Remembering the Past:

Before we get into the reading for Stupendous Bowl 40+3, let’s recall some of the predictions that were made before the season for each of the teams that made it to the Conference Championships…as recalled from this article.

Arizona Cardinals: 3 of Cups

‘’A time for celebration and joy that has been long awaited and is welcomed. A group of three will look to celebrate their success.’’

Grade – A+, Super Bowl - no explanation necessary.
OK, let’s see… “Group of Three”… Has to be the receivers, right? Fitz, Q and Da Beast?

It’s not clear - Is it Edge, HT and “Half-Yard" Arrington? Is it the three clip-on bowties hanging in Bill Bidwell’s skeleton-stuffed closet? Perhaps it’s the three lifetimes of suffering that Adrian Wilson – the longest tenured Cardinal player - has endured?

The first part is clear cut – “long awaited and welcomed”, but maybe the group of three is simply ‘underaged drinkers with camera-phones in Matt Leinart’s hot tub’?

Sure, I am biased but I can’t be the only one who believes the Cardinals DESERVE to win a Super Bowl on principle as well as for the good of the sport?

Baltimore Ravens: The Sun

‘’Visualize what you want and it can be yours. This is a time of happiness, cheerfulness and fulfillment. A very good card indeed!’’

Grade – A, AFC Championship
The Ravens have nothing to hang their heads about after this season with a rookie Head Coach and Rookie QB. The future IS indeed bright – once you get over the fact that Lew is for all intensive purposes 534 years old in football years…

Philadelphia Eagles: Judgment-

‘’Rebirth. Rising from the ashes to burn in a new form. However, the rebirth relies on the ashes of the past. Reaping what one sows, indeed.’’

Grade – A, NFC Championship
The “dream” died in Phoenix (rising from the ashes) but ’07 Father of the Year and Ralph McPukey certainly seemed to stave off becoming exiled with each experiencing a “rebirth” late in the season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: High Priest

‘’A spiritual guide has led you astray with operating by new rules. A teacher is failing while the students are passing.’’

Grade – I, Incomplete... Super Bowl
By far, the most mysterious of the pre-season readings. Maybe it has to do with the reorganization of the Rooney Family’s ownership? Maybe there will be some news to break out after the Super Bowl that the Steelers upper management has been active in wrongdoings? Perhaps Stainless Steel Mike is cheating on his wife? Or maybe Tomlin or one of the coordinators will blow the big game at a crucial moment?

Even if the Steelers blow the Super Bowl, they have to consider the season a success. Only time will truly clarify this reading.

One card to represent the season as a whole: 6 of Swords

‘’A time of calm after moving away from stress and difficulties. The journey is leading to a better place but the lingering recent past doesn't want to let go quite yet. Release of tension and anxiety has begun.’’

Grade A+++ - Seriously, was NOTHING better for the NFL than having the Patriots become the best non-factor in the history of sports? Especially, when it did – right away, dawn of the new season, Week One – Perfection re-defined! The equilibrium of the world seemed to change the moment Mr. Bunchden got folded like amateur origami. Maybe Sarah Palin should sue Bernard Pollard for yanking the vice-presidency (and subsequent Presidency) from under her feet!

To the Stupendous Bowl 40+3 Reading!!! At once!

Irony is rich. The “Cards” are in the Stupendous Bowl and here I am reading “cards” about the outcome…

There’s no doubt that I am who I think I am, that I’m considered an Arizona Cardinals fan before I am a fan of any other NFL team. The proof is prancing about ‘out there’. Sure, I’m tired of the “there’s no Cardinals fans” stuff but after being a Rays fan for the past two years this is a veritable cakewalk of fandom.

Any of the 6 million ways you can slice and dice the past few years worth of scenarios and culminating strange events defining my otherwise vague tenure into sports fanship – believe me, six million is a conservative number – I am only here to continue my sincerely objective purveying of the blatant evidence before us… through a set means of archetypes and definitions. Everything in this existence is tied together by unseen forces. Whether it is by some mathematical calculation, on an atomic level, a sub-subatomic level such as neutrinos, by an invisible cosmic energy life-force or by however you want to name the “Un-namable” (God, Coincidence, Randomness, Scientific Theory, Utter Bullshit, etc.) that indescribably ties “everything” and “nothing” together…

The ‘’tough’’ part of relating the energies, blatant observations and forcefully assured feelings one can comprise and resolve is the limitations of communication with our fellow beings. Experiences are singular no matter how well you share the imagery and sensations. No matter what words you can convolute to draw images in another’s mind about an experience, they can never share that exact same experience. So pardon my eloquent attempts to transcribe the events of Thursday, January 29 as to have you absorb them in the same manner as they smacked me over the head, but I shall try, nonetheless.

Deep inside of all of this mess are the answers to any question that can be asked. Unfortunately (or perhaps, MOST fortunately) we cannot find ALL of the answers at once – just the answers that want to make themselves apparent. Stupendous Bowl 40+3 ‘’really wants to’’ make itself apparent – and surely will… come Sunday.

Who the fack wants to wait until then, right?

In an effort to continually bring fresh, original and sports opinion to the 'Chair, the one/the many Mr. Manny Stiles travels the stretches of existence to present Sports Augury with the assistance of "Sports Shaman".

Re-Introduction to the Sports Shaman

The Sports Shaman knows and cares little about the realm of sports. He doesn't follow sports, nor does he ever compete in sports. He prefers to read and study and doesn't even watch TV except when in the company of others. He is an artist by "profession". He practices methods of divination, modern shamanism and studies a variety of realms of anthropology in order to learn the ways of the spiritual guides that traveled before him.

For more on the Sports Shaman, examples of his efforts and the nature of Augury – read here and here… or as it relates to the NBA here and here. Also note - for the record, Sports Shaman is ‘’more than just’’ 4-0 record of predicting but much more definitively downright scary correct!

After preparing the "set and setting" – which includes the usual array of spices, scents, magic ingredients and mystical vapors – in order to produce a proper environment for translating the presentation, we began the reading.

the Sports Shaman's Super Bowl Tarot Reading

This is a description of actual events. The reading took place last night with a Crowley adapted Rider-Waite deck. The readings are actual and true as they occurred – in chronological order - and were not altered by any of my "wishes, wants or anticipations" but in parenthesis are my “takes” on the given descriptions and translations. Those unfamiliar with tarot readings need to understand that the laying out of cards is NOT a future telling method, but similar to the laying down of a picture and interpreting it's meaning.

I am told to enter the room in reverse, as if “re-entering the womb”. This is to represent traveling to a space where will and ego are lost and only truth, spirit and energy can thrive. The room is clouded with incenses – an overwhelming air of copal is instant, clearing and quite soothing - and is quite warm and humid. It is a dark room lit only by a fire and candles and the flickering of the light casts dancing shadows on the drapery and wall hangings of ancient figures – few of whom are recognizable to me other than Zeus, Moses on Mt Sinai, Vishnu and Gilgamesh; quite an array indeed - which encircle the room.

Sports Shaman performs a double sacred coin selection method in which we first determine with one coin which team will be represented by heads and who will be tails, then flip the second coin to see which team’s reading gets done first. The first coin lands on tails and the second coin lands on heads thus determining the Steelers will be read first.


Pittsburgh Steelers Spread

Five cards are laid face down in the "cross" and are turned over one at a time.

Steelers Card One - Center/Present Position
XVIII - "The Moon" – ruled by Pisces

“A most sinister card. The gods of death are standing behind the participants waiting for the outcome. The path is dangerous. The brink of important change – very sensitive to dignity. A head to head challenge/face off; much like the changing of a tide.”

“The card is quite representative of Egypt…. A desert... much like most people’s assumptions of how Arizona must be.”

(Manny's take – Maybe this is a representation of Mike Tomlin – the Steelers head coach vs. Ken Wisenhunt and Russ Grimm – the former Steelers coaches that seemed heirs apparent? Perhaps this Super Bowl is a battle between two of the NFL’s longest and most venerable families of ownership – the Rooneys and the Bidwells - more than a confrontation of two NFL teams. Oddly enough, the Stupendous Bowl is taking place with the rising moon in Aries – a sure sign of confrontation!! BTW – it’s also a good day to prune fruit trees…)

Steelers Card Two - Psychic/Spirit Position
Prince of Swords

Represents the airy part of air – a young man, purely intellectual; full of ideas and clever ideas but unstable of purpose.

“Clearly representing someone - He slays as fast as he creates - I don’t know the guys on the team but more cards may make that clear. Because of its position in the Spirit realm may represent the Quarterback.”

“One odd term here that gets associated with this card – ‘Hail’. Does this mean a ‘Hail Mary’ is in order? Or will it become necessary?”

(Manny's take – Big Ben makes big plays and follows them up with gaffes. Sounds par for the course for Roethlisberger to me! Can he be any worse than his last Super Bowl? Wait a minute… Sports Shaman knows ‘Hail Mary’ as a sports term? Amazing!)

Steelers Card Three - Instinct Position
Knight of Cups

“This is another person of reference; with Strength and Energy of the ocean.”

“Someone is going to be a tidal wave. Someone is going to have a huge game. A peacock personality. A peacock riding a tidal wave, a graceful yet proud force to be reckoned with. May be a player coming out of the woodwork to receive kudos previously unjustified.

(Manny's take – A bunch of vague cards in the present position really piss me off. It’s tough to pin things down when there’s nothing to tie them to. This sounds to me like an O-Lineman is going to cause a loud ruckus or a player is going to have one hell of a TD celebration for us to talk about. As this is an earthy card in their instinct position, the Steelers may have some sweet success with the running game)

Steelers Card Four - Past Position (leads up to present position)
9 of Swords – “Cruelty” – Sun in Gemini

“Agony of mind, malice, pain, despair, loss or worry.”

“Did they have a rough season? Is a player going through a messy divorce or has a sick child? This card is very serious lying right below the Moon card. There’s some pain and oppression that seems overbearing.”

(Manny's take - I really, really can’t help but think that there’s more to the Steelers than what we know. Maybe it’s controversial, maybe it’s Mike Tomlin being a hardass, maybe someone is sick or diseased; perhaps there’s some relationship issues but I can’t shake this feeling at all. Good thing for the Steelers, this card represents the past. The Nine of swords is never a pleasant prospect in any reading. A player with a nine on his jersey is suffering or perhaps nine guys on the team had the clap this season?)

Steelers Card Five - Future Position (travels beyond present position)
Five of Swords - "Defeat" – Venus in Aquarius

Loss, slander, failure, anxiety, poverty, dishonor – grieving after pain, separation of friends

Sports Shaman almost giggled at the turning of the card in the future realm. “With the conditions shown - Intellect weakened by sentiment. It’s pretty clear to me… After the face-off comes defeat. Perhaps there’s too much pressure to achieve a greatness they can’t know. In line with the swords in the background, they know they feel strong but their strength – as impressive as it may be – will not be the keystone of victory. Tidal waves of glory may be impressive but they won’t be enough.” Then S.S. summed it up eloquently - “Defeat is defeat.”

(Manny's take – “Defeat is defeat” What else is there to read? I guess we’re done here, right?)

The funny thing about readings with the Sports Shaman is that it doesn’t take long for a vague picture to become clear with hit-you-over-the-head type blatancy.

Sports Shaman's Steelers Spread Translation

“I feel it’s going to be a very good game. Obviously someone unexpected from the Steelers is going to shine. The Quarterback – the heart and spirit-base of the team – is ready to lead. It looks like a heartbreak kind of loss and the outcome will be agony. Yes, agony… heartbreak”

(Manny's take – Can I possibly, FINALLY get my dream to come true??? An Overtime Stupendous Bowl??? Make the NFL change the stupid rules already!!!! Time for the OT to simply be a fifth quarter!!! Make it ten minutes, make it five minutes, I don’t care! Just stop the stupid coin flip B.S… and let the OT be just like the rest of the game!)

Arizona Cardinals Spread

The Sports Shaman cuts in “I don’t know any of the Steelers but I do have a semblance of some of the Cardinals player’s personalities” Obviously, living in Arizona lends one to absorb the local sports culture even if by accident. Knowing the Sports Shaman – who is not a very athletic being – he can’t know much about the Cardinals’ player either…

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Here is the Cardinals spread - The Devil is in the Details...

Cardinals Card One - Center/Present Position
2 of Wands - “Dominion” – Mars in Aries

Fire in its highest form. Energy initiating a current of force. Influence over another.

“Compared to the Moon card in the Steelers’ present position – where they were more ‘mano a mano’ – the Cardinals are feeling more of a ‘hey, we got you!’. Boldness, fierceness, courage. I think the Cardinals are feeling more ‘Pow!’ and the Steelers are thinking ‘We are evenly matched’. A very centered card; very definitive and very powerful.”

(Manny's take – Are the Cardinals feeling ‘’too’’ confident? Nah…)

Cardinals Card Two - Psychic/Spirit Position
X – Fortune - Jupiter

Change of fortune, a very good destiny.

S.S.’s first impression upon the turn of the card - “This card is the team, not an individual. Balanced, insightful and intelligent.”

“Whereas the Steelers card in this position represented a sole being, this is clearly a group overcoming a ‘where we have been’ to transforming into a ‘we are here’… clearly a very good spiritual position; present and focused energies. There’s no distractions.”

(Manny's take – I think the Cardinals are coming out with a pretty tight game plan. They’re going to need it if they are going to beat the NFL’s #1 rated defense. Funny though, S.S. relayed the Cardinals team spirituality as being high – everyone knows that Kurt Warner is a devout Christian and yet not overbearingly so for the most part and he takes a lot of pressure off his team by putting himself in the role of spiritual leader. Besides Warner, the Cards definitely have some high character players on the roster.)

Cardinals Card Three - Instinct Position
Ten of Cups - "Happiness" - Mars in Pisces

“Wow. Blends right in.”

“The cups are arranged on the tree of life. Exhaustion which comes from expended energy is expressed. Pursuit of pleasure crowned with perfect success but as of now, incomplete. Matters arranged and settled as wished. Lasting success.”

“They’ve already found an incomplete glory and the matters are arranged to be settled as they wish. Seems kind of business-like and not just happy to be there. Keyword here is peace. Remember, this is on the instinct level. This is their driving force.”

(Manny's take – The Ten of Cups is the “dreams do come true” card. I don’t think the Cardinals are “proving the world wrong” as much as they are just manifesting their life energy and generosity as human beings. Maybe the vibe is weird in here but I’m seeing the Cardinals in a different, glowing light in my mind sitting in this suddenly cloudy space.

As for lasting success? I can see them winning another NFC West crown or two but I’m not banking on this team becoming another pseudo-dynasty.)

Cardinals Card Four - Past Position (leads up to present position)
XVII - The Star – Aquarius

“Built on a design of a spiral to represent the rising force of a new age. The shift from the crystallized dogmas of a former age to the rising of a new star.”

“It seems that these cards are more spiritually intertwined and beneficial, more exponential to each other on the positive aspect than the Steelers’ cards were.”

(Manny's take – What the Sports Shaman says to me – I can’t keep up with him sometimes - hints at Tim Hightower… ‘young, new face, dawning of a change – unexpected help’ Really??? Maybe this is Edgerrin James handing the reins over to Hightower – former star to the new star. I can’t help but think – due to some S.S. hints - Hightower is going to make an impact play or two to decide this game.

Yeah, yeah… ‘Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer’ debaters – blah, blah, blah…. Where is all the ‘Edgerrin James is a Hall of Famer’ talk???)

Cardinals Card Five - Future Position (travels beyond present position)
XV - The Devil - Capricorn

“Yeah. This seals the deal for me.” S.S. mutters then goes into deep thought to come up with the right words for the summary. “The Devil in the Cardinals’ future against the Steelers’ “Defeat” in their future, the Cardinals are going to win. In line with the other cards in this spread, it has a very positive connotation.”

Most people think of the Devil card and instantly assume the Devil is an evil card. Anything but evil, the card represents the shadow side of the light. It is contrasts, opposites and It represents two opposite powers under the same circumstance. On the card it represents a male and female force both chained and bound by division or dichotomy – balancing forces like “good and evil” or “right and wrong” or perhaps in this case, “winning and losing”. The Devil - whom with the ‘eye of God’ is present in all conditions - oversees the participants and applies a force under which are the rules of the engagement.

“It could represent the general fear and disgust people will express with a Cardinals victory. Would people be upset and loath this outcome?” S.S. inquires…

“Pretty much.” I respond.

“There’s so much disbelief that the Cardinals are even in the game in the general consciousness that a victory in the game would be a moral defeat to the consensus?” S.S. surmises…

“Pretty much.” I deadpan.

(Manny's take – Wanna bet me that a referee’s action will have a sway on the game’s outcome? Me thinks it will be something as simple as a coin toss going the Cardinals’ way and hopes it’s not a blown call that changes the outcome.

I really, really hope this game doesn’t get tainted by people’s ridiculous anticipation that things have to be a certain way to be enjoyed thoroughly. I don’t want to hear “the ratings sucked” on Monday… I want to hear “The game was great and the commercials sucked”.)

Sports Shaman's Cardinals Spread Translation

“Maybe the Devil card represents the game itself – especially considering its position amongst the Cardinals’ seemingly spiritually-based cards – perhaps the game has the exact opposite impact socially as what the Cardinals are founded upon as a team? There’s no doubting the Cardinals are trying to represent themselves differently than what the Super Bowl represents.”

S.S. takes a moment and begins to light a cigar.

“The Cardinals are in place to be at the right place. Whereas the Steelers seem more individually-based, the Cardinals are a team and the cards represent that well.”

(Manny's take – This is going to be a good game! A few of the Steelers are going to have an outstanding game but team effort will show through. I just hope- hope- hope that the referees aren’t the difference!)

Cut Readings

Cut readings are made by shuffling the deck in the standard manner and reading the card pulled. For this part, we chose to do individual readings for the offense, defense and special teams for each team. The card would define significant questions and strategic realities they will encounter.

Steelers Offense Two of Wands – “Dominion” – Mars in Aries

This is the same card as the Cardinals have in their “Present” position.

“The Steelers offense is going to be strong but as indicated by the Knight of Cups, someone is going to be dominant for the Steelers. The Quarterback might make crucial mistakes that will lead to their inevitable doom. (Manny's take – It’s not impossible to see Big Ben throw the game away. It seems the Cardinals defense has made some very good QBs look very bad during the playoffs.)

Cardinals Offense" Six of Swords – “Science” - Mercury in Aquarius

“Intelligence that has realized its goal.”

“The Cardinals Quarterback is going to outsmart the defense. He might start out with some anxiety but after he calms down he will see success. Once he finds where to aim his ‘sword” he will find a point where he can stand invulnerably and perfectly balance his opposition.”

(Manny's take – The Cardinals are going to utilize their play action well and keep the Steelers at bay and off balance. The Cardinals are going to use their game plan well to shred the Steelers seemingly-overpowering defense and use the Steelers’ aggressiveness against them. Ken Wisenhunt and Russ Grimm know exactly what the Steelers are going to do… maybe not to the degree as Jon Gruden knew what the Raiders were going to do in their Stupendous Bowl, but still...)

Steelers Defense The Moon – XVII – Pisces

“Overconfidence. The jackals wait to devour those who have fallen by the way. Not a very powerful action – more of a wait and see.”

“I think this is going to be a high scoring game. It seems both offenses are going to be stronger than the defenses. A lack of typical aggression for the Steelers’ defense.”

Then S.S. asks a pretty simple question. “Is the Steelers defense usually a strength?”

I giggle and respond… “You could say that.”

(Manny's take – The Steelers obviously have a great defense but maybe this is the time where their confidence is more than reality. Or perhaps the Steelers simply don’t match up with the Cardinals very well.)

Cardinals Defense Queen of Swords

“Graceful woman – a keen observer – intensely perceptive and an intense individualist. Confident, gracious and just. She’s holding a head in one hand – with relaxed ease, almost invitingly - and a sword in another. She’s VERY casual… even her breasts are hanging out and she doesn’t mind it. There’s little to describe who or why the victim was beheaded. The Queen of Swords is a deep thinker and knows how to use the mind – which is the basis of swords.”

(Manny's take – It seems like the Cardinals are going to be very, very prepared and will focus on negating, specifically one particular weapon of the Steelers – Hines Ward? And they should do it in an easy, almost inviting or enticing manner. ‘Come and beat us, #86’…)

Steelers Special Teams Nine of Disks – “Gain” – Venus in Virgo

“Nine points by the kicker? That’s three field goals, right?”

“This might be the part that keeps them in the game.”

(Manny's take – The Steelers should have a couple good returns maybe some lucky kicks. I don’t think special teams will be a difference maker, however.)

Cardinals Special Teams The Star – XVII - Aquarius

A new star is rising. Also the same card the Cardinals had in their past position. A keyword is “unexpected help”.

(Manny's take – Is this game getting decided by a field goal in overtime or what? Long live Neil Rackers!!!)

Overall Cut Readings

Two simple questions, Two cards; that's it.

Question One: I draw the card...

How will the game play out?

Princess of Wands

“The material aspect of fire capable of bursting into a violent conflagration.”

(Manny's takes – This game is definitely going into overtime and people are going to be PISSED about it. This game is going to be awesome up until the very end and the Cardinals’ win will be tainted by controversy. There’s going to be lots of disgust and ranting on the airwaves Monday for sure…)

I draw the second card to answer...

What is the Outcome?

Nine of Wands – “Strength” - Moon in Sagittarius

“Recovery from sickness. Change IS stability. Victory after apprehension and fear.”

“The NFL is ‘strength’ and this will only enhance their stronghold on society. Regardless of the general interest it will show and revitalize the lower denominator that hope is more than just ‘alive’, it will be solidified. It’s easy for everyone to root for Goliath but it’s more entertaining when David wins.”

S.S. then referenced how “the Rays came out of nowhere and altered the consciousness and that it may be more of a wave of changing energy allowing this to occur – a channel shift – that may be permeating more than just the NFL, but perhaps human existence as a whole.”

(Manny's take – The Cardinals win and the NFL renews its disgusting stronghold on American society but with some merits of goodness. Any team can win, every city has hope and the mechanism is always greater than the machine. Yes, there’s hope for even you, Detroit! But not you, Cincinnati… let’s be realistic!)

Final analysis of the reading

I’ve tried to steer clear in the past of make definitive statements in these pieces – like any megalomaniacal, egotistical, self-righteous and uber-prideful superfreek I’ve wanted to keep my perfect record of methodical predictions and future knowledge plucking unblemished and pure. Who in my position wouldn’t want this outcome to match the divination?

I hope it was entertaining – but I couldn’t care less if I’m “right” or “wrong” in my predictive analysis here. Sure, I want it to be 100% accurate but I can’t brag about seeing or interpreting information that makes itself aware because it has to…

The Cardinals are going to win and they deserve it. From everyone just beneath the owners on down to the janitors, they deserve it! Good for them. It’s good for sports and it’s good for every sports fan when the Cubs are the pro sports franchise - BY FAR - with the longest drought since their last championship.

So take from this what you choose, but choose wisely.

Peacefulness, Manny and S.S

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