This past weekend gave us two fantastic conference championship games, and the results have left us with Super Bowl XLV featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers.
The Steelers were able to tame the red-hot Jets in the AFC Championship. The Jets were flyin’ high after back-to-back road wins against Peyton Manning’s Colts and Tom Brady’s Patriots. To give them even more confidence, they had already beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 15 of the regular season.
Pittsburgh wasn’t about to let history repeat itself so soon.
Pittsburgh’s defense was stout as always, giving up only 70 yards on the ground. On the offensive side of the ball, the Steelers were impressive. Rashard Mendenhall was able to torch the Jets’ D for 121 yards and a score. While Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t great, throwing two picks, he was good enough to close out the game for the victory.
On the other side of the bracket, the Packers are probably lucky to be going to Dallas. Up 14-0 at halftime, normally solid quarterback Aaron Rodgers proceeded to throw two interceptions. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was hurt right before halftime. Cutler wouldn’t have made the difference, since he was already having a bad game (6-of-14, 80 yards, INT).
After an anemic showing by 12-year veteran Todd Collins (nothing new; 22TD and 24INT in his career), third-year quarterback Caleb Hanie was inserted with 57 seconds left in the third quarter and immediately led the Bears down the field for a touchdown.
If it wasn’t for one pass by Hanie that turned into a pick-six by defensive tackle B.J. Raji, this game could have turned out a lot differently. The very next possession, the Packers gave up a 35-yard touchdown pass from Hanie to Earl Bennett—a play on which safety Nick Collins, after giving up on the high pass to Bennett, missed the tackle on Bennett, allowing him to score.
Green Bay, while knocking off good Eagles and Falcons teams on the road, was thankful to get out of Chicago with a win and looks forward to a tougher challenge in Dallas.
Both franchises are extremely rich in mystique and success. The Steelers and Packers have won a combined nine Super Bowls. Here’s a breakdown of both teams’ history in the big game.
Steelers Super Bowl History
Super Bowl IX: Win, Steelers 16, Vikings 6
Super Bowl X: Win, Steelers 21, Cowboys 17
Super Bowl XIII: Win, Steelers 35, Cowboys 31
Super Bowl XIV: Win, Steelers 31, Rams 19
Super Bowl XXX: Loss, Cowboys 27, Steelers 17
Super Bowl XL: Win, Steelers 21, Seahawks 10
Super Bowl XLIII: Win, Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
Packers Super Bowl History
Super Bowl I: Win, Packers 35, Chiefs 10
Super Bowl II: Win, Packers 33, Raiders 14
Super Bowl: XXXI: Win, Packers 35, Patriots 21
Super Bowl: XXXII: Loss, Broncos 31, Packers 24
Regardless of who you’re rooting for, this has all the makings of an incredible football game. The Steelers have arguably the largest and most widespread fanbase in the league, and there is certain to be a plethora of Terrible Towels in Dallas. However, the Packers have practically the rest of the nation (minus Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota) rooting for them.
Although odds-makers have Green Bay as a two-point favorite, many believe they don’t have a shot. I’ll be the first to tell you they definitely have a shot, but here are five good reasons why Pittsburgh gets its seventh Lombardi Trophy.