Why Birds are going to the Super Bowl

Eagles QB Donovan McNabb won't have to worry about the cold in Arizona, but he will have to keep the hot hand that has helped the Eagles on their miraculous run. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)


1. Donovan McNabb, of course. In the win over the Giants, McNabb was by far the better quarterback. He was resourceful, tough and made plenty of correct decisions … playfully answering the Giants’ phone not being one of them. He’s getting great protection, something that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

2. Have you noticed how much smarter Andy Reid sounds these days at his (once-annoying) news conferences? Yep, you’ve got a winner in town. And Reid’s newly found genius might be too much for Cardinals second-year coach Ken Whisenhunt.

3. How good is this Eagles’ defense? Best ever? Better than the Reggie White-Jerome Brown top-ranked defense? Statistically, this year’s defense is not as good. Lately, this year’s group is coming up with one enormous play after another — as your replay of the Giants’ game shows.

4. David Akers was strong at Giants Stadium and he will be headed indoors in Arizona. That will shorten the field for the offense, and make them a threat to score frequently. Field goals are gold in a tight, defensive game.

5. With each week and each victory, fate is a factor. It’s not easy to believe in such things, but evidence continues to mount and, that’s right, the Super Bowl is in Tampa. Without the Bucs’ collapse, the Eagles don’t even make the playoffs. We make that point without once bringing up the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays.


Which bird will win?


1. Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald might be the best receiver on the planet. He is big, strong and tough. He has made some of the season’s great catches in the playoffs alone. He goes up in the air with a defender, or two, and comes down with the ball.

2. Edgerrin James’ return to the offense has coincided with Arizona’s dominance. James is one of the NFL’s great backs and if he has a big game — and Brian Westbrook does not — the Cards have a great chance to win.

3. The Cardinals’ defense is underrated because no one knows their players. In the regular season, the Cardinals’ defense was ranked 19th. In the playoffs, they are ranked second and against Carolina it seemed they were getting turnovers every other possession.

4. Kurt Warner is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback (good for Cards). He is 37 years old (maybe bad for Cards). In the playoffs, he has completed 62.5 percent of his passes. He did even better in the regular season (67.1). If he stays upright and cool while the Eagles blitz their brains out, they might be partying in the desert.

5. If the Eagles players are as overconfident as their fans, and play that way, the Cardinals will win. It’s easy to look past the Cardinals, who were crushed at the Linc on Thanksgiving night. Just as the Eagles aren’t as bad now as they were in Cincinnati, the Cardinals aren’t as bad now as they were that night.

-- Chuck Bausman

To read the transcript of Sam Donnellon's chat from Arizona, click here.