Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

Image Source - Wikipedia.
The 2010 NFL season has been a long, exciting one. After a 4-week pre-season, a 17-week regular season, and a month long postseason, it all culminates tomorrow when a champion will be crowned. The Pittsburgh Steelers are seeking a record breaking seventh Super Bowl trophy and the Green Bay Packers are seeking their fourth. The Game starts at 6:30 PM EST (5:30 PM CST) on FOX. It is one for the ages as two of the most successful franchises in NFL history meet for the NFL title. It should be a great game.

The Green Bay Packers go into the game as a 3-point favorite to beat the Steelers. In my opinion, that doesn't make any sense. The Packers just squeaked into the playoffs as a wild-card and the sixth seed in the NFC. The Steelers, on the other hand, won the AFC North Division and were the 2nd overall seed in the AFC earning a first round bye. I admit that as a Steelers fan I am a bit biased going into the game. Not only am I pulling for the Steelers, but I believe they will win the game. However, my bias is not the reason I believe they will be successful in winning their seventh Lombardi Trophy. The Steelers will win for the following reasons :
  1. Defense - The Steelers ranked second in total defense during the regular season and are currently first in total defense in the postseason. The Packers defense has had a good year, too, ranking in the top five in total defense in both the regular and postseason. However, they're not as good as the Steelers, and the Steelers have wrote the book on the old adage "Defense Wins Championships." They've been doing that for years.
  2. Playmakers - The Steelers have more playmakers on both sides of the ball than the Packers. The offense is stacked with Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, and others. On the defensive side of the ball they have James Harrison, 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons, and others. The Packers just don't have as many weapons at their disposal.
  3. Experience - The Steelers have "been there and done that." They have far more Super Bowl experience on both sides of the ball than the Packers do. This will be their third Super Bowl appearance in the last six years. They won the two previous. That experience is probably the most important at the quarterback position where "Big Ben" has already played in and won two Super Bowls. He knows what to expect. Aaron Rogers of the Packers doesn't.
  4. "The Intangibles" - The Steelers season has been rocky. In the offseason, Roethlisberger had his off the field "issues" and was originally suspended for six games, nearly the first half of the season. Next thing you know, the NFL reduces it to four games. I felt like at that time that if the Steelers could go 2-2 while Roethlisberger was out, then they had a shot at making a playoff run. They went 3-1. The offense was very slow getting started this year. Early on, they couldn't run the football worth a lick. Mounting injuries to the offensive line didn't help matters any. However, the defense made plays keeping them in games and they found ways to win. Finally, late in the season, the offense started clicking and they finished 12-4, won the division, earned the #2 seed, and the bye week on route to the Super Bowl. Most of the time when a team's offensive line is severely beat up, as the Steelers' was this year, a team is in big trouble and doesn't win games. Coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers, though, stuck together and now they are in the Super Bowl. With everything they've dealt with this year, the handwriting is on the wall - it's their year.
As I look at both teams and think about why I think the Steelers will win tomorrow, I do believe it will be a good game. I think it will be back and forth some, but the game will remain close. However, I think the Steelers take control of the game in the second half. Aaron Rogers' lack of Super Bowl experience and only three years under his belt as the Packers starting quarterback will be the difference in the game. I see the game close with the Steelers leading by four or five points late in the fourth quarter. This will put pressure on Rogers as he must drive the Packers down the field and score a touchdown. The Steelers' defense takes advantage of his inexperience and force him into a mistake sealing the game for the Steelers.

I also believe we'll see something in the game that we haven't seen for several years. The last seven Super Bowl MVP's have been either quarterbacks or wide receivers. The last defensive player to win the award was Tampa Bay safety Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl XXXVII. The Super Bowl XLV MVP will be another safety. However, this time it's the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year - the Steelers' Troy Polamalu.

I'm looking forward to both the game and the pre-game festivities honoring Ronald Reagan. Get those Terrible Towels going !! And before I forget - Steelers .... win this one for The Gipper !!

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The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Christmas came either late or early to the Green Bay Packers depending on how you look at it. The Steelers beat themselves with 3 turnovers in the game.

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Overall, I picked 7 out of 11 NFL postseason games correctly. Interestingly, 3 of the 4 I missed were games I picked against the Packers. Dang Cheeseheads.