Joe Namath’s guarantee of a Jets victory over Baltimore in Super Bowl III, “tipped off a new era of bravado and became two of the most famous sentences in sports,” gushes AOL Sports’ Lisa Olson the afternoon before Arizona & Pittsburgh do battle. “Please, for those of us who hold dear the Super Bowl and all its glorious gaudiness, won’t someone mouth off just a bit?

This Super Bowl could use a Namath clone, more than ever. There’s very little juice emanating from Tampa (hold the Mons Venus jokes), and the weak economy can’t take the entire rap. If the most controversial Super Bowl story revolves around the Phoenix mayor doing mean things to Terrible Towels, then that tells us two things:

* the mayor and outraged Pittsburgh fans are idiots
* and the actual contestants in Sunday’s contest really need to step up their game.

Of course, guarantees might and often will backfire. Of course, the player who dares voice an audacious declaration will be treated in most corners as an egomaniac. But aren’t sports all about taking risk? And aren’t all professional athletes automatically equipped with more ego than the average Joe or Josie?

Instead, we get Cardinals defensive back Antrel Rolle calling Arizona “beyond average.” Not better than good, which the Cardinals surely are, and not great, which only a fool would suggest. But as long as Rolle and the rest of the Cardinals have defied reasonable expectation and haven’t much to lose, why not make the adventure even more interesting by expressing bodacious proclamations?

I’m with Lisa on this one. We’ve only got a few more hours for Brenda Warner to remind us that Jesus wants to see Big Ben writhing in pain.