The Steelers are making their eighth Super Bowl appearance February 6th, 2011 against the Green Bay Packers led by phenom quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But the truly impressive story this year does not lie in Aaron Rodgers taking the Brett Favre-less Packers to their first Super Bowl since 1998 when Favre lost to the Denver Broncos.
Many argue that Rodgers has established himself as one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL, many say that he could be the best. But the story of Pittsburgh and the 2010-2011 NFL season is in the hearts of many Steelers fans. The fans of the Steel City have brought this team to the Super Bowl once again. A city that is willing to forgive a once troubled man in Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger was the subject of a sexual assault case early last year that forced Roger Goodell and the NFL to slap a four game suspension on the Pro Bowl quarterback, which struck fear in the souls of thousands of Pittsburgh faithfuls.
Leaving the first four games of an NFL season to a back-up quarterback can be detrimental to a team's entire season. But Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch had other plans for the Steelers, surprising NFL fans all across America by starting 3-1. A great start for Roethlisberger and an incredible defense to take control of.
In all fairness, you can probably link the great start to the Steeler's amazing "Steel Curtain" defense led by linebacker James Harrison, and the incredible coaching ability of Mike Tomlin, one of the youngest coaches in the NFL. This season the Steelers defense has only allowed 14.5 points per game, which is first in the NFL and 276.8 total yards a game, which is second among NFL teams.
With a city like Pittsburgh, that expects greatness, especially with their football team, you never can tell how they will react to the kind of things Roethlisberger exposed himself to. Luckily, the fans welcomed their quarterback back into the spotlight with open arms, giving him a warm welcome while attending his first few practices.
Roethlisberger, who was 9-3 this season was not worried about the way the fans viewed his comeback, he just wanted to win games. Losing late in the season to a strong Jets team brought fear that the Steelers would suffer an early elimination in the playoffs, but the team has steamrolled through the playoffs, and is ready for Dallas.
Sure, you can argue that Aaron Rodgers getting to his first Super Bowl, and his team's first Super Bowl appearance since 1998 is more impressive, but think about it. Roethlisberger has overcome criticism, dislike and overall doubt, and led his team to yet another chance at a Super Bowl victory. Ben's teammates and especially the fans of Pittsburgh played a huge role in forgiving Roethlisberger, and continuing to cheer their team through a long season.
With Rodgers inexperience and lack of depth in the roster, going up against a very average passing defence, this will be a great game, with many stories behind it. But this will be a season that Pittsburgh fans should all remember, because they carried their team to the Super Bowl, and Roethlisberger promises to do his best to bring home another Lombardi trophy, whether fans of the league support him or not.