, and you become immortal. Timmy Smith is still remembered for his 204 yards and two touchdowns in XXII, even though it was the only good game of his career. Adam Vinatieri defined himself as the clutchiest clutch kicker ever with two game-winning field goals. And David Tyree's famous helmet catch--"The Giant Snatch" as it should be known--in last year's SB XLII was the stuff of legend.

Super Bowl XLIII contenders:


Who's going to come up uncharacteristically big this weekend? Any wide receiver for Arizona, or any defender for Pittsburgh. Or anyone in the stands. Or your mom. Hey, we can't see the future, people. That's why they play the game.

Check out more sporting hilarity over at With Leather.

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