Super Bowl 45
Super Bowl 45
In under a week, the biggest stage in the sports world will host its largest event yet. After months of eager anticipation, the Super Bowl will be coming to Arlington, Texas. “Jerry Dome,” “The Death Star,” or simply it’s real tag, Cowboys Stadium, will be hosting Super Bowl 45 on Sunday night. More than 100,000 people will be in attendance for the game, marking the largest crowd in Super Bowl History. But this should come as no surprise. It all adds up. Jerry wanted the best damn stadium in all the land, and he wanted the best game in that stadium, and he wanted the best teams there playing each other, and he wanted the most people to ever witness a football game at his place, February 6, 2011.
The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Green Bay Packers are the first NFC team to go to the Super Bowl as a #6 seed. The Packers coasted by the Eagles in Philadelphia, spanked the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, and squeaked by the rival Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chi-town. Coincidentally, the Packers only passed the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get into the playoffs by beating the Bears 10-3 in Week 17. The Bears played their starters most of the game, trying to keep the Packers out of the post-season before eventually falling to Green Bay.
The NFC Championship Game proved to be an entirely different game, from start to finish. After routing the favored Falcons, 48-21, the Packers had to play Chicago again, but in many eyes, came in as the favorite after winning three straight games, including two playoff victories. Jay Cutler only played one half, spraining his MCL in the second quarter, and only lasting a series after intermission. Backup Todd Collins was historically inefective, so backup Calen Hannie was forced to come in to the game and attempt to stitch up what was on the verge of a Packers blowout. Hannie was serviceable at best, connecting 13-20 passes, scoring one touchdown, but throwing two interceptions, including the clincher to rookie cornerback Sam Shields. Shields had himself quite a day for Green Bay, notching two interceptions.
Aaron Rodgers was nowhere near the brilliance he showed in the Divisional Round vs. Atlanta, going 17-30, with 244 yards and 2 INTs, finding his lone touchdown on the ground, scrambling in from about 8 yards. A-Rod finished with 39 rushing yards on 7 attempts, once again showing his Pro Bowl versatility on the football field. Let’s see Brett Favre do that.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are no strangers to the big stage. The Steelers won Super Bowl 41 in 2001 over the Seattle Seahawks and Super Bowl 43 in 2008 over the darling Arizona Cardinals. Now, they reside in Super Bowl 45, and only the brightest fans of National Football League can ask the question; How will they handle a team that isn’t from the NFC West?
In all seriousness, the Steelers are the best defensive team in football, and possess the most underrated Quarterback in all of the league. After missing the first four games of the regular season after an alleged rape incident in the off-season, Ben Roethlisberger has been performing at a pro bowl level since his return in Week 5, just like his Super Bowl counterpart, Aaron Rodgers. The Steelers miraculously won 3 of their first 4 games, with a combination of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch at the helm. Pittsburgh finished 12-4, winning their last two after falling to the Jets in Week 15.
The Steelers would redeem themselves in the postseason.
Folllowing a bye, Pittsburgh defeated their division rivals in the Divisional Round, the Baltimore Ravens. The next week the #2 seed Steelers beat the Jets, 24-19. The Steelers once held a 21-0 nothing lead, and only let up a field goal before halftime.
Now they await the big stage for the third time in the past five seasons. The Roethlisberger-led Steelers are undefeated in the Super Bowl, but the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers would like to say something about that, and they will get their chance Sunday, for 100 grand to see.
Stay Tuned for Predictions from Colby and I later this week.