For those football fans who will be too busy partying Super Bowl Sunday, EA Sports has already played Super Bowl XLIII in Madden NFL 09. According to the simulation, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals 28 to 24 in Tampa. Anyone who is keeping up with the Vegas odds, that's actually good news as the Steelers are currently favored by a touchdown. When the fireworks and confetti were finally through, Ben Roethlisberger emerged with the MVP Award, his first, for his three touchdowns. The last time the Steelers won Super Bowl XL Hines Ward took home the MVP. The Steeler's victory earned new coach Mike Tomlin a place in the record books as the youngest coach (36) to ever win the big game.
In the videogame, the start of Super Bowl XLIII became a defensive struggle, as many Steelers games have been throughout history. But Pittsburgh put the first points up with a 10-yard touchdown reception to Santonio Holmes, with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals returned the favor with their reinvigorated running game as Edgerrin James diced through the vaunted Steelers defense with 8-yard touchdown run, near the start of the second quarter. Pittsburgh, showing great balance, quickly swung the momentum in their favor with two consecutive touchdowns – a 10-yard scamper by “Fast” Willie Parker, and a 13-yard strike to Hines Ward. The Steelers headed into halftime with a 21-7 lead and the route appeared to be on.
Despite their high-powered air attack, Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, kept to the successful running attack as the third quarter opened. The Cardinals made a statement as again they punctured the Steel Curtain with an Edgerrin James 14-yard touchdown run; drawing the score to 21-14. The Steelers, unfazed, looked like they had potentially put the Cards down for good with Santonio Holmes’s second touchdown reception. At the close of the third quarter, the score was 28-14 in favor of Pittsburgh.
Taking a page from the Steelers defense, the Cardinals held tough and would not surrender any additional points. This coupled with Pro-Bowl receiver, Larry Fitzgerald’s 15-yard touchdown catch midway through the 4th, brought the Cards within seven points. Neil Rackers added a 45-yard field goal with 3:15 remaining in the game, closing the gap to 28-24. On the following possession, Pittsburgh was able to break through for a few first downs; leaving the Arizona comeback short.
With the NFL season drawing to a close, Madden NFL 09, one of the best-selling games of the year yet again, will keep NFL fans happy throughout the off season. Thanks to videogames, fans of football teams that didn't perform as expected in the playoffs, like the Carolina Panthers, can actually win the Super Bowl virtually. And as for the real world, there's always next year.