Sunday, February 1, 2009
Two Short Hits
1) Today is Jackie Robinson's 90th birthday. Anyone who thinks his Hall of Fame status hangs on only his breaking major-league baseball's color line needs to look at his career again. Robinson was a truly breathtaking ball player. Branch Rickey, the man for whom bringing Robinson to the big leagues was only one bullet point on a magnificent resume, would never have made such a move were it not true.
2) Sportsbook.com lowered the Super Bowl line to Steelers -6.5. 88%(!) is on Arizona to win straight up, lowering the price on that bet from +200 ($100 bet wins $200) to +190. I find this 'Zona love stunning. Are people falling for the "recency effect", and focusing on only the Cardinals' last three playoff games while ignoring the mostly-lackluster sixteen games that game before them. I'm ready to acknowledge that the Cardinals aren't as bad as their horrid late-season slide -- doesn't anyone remember this team losing consecutive games to Minnesota and the Patriots by a combined 82-21 count, with those two drubbings coming all of two weeks after a 48-20 Thanksgiving Night humiliation in Philadelphia -- but even when they were playing at their best they still found time to cough up a 56-35 hairball at the hands of a Jets team that missed the playoffs.
The Cardinals are the worst team to reach the Super Bowl since at least the '79 Rams (who were promptly dispatched in Super Bowl 14 by, coincidentally, Pittsburgh), and probably ever. I say lay the six and a half, sit back, and watch the Steelers roll.