EA Sports has made its annual Super Bowl prediction, calling for a tight game that ultimately ends in victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Madden NFL 09 prognostication began with a first quarter that remained scoreless until Pittsburgh landed a ten-yard touchdown reception with less than ten minutes to go. The Arizona Cardinals responded early in the second quarter with an eight-yard touchdown run, but the Steelers struck twice more and by the end of the first half had built up a 21-7 lead.

Arizona was not yet done, coming out in the second half with another short touchdown run and closing the game to 21-14, but again the Black and Gold came back with a TD of their own, moving up to 28-14 by the end of the third quarter and seemingly having the Cardinals down for good. But the Big Red continued to fight, with a 15-yard touchdown pass midway through the final quarter that brought them with seven points, while the defense finally stiffened and held the Steelers scoreless. But it was not enough; a 45-yard field goal with just over three minutes remaining was as close as the Arizona Cardinals would come, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers by a final score of 28-24.

EA Sports has used the Madden NFL franchise to simulate upcoming Super Bowls since 2004, when the game correctly picked the New England Patriots to defeat the Carolina Panthers. Madden NFL ran off an impressive four-year string of winning picks but dropped the ball for the first time in 2008 when it predicted the Patriots would defeat the New York Giants; in reality, the Giants pulled off a stunning upset, defeating the heavily-favored Patriots by a score of 17-14.

Super Bowl XLIII – the real thing – takes place in just over a week, kicking off at 6:20 pm EST on February 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

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