I think my prediction about the outcome depending on crits did not come true.
Here's my summary of the game with crit analysis:
- Steelers score on the first drive. Cardinals hold them to a field goal instead of a touchdown. No big critical successes or failures here.
- Cardinals fail to maintain the drive in a non-crit way.
- Steelers score a solid touchdown, again without crits.
- With 2 minutes left in the first half, Steelers' Roethlisberger bounces a ball off a helmet for an interception. Critical failure! With my analysis of good/bad for whom, I call this bad for the Steelers.
- In the last play of the half, James Harrison intercepts a touchdown and runs it back a full hundred yards for a touchdown. Holy cow! If this was just an interception, I'd call it a bad-for-Cardinals crit--but this is bad for the Cardinals and good for the Steelers. Can I call this a double crit, though I really didn't include those in my predictions?
(Side note: I looked at Wikipedia's article on James Harrison at halftime. It mentioned his record-setting return, but went on to say that the Steelers had won the Super Bowl (true) and that James Harrison was MVP (false).)
- Steelers get down near the endzone again, but again settle for a field goal. I don't see any crits here.
- During a Cardinals drive in the third quarter, there's a fumble, which I'd call a bad-for-Cardinals crit--but it gets reversed because of a penalty. This too doesn't really fit my model of crits. Cardinals get a touchdown, but I don't see anything I'd call a big crit in that drive.
- In the fourth quarter, Steelers get a penalty in an attempt to get out of the endzone that turns into a safety. A safety?! I had not been expecting a safety at all. Is that a critical failure?
- Kurt Wagner throws a great throw to Larry Fitzgerald, who runs it in for a great touchdown. Is this a crit, or just a very solid run?
- In the last few minutes of the game, Roethlisberger completes a great long pass to Santonio Holmes, then completes a touchdown to Holmes just barely in the corner of the endzone. Are either of these crits, or just solid runs?
- The Cardinals make a tight desperation run to try to score with a minute to go, but fumble the ball with seconds to spare. I would call this a bad-for-Cardinals crit normally, but I'm not sure it really counts since they were in such a desperate position anyway.
So, I think that my prediction falls down because the crits aren't as clear as I predicted. But just for completeness, I'll see how the rest of my claims stack up. I'll call these the crits:
- Roethlisberger's intercepted pass; critical failure, bad for Steelers.
- James Harrison's interception and return. I'll even call this two critical successes, one bad for Cardinals, one good for Steelers.
- Kurt Warner's fumble just before the finish. Bad for Cardinals.
So, the claims:
#1. There will be 4 +/- 2 crits during the game.
This happens to come out right.
#2. I predict that the "non-crit" score is 20 Steelers, 17 Cardinals, and that each crit is worth about 6 points. I claim that if you take that non-crit prediction of 20 and add or subtract 6 points per crit in the obvious way, the result will be within 4 points of the Steelers' final score.
The good-for-Steelers crit and the bad-for-Steelers crit cancel out. Predicted Steelers score: 20. Wrong.
#3. Ditto for the Cardinals.
17 - 6 * 2 bad-for-Cardinals crits = 5. Wrong.
#4. At least one of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, or Troy Polamalu will score a critical success. Wrong. You could fudge by calling Fitzgerald's great run a crit, perhaps.
#5. Critical successes will outnumber critical failures. Two each, so I'm wrong, but not far wrong.
So I'm one for five on these predictions.
In retrospect, I'd say a key factor for the game was the penalties. There were multiple cases when the Cardinals had to punt because of penalty yards, and the safety against the Steelers was caused by a penalty as well.