Super Bowl XLV will feature two teams steeped in Big Game tradition. The Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of four Bowls in the 1970′ and two in the last five years, face off against the Green Bay Packers, who have three rings as a franchise. Not to mention the trophy given to the Super Bowl winner is named after the legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi.
The fact that these two teams are in the Big Game is impressive. The Steelers began the season with their franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the first four games of the season due to off-the-field issues. The Steelers proceeded to go 3-1 in that span beating the likes of the Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Charlie Batch at quarterback, a testament to coach Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff.
Green Bay, stuck at 8-6 with two games to play and in danger of missing the playoffs beat the New York Giants with the season on the line and the Chicago Bears to punch their ticket to the post season.
This is the first Super Bowl appearance for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, mired in former Packer legend Brett Favre’s shadow to this point. Rodgers has been spectacular in defeating MVP candidate Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, the Atlanta Falcons, who seem to never lose at home, and the Chicago Bears in a rematch of the season finale.
The Steelers rode Roethlisberger’s stellar play the remainder of the season to a first round bye, but survived two epic games against their arch rival Baltimore Ravens and the upstart New York Jets who were appearing in their second straight AFC Championship game. The Steelers ran roughshot over the Jets with Rashard Mendenhall , but they can expect to see a more stingy defense against the Packers.
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews is a one-man wrecking crew and will certainly give Roethlisberger fits. Charles Woodson is the big name in Green Bay’s secondary, but it has been unsung playoff heroes Tramon Williams and Nick Collins who have secured playoff wins against Philadelphia and Chicago respectively with late game interceptions.
Aaron Rodgers won’t have an easy time of it either. Although Although rookie runningback James Starks stunned the Eagles in the first round and will keep Pittsburgh’s defense honest, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu will definitely make running and passing the ball difficult.
This is a tough game to call. I believe the defense will control the game so it will come down to the play of the quarterbacks. Both Roethlisberger and Rodgers are tremendous at extending broken plays with their scrambling ability, so with points at a premium it will come down to who protects the football.
It will be a good game, but I think Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl experience will win out over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Roethlisberger redeems himself completely leading the Steelers to a 21-14 victory in Dallas.