With just one game remaining in the NFL season, the field of championship contenders has been trimmed considerably. Over the next two weeks, we wrap up this season's pro-football coverage with continuing Super Bowl dispatches from Detroit. Turn to Onion Sports for complete reports on sport's greatest spectacle, staged this year in one of America's most urban cities. Onion Sports will be updating its Super Bowl XL coverage daily during the week, with an entirely new Onion Sports page every Thursday as always.
Report: Colts Poised For Biggest Upset In Super Bowl History
DETROIT—Coaches, front-office executives, and players around the NFL all agree that an Indianapolis victory in Detroit next Sunday would result in the greatest underdog story in Super Bowl history, if not in all of sports. "After losing to Pittsburgh in the second round of the playoffs, for the Colts to come into Detroit and beat them—as well as the Seahawks, their nominal opponent—that would almost certainly be the comeback of the century," said Bills general manager Marv Levy. "No one would ever dare say that Manning or Dungy couldn't win the big one after that. Yes, it's a long shot—the longest—but with the Steelers and Seattle concentrating on beating each other, Indy is perfectly poised to come from literally out of nowhere to complete their all-time greatest triumph." At press time, no member of the Colts would comment on the possibility of a Super Bowl victory, further fueling speculation of a colossal upset in the making.
Bill Cowher's Jaw Arrives In Detroit Four Days Ahead Of Rest Of Steelers
DETROIT—While the Steelers will not officially arrive in Detroit until Monday afternoon, Coach Bill Cowher's jaw made the short trip from Pittsburgh a few days early, arriving in Detroit Wednesday night with a small team of assistants to lay groundwork for the team's arrival and acclimate itself to Ford Field. "Although it and Coach Cowher are inseparable on the sidelines, the jaw habitually travels ahead of him," said Steelers communications liaison Tom Becker. "We're used to it entering rooms 10 minutes before him, and believe me, just seeing the jaw coming irons out most problems. The jaw will just get things ready in Detroit while Bill spends time preparing with the team." The jaw is unable to speak to the press without Cowher for reasons partially having to do with Steeler team policy, but it did make a point of jutting firmly and politely towards reporters upon arriving at its hotel.
Shannon Sharpe Says Roethlisberger, Bettis, Cowher, Ward, Polamalu, Porter, Haggans, Logan, Staley, Kreider, And Place-Kicker Jeff Reed All Crucial To Steeler Victory
DETROIT—According to NFL Today analyst Shannon Sharpe, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, halfback Jerome Bettis, and head coach Bill Cowher, as well as left tackle Trai Essex, defensive end Shaun Nua, centers Jeff Hartings and Chukky Okobi, outside linebacker Clark Haggans, assistant head coach Russ Grimm, and nose tackle Casey Hampton will all be key players in the Steelers' offensive and defensive attack in Super Bowl XL. "If the Steelers want any shot at winning, they have to rely on the core of their offense, defense, special teams, and coaching staff—including but not limited to wide receiver Lee Mays, right guard Chris Kemoeatu, punter Chris Gardocki, and conditioning coach Chet Fuhrman—to perform their given roles on this squad to the best of their abilities," Sharpe said during his "Difference-Makers To Watch Out For" segment. "And let's not forget about Kirschke, Reed, Starks, Warren, Staley, Smith, Taylor, Logan, Batch, Frazier, Keisel, and Faneca. Any or all of these guys could have an effect on the outcome of this game." Sharpe added, however, that top-notch performances by Seahawks X-factors Alexander, Hasselbeck, Dyson, Boulware, Babineaux, Hutchinson, Hackett, Mili, Wallace, Strong, Pruitt, Locklear, Koutouvides, and Jurevicious could potentially neutralize the Steelers' attack.
Neither Team Concerned About Taking Super Bowl Crowd Out Of Game
DETROIT—Although both teams are obviously being tight-lipped regarding the details of their game-day strategy, coaching staffs for both the Seahawks and Steelers admitted that they are not overly concerned about taking the Super Bowl crowd out of the game. "Come on—with over 17,000 tickets given away by the NFL to its corporate partners, about 24,000 distributed among the sponsors and boosters of the other 30 NFL teams, and 3,400 tickets given to the city of Detroit itself—whatever that means—it's not like a lot of them care what happens on the field," said a Seahawks assistant who asked not to be named. "Their team's fans get as many tickets as our fans, and there's a pathetic 1,000-ticket ‘fan lottery,' but aside from that, if someone on the field does something good, people will clap. Honestly, I'll stick to worrying about Joey Porter." An unscientific poll of ticket holders seemed to reinforce the unnamed assistant's comments, with 73 percent of those questioned mentioning "Quality Of The National Anthem" as their primary area of interest.
Steelers, Seahawks To Take Part In Rehearsal Super Bowl This Sunday
DETROIT—Players and coaches on the Seahawks and Steelers have been notified that they must be present and in full uniform at Ford Field this Sunday, Jan. 29 for a full-length Super Bowl game rehearsal, which will be closed off to the media and general public. "We want to do a complete run-through this weekend to get the guys adjusted to running the show in this stadium, account for any unforeseen problems with, say, the Ford Field lighting or the timing of certain complicated plays, and just generally make sure that everything goes smoothly and according to plan on the big day," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "We're going to do a dry run of the whole four-hour script to identify problems early, run each play at least once, and prepare some alternate scenarios to have ready in case the audience begins to lose interest." All players have also been asked to bring five ideas for a group brainstorm to help punch up the storyline for their matchup.