The Cardinals Appear To Have A Massive Coaching Advantage Heading Into The Super Bowl
How wrong we were.
NFL MVP Rich Gannon was picked off 5 times and several Bucs players admitted after the game that Gruden had given them so much information on Oakland's offense, they knew exactly what plays were being called. The problem, of course, was that the Raiders really hadn't tinkered much with their offense since Gruden had left. That was obviously a recipe for disaster.
Once again, we find ourselves in a similar position. As I'm sure you're well aware of, Ken Whisenhunt used to be the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But., perhaps even more important, he knows everything there is to know about Ben Roethlisberger.
And you'll be interested to know this. Back in September of 2007, in the only matchup thus far between the Whisenhunt Cardinals and the Roethlisberger-led Steelers, the Cardinals won 21-14. In the game, Roethlisberger went 17 for 32, getting picked twice and sacked him four times while he threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns.
While Whisenhunt is now two years removed from the Steelers, the fact still remains that he knows Roethlisberger's strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else out there. Whisenhunt was the one who brought Roethlisberger up and worked with Big Ben for his first three years in the league. It's Whisenhunt who built Roethlisberger into an NFL quarterback.
Also intriguing is that Russ Grimm, the former Steelers offensive-line coach who lost out on the Steelers coaching gig to Mike Tomlin, also came with Whisenhunt to the Cardinals in 2007. Grimm has a tremendous amount of knowledge as well on what the Steelers like to do, and what their weaknesses are. He is also more than aware of what it'll take to get past his old linemen to put pressure on Roethlisberger.
The fact that the Pittsburgh offense hasn't changed dramatically at all since Whisenhunt and Grimm left is also to the Cardinals advantage. The Steelers are still a smash mouth football team that likes to run and relies on Big Ben to manage games and occasionally produce a big play when the opportunity arises.
I think just looking at things objectively, the Cardinals need every edge they can get to beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl. And it looks like on the coaching end, they've already got that. Whether that'll translate over into the game remains to be seen, but there's little question that the Cardinals have an incredible opportunity that they can take advantage of to improve their chances of leaving Tampa as World Champions.