Steelers vs. Cardinals In The Super Bowl

After a three year hiatus, due to not being able to simulate Super Bowl games on my Xbox 360, the Hardcore Bowl is back, and this year we have a great match up. This year we have the five time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers facing off against a surprising team in the Arizona Cardinals, a team who suffered through years in the NFL cellar. Just watch, in a few years we'll be seeing the Detroit Lions reaching this level. After all, they already had their perfect season. (Oh wait, that was a 0-16 season. I retract my previous statement.)

But getting back to the game, we now finally have a chance to return to simulating the big game. After doing multiple preliminary simulations, with the Arizona Cardinals winning four out of five games, the following parameters were used in creating this Hardcore Bowl V simulation:

1)The game used is Madden 09 20th Anniversary Edition on Xbox 360.

2)Difficulty has been set to All-Madden.

3)Quarters will run for 10 minutes, real time clock. This is done to compensate for the short time difference between plays, as opposed to the real NFL.

4)The most recent downloadable rosters (saved on 1/18/09) will be used.

5)The venue used will be Raymond James Stadium, but as the Super Bowl setting is unavailable, it will have a Tampa Bay Buccaneers setting.

6)Weather will be set as determined by The Weather Channel's 10 day forecast for Tampa, FL. (68 degrees high, partly cloudy skies, 10% chance of precipitation.)

Grab your snacks! Let's get to the game!


The Steelers win the toss and have chosen to receive. Mewelde Moore takes it at the goal line and runs it to the 32. Big Ben takes the field and in his first pass, completes it to Santonio Holmes for a first down (a gain of 12.) Willie Parker then takes a handoff but gets a loss of 2, but makes up for it on the next carry with a gain of 7. At 3rd and 5 on the PIT 48, Roethlisberger makes another completion, this time to Nate Washington to take it to the ARI 41 and another first down.
Big Ben almost makes a costly pick, but Travis Laboy fails to hold onto it. Payback is made as a successful play action pass to Willie Parker picks up 13 for yet another first down. With the ball on the ARI 28, Parker runs a sweep right for another 11 yard gain, followed by another run, this time a sweep left, for a 6 yard gain. He runs again to the left but just gets a single yard. It's now 3rd and 3 at the 10. Heath Miller makes the catch but is short with only a one yard gain. Jeff Reed comes in to make the 26 yard field goal attempt…and is successful. PIT 3, ARI 0.

Steve Breaston takes the kickoff back to the ARI 31, where Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner will take over. He hands it over to Tim Hightower who only gets a one yard gain. Another carry for no gain, followed by a pass completion to Larry Fitzgerald, but the Steelers dominant defense reads it perfectly and stop him behind the line. At 4th and 11, the Cardinals have no choice but to punt it away.

Santonio Holmes takes it all the way to the 50.
Roethlisberger is back on the field, and passes it to Hines Ward for an 11 yard gain. Willie Parker then runs it but only for a single yard. Big Ben then passes it to Carey Davis who takes it to the ARI 31. At 3rd and 2, Parker takes the run but is stopped short of the first down. Reed comes back in for a 47 yard attempt, and as he has done all season, continues to be successful. PIT 6, ARI 0.

There is 3:47 left in the first quarter, and this time J. J. Arrington takes the kickoff all the way to the ARI 33. With Warner back on the field, he hands off to Hightower, who is stopped at the line for no gain. Another run, but this time a gain of three leading to 3rd and 7. Warner throws it to Leonard Pope, but he doesn't notice the sideline and steps out after gaining only 2. Punt time again, and Holmes doesn't get much, only able to take it to the PIT 33.

Parker takes the ball but loses two. Ben goes deep but it is in double coverage, and is incomplete. 3rd and 12 results in an 8 yard gain to Heath Miller but they will still have to punt away. Mitch Berger punts it to Breaston who takes it to the ARI 44.

There is 1:34 left in the first, and Warner hands off to Hightower, who gets a gain of 3; Larry Foote makes the stop. Again Hightower gets the carry and makes it 4 for a 3rd and 3 situation. Playaction to Fitzgerald gains seven for the first Cardinals first down. The ball is on the PIT 38, and Warner throws to Hightower who gets another first down with a 10 yard gain. Warner throws deep but is incomplete. With what might the last play in the quarter, Hightower fights three tacklers but gets a loss of 3. The first quarter ends with the Steelers leading 6-0.


With 3rd and 13 at the PIT 31, Warner completes a 17 yard pass to Anquan Boldin for another first down in the "Heinz Red Zone." About to be sacked, Warner makes another completion, this time to Hightower for a 9 yard gain, 5 yards to the end zone. Terrell Smith makes a catch to take the ball to the 2 for a 1st and Goal. Hightower runs it up the gut…TOUCHDOWN CARDINALS! The extra point is good. ARI 7, PIT 6.

Moore takes it at the 2 and runs it to the 29. Down by 1, Roethlisberger is back, but his first pass is dropped by Parker. His run isn't good either, gaining only a yard. 3rd and 9, Santonio Holmes makes the catch but only gets 6 and Berger is back out to punt, and it's a good one, all the way to the 19 but Breaston takes it to the 36.

Warner continues to be hot, passing to Hightower for 8. then throws to Boldin, who makes the catch but lands out of bounds. With 3rd and 2 looming, Hightower is able to break through to the ARI 49 and another first down. Warner throws to Pope for 6 yard, then Hightower is stopped after gaining 2. 3rd and 4 coming up at the PIT 45, Warner is in the gun and passes to Fitzgerald for another first. The Steelers almost make a pick but it is dropped. It would have been six the other way. The next play Warner's pass was blocked, leading to 3rd and 10 at the PIT 36. But Breaston is able to make another catch for a first down at the 18. Hightower is stopped for a loss of 1, but then makes it up with a 5 yard carry leading to 3rd and 6 at the PIT 14. Warner throws it to Boldin but only gains 3, leading to a 28 yard field goal attempt by Neil Rackers, who puts it between the uprights. ARI 10, PIT 6.

Gary Russell takes the kickoff out of the end zone, and runs it to the PIT 29. Big Ben and the Steelers have some catch up work to do. Parker starts off well with a nine yard carry, followed by another impressive carry to the PIT 48. Roethlisberger's pass falls incomplete, but gets the next one with a play action pass to Santonio Holmes for a 19 yard gain. The ball is on the ARI 33, but Big Ben is taken down at the line of scrimmage. Davis finds a huge game in the middle for a first down. Parker then carries it for a gain of 3, leading to the two minute warning in the Heinz Red Zone. Parker takes it but FUMBLES with Darnell Dockett recovering it for the Cardinals.

Warner is back on the field and throws an incomplete pass which was almost picked off. Another incomplete pass follows, but the third time is a charm as Breaston takes it to the ARI 48, followed by a Fitzgerald catch to the PIT 33. The Cardinals take their first timeout with 1:01 left on the clock. They hand off to Hightower for a gain of 5, followed by another first down pass to Ben Patrick. Hightower is stopped before the line, and the Cards take their second time out. Warner throws it, but it is INTERCEPTED by Ryan Clark who runs it all the way to the ARI 16 with one second left on the clock.

A little more speed and he would have had the touchdown, but again Jeff Reed comes in for his third field goal attempt, and again he makes it to end the half. ARI 10, PIT 9.


Arrington takes the kick to the 31, and Warner comes back in to make up for his previous pick that cost him 3 points. He hands it to Hightower who tries to fight it off but still gets no gain. Warner goes to the gun, and completes to to Breaston, but is currently at 3rd and Inches. Troy Polamalu, long hair and all, comes in and stops Hightower before he can cross the first down line, and the Cardinals punt it away.

The punt is almost blocked and goes out of bounds at the PIT 37. Parker takes the carry and gains 4, followed by another 4 yard carry. The Steelers are average 4 yard per run so far. Ben throws to Davis but is short by a yard, and Berger comes back in to punt the ball. It's a great punt as it is down at the ARI 5.

Warner is deep, throws but Fitzgerald fails to catch it, but the result for the following pass is worse for Warner….PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK! This time the interception is made by Bryant McFadden, who doesn't get a touchdown but takes it to the ARI 2.

This is a golden opportunity for the Steelers, Ben takes his time, then passes it directly to Matt Spaeth…TOUCHDOWN STEELERS! They attempt the 2 point conversion, throwing to Holmes, who drops it. PIT 15, ARI 10.

Breaston makes the catch in the end zone and runs it to the ARI 33. The first pass is dropped, and then Hightower is stopped after gaining only 1. 3rd and 9 coming up, and Warner is in the gun. He completes it again to Fitzgerald at the ARI 47. Hightower carries it again and gains 5. Warner throws a completed pass, but Terrell Smith is unable to stay in bounds, making it 3rd and 5 at the PIT 48. Fitzgerland does the unthinkable, dropping a pass in double coverage, causing a punt situation. The punt goes into the end zone for a touchback.

With the ball on the PIT 20, Ben throws again to Spaeth for a first down gain of 14. Parker then carries but loses a yard, followed by a gain of a single yard. Big Ben goes to the gun but his pass, intended for Holmes was blocked. Berger comes out and punts it to Breaston who takes it to the 41.

Hightower is stopped after gaining 3, followed by another gain of 3. Play action on third down hits Pope for a first down at the PIT 43. Warner throws again, but Boldin cannot hold on to it. Another throw is complete to Smith for 7 yards. 3rd and 3 at the 36, and Smith makes the completion, but is short by 2 yards. Rackers comes in for a 51 yard attempt…it's wide right!

Roethlisberger takes over at the PIT 41 and Willie Parker runs it for 4. Two minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Another batted pass leads to 3rd down. Spaeth makes the catch but falls just short, leading to Berger coming out for another punt. Not a good punt as it goes out of bounds at the ARI 25.

Hightower again gets the ball but only gets a yard. Pope makes a catch for a gain of 9 yards but the linesman call it as 3rd and inches. The call is big for the Steelers as they stop the run and the punt team comes out again for what might be the last play of the quarter. Holmes is the receiver, and he takes it up to the PIT 33 to end the quarter with the Steelers leading by 5.


Big Ben completes the pass but it was caught out of bounds. The next one though is caught by Holmes for 10 yards and the first down. Holmes takes the next catch and gains 6 on the play Heath Miller follows up but gets a first down catch at the ARI 39. Parker hits the line hard and loses a yard. Hines Ward makes the catch to take the ball to the 34 and a 3rd and 5 situation. In the gun, Roethlisberger hands off to Mewelde Moore for a successful draw play, taking it to the 25 and a first down. Another run to Parker gains 2 yards, but the following run by Parker is huge, breaking two tackles and taking it all the way to the ARI 3. The first pass by Big Ben is blocked in the end zone, but the next one gets thrown to Hines Ward…TOUCHDOWN STEELERS! This time they just take the extra point, and make this a two score game. PIT 22, ARI 10.

Arrington takes the ball in the end zone and only gets to the ARI 22. Do or die time for Kurt Warner, who hands it off to Hightower for a single yard. Warner then throws it to Anquan Boldin for another first down. Pope gets another completion of 10 yards, followed by yet another completion to Jerheme Urban for nine yards leading to a Cardinals first down. Hightower gets another run for a single yard, then Warner hits Fitzgerald big, taking it to the 29. Hightower gets the handoff and fights for a gain of 2. Warner throws it but DeShea Townsend is able to bat it away leading to another 3rd down. But once again, Kurt Warner is able to connect with Anquan Boldin to get the Cardinals a first down in the Heinz Red Zone. Boldin gets the catch yet again…TOUCHDOWN CARDINALS! The extra point attempt is good and we got ourselves a ball game. PIT 22, ARI 17.

There is 3:33 left to go in the game, and the Cardinals kick it deep. Mewelde Moore takes it to the PIT 26. We should be looking at a lot of clock control here, and that seems to be the case as Parker takes the handoff but loses two yards. They are running the clock down as much as they can, completing a play action to Matt Spaeth, but he runs out of bounds after gaining 14, stopping the clock with 2:32 to go. Parker runs it up the gut for nothing but continues to run the clock down to the two minute warning. Davis takes the run for a gain of six and Arizona takes their first time out. Moore gets another run but is stopped short. The Steelers have to punt after Arizona takes their second time out. Breaston takes the punt but is stopped at the ARI 21.

Crunch time for Warner begins with a first down pass to Anquan Boldin. Tick…Tick…Tick… Fitzgerald makes another completion to the ARI 46. Tick….Tick….Tick…..Another audible, and then Warner throws to Boldin who takes it all the way to the ARI 25. Tick…Tick…Tick… Warner spikes the ball with 34 seconds left. Warner throws again to Fitzgerald in the end zone in double coverage…TOUCHDOWN CARDINALS! They attempt the two point conversion. They attempt the shotgun draw and it succeeds to lead by a field goal. ARI 25, PIT 22.

There is just 29 seconds left in the game and Moore takes the kickoff in the end zone, running it to the PIT 30 with 23 seconds left. Short pass to Heath Miller gains 10 for a first down with the Steelers calling their first timeout. The next pass is incomplete, intended for Nate Washington. Ben throws it to Hines Ward tot he 44, resulting in a first down and the Steelers calling their second time out with 10 seconds to go! Another completion to Santonio Holmes takes it to the 41 but does not get it out of bounds so the Steelers are forced to take their last time out with 4 seconds to go.

Hail Mary time. Roethlisberger throws to the end zone….intended for Nate Washington….the pass is up….it's in…IT"S GOOD!!!!! TOUCHDOWN STEELERS WITH NO TIME LEFT ON THE CLOCK!

The Steelers win on a miracle play by Ben Roethlisberger to Nate Washington, reminiscent of "The Catch" done by Joe Montana to Dwight Clark, in one of the greatest Super Bowl finishes in history, to win their record breaking sixth Vince Lombardi trophy. And in making that play, with an amazing 107.2 QB rating and 3 TD passes with no picks, Ben Roethlisberger will win the Super Bowl MVP award.

Of course, before any of you Arizona Cardinals fanboys send me any hate mail, remember this is only a simulation of the upcoming game, and remember I was wrong in the past (Panthers beat Patriots ring a bell?)

Currently Playing: Fallout 3-Operation Anchorage (360)

Waiting For: Resident Evil 5 (360,) Street Fighter IV (360)

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