The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to squeak past the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl with a score of 28-24, according to an “official EA Sports simulation” of Super Bowl XLIII using Madden NFL 09.
EA matched the Steelers and Cardinals using the teams' current rosters and player stats in Madden NFL 09, with the simulation culminating in the Steelers holding off a fourth-quarter comeback. The results included Ben Roethlisberger throwing for three touchdowns and being named Super Bowl MVP, sharing the honor with Hines Ward.
The start of the simulation became a defensive struggle, but Pittsburgh scored the first points with a 10-yard touchdown reception to Santonio Holmes with less than two minutes left in the first quarter. The Cardinals answered with an aggressive running game as Edgerrin James slashed through the Steelers' defense with an 8-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the second quarter. Pittsburgh responded with two consecutive touchdowns — a 10-yard jaunt by Willie Parker and a 13-yard strike to Ward. The Steelers headed into halftime with a 21-7 lead.
The Cardinals stuck with the running game in the third quarter, with James stampeding 14 yards into the end zone, drawing the score to 21-14. The Steelers churned forward with Holmes' second touchdown reception, closing out the third quarter at 28-14.
The Cardinals defense toughened up, and Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald narrowed the gap with a 15-yard touchdown catch midway through the fourth quarter. Neil Rackers added a 45-yard field goal with 3:15 left in the game, closing the gap to 28-24.
But the Steelers successfully ran out the clock on the following possession, breaking through for a few first downs and sapping the life out of Arizona's comeback.