1. OK, Arizona, let's get serious: It's time to start talking about re-signing Kurt Warner, and a two-to-three-year deal sounds like a good place to start.
2. On second thought, maybe the Arizona Cardinals had it right when they passed on a quarterback in the 2004 draft. Yeah, they missed on Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, but they picked up Larry Fitzgerald.
3. Perfect. Two years ago Bill Cowher retired, and Pittsburgh wondered where it would turn next. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and offensive line coach Russ Grimm were the most likely choices, but Whisenhunt took the Arizona job -- leaving Grimm as the front-runner. Only he didn't get the job. Mike Tomlin did. And now all three play for one championship.
4. When people talk about mobile quarterbacks they rarely mention Ben Roethlisberger. But watch how he buys time with his feet and tell me he shouldn't be considered. "I've enjoyed getting out of the pocket," Big Ben said. "We play backyard football sometimes."
5. I don't want to hear about all those Cardinals die-hards who never gave up on their team. If there were as many as claimed, why did it take so long to sell out the team's playoff opener?
6. Too bad it isn't Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLIII because the NFL could've saved itself a ton of money by moving the game to State College, Pa. Think about it. It's midway between the two cities. It has a stadium that seats 107,000. And Penn State's Joe Paterno could have kept Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson company in the coaches' booth.
7. Forget about Barack Obama in the White House. I never thought I'd live to see Bill Bidwill in the Super Bowl.
8. Tomlin's greatest accomplishment might have been winning a conference championship game at home. I'm not kidding. Dating back to the 1994 season, the Steelers were 1-4, winning only in January 1996 against the Colts, when then-quarterback Jim Harbaugh's last-second Hail Mary fell incomplete. Now the Steelers break the skid against -- who else? -- Harbaugh's brother, John.
9. See you in New York, Rex Ryan. Listening to John Harbaugh after Sunday's game it sounds as if the Ravens' defensive coordinator is already with the Jets ... which as a matter of fact, he is. "Rex Ryan is going to be a great head coach in the National Football League," said Harbaugh. "I can't thank him enough for what he's done. Rex should have an opportunity to be a head coach here very soon, and he is very deserving of it."
10. Here's how tough the Baltimore-Pittsburgh series was: In three games this season no back had a run longer than 14 yards.
12. This is what I think we're talking about in San Diego: If running back LaDainian Tomlinson doesn't agree to renegotiate or restructure his contract to save the Bolts money he could be gone. With general manager A.J. Smith saying he will evaluate L.T. in the offseason when he never did it before, Tomlinson has reason to worry about his future. Don't tell me the Chargers couldn't cut L.T. Seattle did it two years after Shaun Alexander was the league MVP. San Diego is looking at what he could deliver in 2010 and 2011, the last two years on his contract, and, considering his age and the hits he's absorbed over his career, I'm not sure it's much.
13. The answer is Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick. And the question? Name the only two head coaches left in the NFL with Super Bowl wins. I couldn't believe it, either.
14. I have a spot for Jon Gruden to wind up: Notre Dame. Tell me it doesn't make sense.
15. Signing Raheem Morris as your head coach is a risk; signing Mark Dominik as your GM is riskier. He was going to be one someday, but now? What's the hurry?
Five guys I wouldn't want to be
1. Kansas City's Herman Edwards. I don't think he coaches in Kansas City next year, but I don't know. And that's the problem: Neither does Herm. In the meantime, his assistants are flying the coop, and that's not exactly an encouraging sign.
2. Baltimore's Willis McGahee. I don't like headaches.
3. Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb. The call-in lines are already beginning to light up on WIP, and you can guess what's coming next.
4. Hank Williams unbuttoning his shirt before the AFC Championship Game to reveal a black Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt. Guess that takes care of all future engagements in Baltimore ... and Cleveland ... and Cincinnati.
5. Pittsburgh's Limas Sweed. He dropped one last week. Then he dropped a sure touchdown against Baltimore. Afterward, he stayed on the ground and grabbed his knee (at least he was able to hold on there), costing Pittsburgh its last first-half timeout ... and a certain field goal the Steelers couldn't kick at the end of the half because the clock expired.
Just asking but ...
• Is it too early to push Kurt Warner for the Hall of Fame?
• Does Philadelphia re-sign
• Why can't anyone cover
• With Mike Shanahan available, what in the world is Dallas waiting on?
• If you're Carolina, whom do you designate as your franchise player -- Jordan Gross or
Five things I like
1. Kurt Warner in the Super Bowl. Nice guys can finish first.
2. That fourth-and-1 call to Arizona's Tim Hightower in the fourth quarter. It takes guts to go wide, but the Cards must have learned from what Philadelphia did when Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs tried to go up the middle on fourth downs.
3. John Harbaugh on challenges. A week ago he contested an apparent Bo Scaife catch and won. Now he challenges an apparent Santonio Holmes goal-line catch and wins again. Talk about alert. CBS analyst Phil Simms was calling for Mike Tomlin to challenge because he thought Holmes' knees didn't touch down ... which they didn't. But Harbaugh was quicker on the draw.
4. Santonio Holmes against Baltimore. The guy is always in or around the end zone.
5. McGahee on blitz pick-ups. I swear, the guy is tougher to beat than Cliff Lee.
Five things I don't
1. Quintin Demps' cheap shot on Kurt Warner. C'mon, Quintin, pick on someone your own age.
2. David Akers' afternoon. He misses a field goal. He botches a kickoff. He flubs an extra point. Maybe he should meet Mrs. O'Leary's cow.
3. Arizona's Anquan Boldin chewing out offensive coordinator Todd Haley on the sidelines, presumably for not getting him the ball. This just in, Anquan: You play on the same team with Fitzgerald.
4. Joe Flacco playing from behind. The poor guy didn't have a chance after the Ravens fell behind by two possessions, and that 18.2 passer rating is the proof.
5. Pittsburgh without Hines Ward. Tell me Ward wouldn't have made the catch that Sweed botched. One thing about Sweed, though: He does know how to block. Watch that shot on poor Corey Ivy, and you'd swear it was Ward throwing down the hammer. "I liked his response," coach Mike Tomlin said. "I just wish he'd catch the football, and then he wouldn't have to respond."
Numbers, numbers, numbers
0 -- Baltimore first downs in its first four series
3 -- Joe Flacco completions in the first half
3 -- Joe Flacco interceptions
18.2 -- Joe Flacco's passer rating
12 -- Arizona takeaways in the playoffs
77.3 -- Average rushing yards per game by Arizona's playoff opponents
145.7 -- Kurt Warner passer rating
3:35 -- Time it took to complete AFC Championship Game
3-0 -- Kurt Warner in conference championship games
1-4 -- Donovan McNabb in conference championship games
Playoffs Hardware Store
1. MVP: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona. Are you kidding me? He torches Carolina. He torches Philadelphia. He winds up with five touchdowns in the playoffs, 419 yards and 38 percent of the Arizona offense. Oh, yeah, his 23 catches were more than three times the Cardinals' runner-up.
2. Offensive Player: Fitzgerald. He was more difficult to cover than Lady Godiva. His 419 yards were 68 more than the rest of the team.
3. Defensive Player: Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu. His interception return sends the Steelers to another Super Bowl. "Certain guys are built for these moments," Tomlin said. "That is why he is who he is. It's not too big for him." If the New York Yankees still are interested in a centerfielder, I'd start with this guy or Ed Reed.
4. Head coach: Whisenhunt. I couldn't believe he won one playoff game. But he won three. And he has the Cardinals where I never, ever, ever imagined them -- one victory from a Super Bowl. Now the bad news: He must win one more on the East Coast.
5. Assistant coach: Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. His defense was the best in the NFL during the season, and it was lights-out against Baltimore -- with the lights turned out by Polamalu. You gotta feel for Flacco, who suffered the most against these guys. In the past two starts against Pittsburgh he completed 24 of 58 for 256 yards, with no touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer rating of 19.03. Oh, yeah, he didn't beat them this year, either.