Sports writer turns to ritual to make Steelers XLV prediction

Sports writer turns to ritual to make Steelers XLV prediction

Am I the only one seeing this? I can’t believe that numerologists haven’t made the connection before. As if I needed to paint any clearer lines between the Jewish people and American sport.
Four quarters of football, four cups of wine. And we don’t even have to wait until Passover to contemplate that. We just celebrated Tu B’Shevat, with its own four-quarters, I mean four-cup, seder.
The first cup is white, for winter, our current season, and the season every Steelers fan looks forward to. This first cup corresponds to the world of “assiya,” or action (and the earth). And we all hope there’s plenty of it for the Black & Gold in the first quarter, with the earth being represented by success with the running game. The first fruits that go along with this first cup are supposed to have inedible peels or tough shells, kind of like the Steelers defense.
Cup No. 2 is white with a drop of red in it. This is for “yetzira,” or spiritual formation and for the spring (and water). That means the second quarter of Sunday’s game between the Steelers and Packers should see offensive coordinator Bruce Aryans coming up with some absolutely divine formations for the offense. From that should bloom a larger lead. The fruits are supposed to have inedible centers, though I’m not sure what that means for rookie All-Pro Maurkice Pouncey (yes, he’s their center).
The third cup is split evenly between red and white. It’s good to have a third cup ready to erase the memories of what will certainly be another insipid halftime act (this time courtesy of the Black-Eyed Peas). You can pour half of an Iron City and half of a Yuengling into one cup to match the symbolism. This is for “beriya,” or creation, for the season of summer and the element of air. This must mean Ben Rothliesberger will use the passing game to great effect in this quarter. Fruits to be eaten are ones that can be eaten whole. Does a black-eyed pea qualify? (Please note: Nothing against the group in general, it’s just that no one, and I mean no one, does a good Super Bowl halftime show.)
The fourth and final cup is red with a drop of white. This represents “atzilut,” or nobility. It’s hard not to consider the Steelers nobility after they win their unprecedented seventh Super Bowl. The season that corresponds is the fall, when we will all begin watching the Steelers go for Super Bowl number eight. The element associated with this final cup is fire, which is what we’ll want to do to the NFL and the Players Association if there’s a lockout keeping us from watching all of that occur.
OK, so maybe all of that is a stretch. But combine it with the importance of the number seven in numerology — it took seven days for the world to be created, the seventh day is Shabbat, etc. The Hebrew letter for seven is zayin, which can be translated to mean “weapon.” It also comes from a root that means “sustenance” or “nourishment.” Just think how sustained we all will be if the Steelers can use all their weapons to win championship No. 7.
Seven, some have said, is the divine number of completion. And that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

(Jonathan Mayo, the Chronicle’s sports columnist and a staff writer for, can be reached at