Madden NFL 09 predicts sixth Super Bowl ring for Steelers

The NFL playoffs this year have been insane. It seems as if regular-season success means absolutely nothing come January — for example, my Giants, the NFC’s top seed, were the victims of a 23-11 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, the spate of upsets in 2009 caused ESPN’s Bill Simmons to muse on the January 12th edition of his podcast, The B.S. Report, that “we might as well just have videogames play the playoff games.”

As it turns out, EA Sports does indeed run a simulation of the Super Bowl each year with the latest Madden game. Now that the matchup for Super Bowl XLIII has been set — the NFC’s Arizona Cardinals will go up against the AFC’s Pittsburgh Steelers — the folks at EA Sports played out the big game in Madden NFL 09 to see what might happen on Sunday in Tampa Bay.

By halftime, the Steelers had built up a 21-7 lead on a touchdown run from Willie Parker and TD receptions to Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward. But the high-octane Cardinals offense made a game out of it, responding with a second Edgerrin James TD run and a 15-yard TD strike to Larry Fitzgerald to make it 28-21. The game went down to the wire, but alas, the Cards could only manage a field goal, and the Steelers walked off the field, Super Bowl champions for the sixth time — an NFL record. (More details can be found in the press release after the jump.)

EA sent over some footage from the simulation, which you can watch above, as well as ten screenshots. The actual Super Bowl is only five days away — who do you guys think will take home the Lombardi Trophy?

EA SPORTS PREDICTS SUPER BOWL XLIII CHAMPION USING MADDEN NFL 09

January 23, 2009 — Black and gold will reign supreme in Tampa Bay, according to the official EA SPORTS simulation of Super Bowl XLIII by Madden NFL 09. According to the award-winning video game, the Pittsburgh Steelers will win an unprecedented sixth Super Bowl title in a tightly contested game against the Arizona Cardinals, by a final score of 28-24. Holding off a fourth quarter comeback by the Cardinals, the Steelers bring the Vince Lombardi trophy back to the Steel City for the second time in the past four years and for a sixth time in franchise history, setting an NFL record.

Madden NFL 09 is the most authentic and adaptable game in sports video game history, and utilizing each team’s current roster and the latest player statistics, EA SPORTS matched the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals in a simulation of Super Bowl XLIII. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 3 touchdowns and was named the Super Bowl MVP; joining teammate Hines Ward who was the Super Bowl XL MVP. Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin, became the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl, at the age of 36.

The start of Super Bowl XLIII became a defensive struggle, 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’ 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.

Super Bowl XLIII kicks off Sunday, February 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Samit Sarkar