ESPN on-air personalities offer their predictions for Super Bowl XLIII. Of the 29 ESPN picks, 22 chose the Steelers, while just seven selected the Cardinals as the anticipated winner of this year’s Super Bowl game in Tampa, Fla.:


Chris Berman, Host of Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown: 27-17, “Big Ben once again stands tall in the pocket like John Wayne on the Ponderosa.”

Mike Ditka
, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst: 24-21, “The defense and special teams will prevail.”

John Anderson
, SportsCenter anchor: 34-17, “Arizona makes it to the final two only to get blown out. Wait. Where have I seen this result before? Oh yes, Sen. John McCain (R) Arizona.”

Merril Hoge, NFL Live, NFL Matchup and NFL PrimeTime analyst: 24-17, “The Cardinals are playing all phases of football better than the Steelers, but the Steelers are just too strong and too consistent on defense and they pose too many concerns on offense for the Cards to handle for 60 minutes.”

Colin Cowherd, host of ESPN Radio’s The Herd: 31-21, “The better defense beats the better offense and what in the world is Arizona even doing here?”

Todd McShay, NFL Draft analyst and Director of College Scouting for ESPN Scouts Inc.: 27-24, “The Cardinals are a scary team right now. They’re coaching staff is familiar with the Steelers’ version of the 3-4 defense, quarterback Kurt Warner can pick up the blitz effectively and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is the ultimate pass-catching weapon. However, the Steelers will take away Arizona’s run game and eventually will find a way to get pressure on Warner. On the other side of the ball, Willie Parker will be the difference, as he provides much-needed balance for the Steelers’ offense.”

Ron Jaworski, Monday Night Football and NFL Matchup analyst: 21-20, “I like the matchup of Heath Miller and Adrian Wilson in man-to-man coverage. Miller will be the difference maker.”

Erik Kuselias, ESPN Radio host: 20-13, “Like my dad always said: Don’t confuse what you WANT to happen with what WILL happen.”

Chris Mortensen, NFL senior analyst: 27-23, “I admit I have waffled on the winner. In the end, Big Ben finds a way.”

Skip Bayless, First Take and 1st and 10 commentator: 27-17, “This is the NFL’s best defense vs. the worst defense ever to make it to a Super Bowl. Pittsburgh’s defense will be antidote enough for Arizona’s explosive offense, and Pittsburgh’s average offense will feel like it’s at a picnic after dealing with such a brutal schedule, including Baltimore three times.”

Jay Crawford, First Take and 1st and 10 co-host: 20-10, “Pittsburgh’s defense doesn’t completely shutdown Warner and Fitzgerald but they do enough to win.”

Scott Van Pelt, SportsCenter anchor: 30-20, “I think Arizona will score some…I don’t think they will win though.”

Russell Baxter, NFL research coordinator: 40-23, “Pittsburgh’s ability to win games on both offense and defense is the key and while Arizona has been very opportunistic throughout the playoffs, they must get takeaways to slow down an offense, which is something you can’t count on every game. The Steelers’ defense has been consistent throughout the season (they could come up with a defensive score and a safety here) will ultimately be the difference in the second half.”

Jemele Hill, Page 2 writer and 1st and 10 commentator: 27-23, “This is not a comfortable pick for me. Arizona reminds me a lot of how last year’s Giants transformed. And the most dangerous team is always the one with the least expectations. But I just can’t see them bettering Pittsburgh’s defense.”

Mike Golic, NFL Live analyst and co-host of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning: 31-21, “I’m going with the Steelers. I just think overall they are the better team.”

Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning and SportsCenter anchor: 27-15, “The Steelers defense is one of the greatest of all time and they will prove it one more time by shutting down a very good, but not great, Arizona offense.”

Steve Levy, SportsCenter anchor: 31-24, “The Cardinals have the best looking helmet in the NFL, but it’s not good enough to beat the best defense in the NFL. Two weeks between games gives the Steelers playmakers the advantage.”

Tom Jackson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst: 21-17, “Because defense wins championships!”

Trey Wingo, NFL Live and NFL PrimeTime host: 28-20, “The Steelers pressure will do what no one has been able to do all post-season – get to Kurt Warner.”

Trent Dilfer, NFL Live analyst: 33-18, “The Steelers jump to an early lead and put their offense in the short-field position all day long.”

Marcellus Wiley, NFL Live analyst: 37-14, “They have the best defense and when you start to name all of the weapons on offense like Parker, Holmes and Roethlisberger, it’s just too much, so they win the game in the big fashion.”

Mike Tirico, Monday Night Football play by play commentator: 26-20, “The Steelers running game will control the second half and bring the team a sixth championship.”


Keyshawn Johnson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst: 31-17, “Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley is in a groove calling the right play at the right time. He’ll make the right adjustments against the Pittsburgh D.”

Mark Schlereth, ESPN NFL Live and NFL PrimeTime analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion: 27-24, “Ken Whisenhunt’s familiarity with the Pittsburgh defensive personnel allows Kurt Warner to have a big day through the air.”

Cris Carter, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst: 23-20, “Larry Fitzgerald is in what great athletes consider “the Zone!” Fantastic finish to what has been a very unusual year.”

Sal Paolantonio, Correspondent: 27-21, “This is a bad matchup for the Steelers’ defense. Kurt Warner’s quick release will diffuse the effectiveness of the Steelers zone blitz. And Larry Fitzgerald’s constant pre-snap motion, speed and leaping ability will occupy the attention of Troy Polamalu, who then won’t able to attack the line of scrimmage with the same ferocity.”

Emmitt Smith, Monday Night Countdown analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion: 34-28, “I’m going with an upset. The ‘difference makers’ for this ball club are the reason for the win and they are: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Coach Ken Whisenhunt and Kurt Warner.”

Steve Young, Monday Night Countdown analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion: 35-31, “Kurt Warner cements his place in Canton, Ohio. He’ll be remembered as one of the best all-time greatest quarterbacks in playoff history.”

Stuart Scott, SportsCenter anchor: 27-24, “The Cardinals win in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.”


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