Of every player, coach and fan of every NFL city, there are none who have a single goal higher than winning the Lombardi Trophy. Every year, each team starts out with the same ultimate goal, bringing home the Lombardi.
Winning the Super Bowl is the greatest honor in the NFL. Just going to the Super Bowl is an honor itself, but winning it separates you forever, and over every other team that year.
Regardless of records, playoff positioning, stats or anything else, nothing is more important. Don't believe me? Ask Dan Marino. Ask the Buffalo Bills. Ask Jerry Jones.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers only one short week away from playing for that Lombardi Trophy, here is what the Pittsburgh Steelers have to gain by winning it next week.
In the mid-1990's, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers were the kings of the heap. They stood alone atop of the NFL hierarchy with five Super Bowl victories each, the Cowboys having won their fifth against the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX in 1996.
After winning Super Bowl XL, the Steelers pulled into a tie with both the Cowboys and 49ers, with five. After Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers stood alone atop of the NFL with their sixth.
By winning Super Bowl XLV, that would put the Steelers two Lombardis ahead of both the Cowboys and 49ers.
Being only one Lombardi behind the Cowboys and 49ers SUCKED as a Steelers fan. We enjoy saying that we are alone, on top of the hill.
Winning in Dallas would put the Steelers two up, and give us bragging rights for at least two years in saying that we are the best in the NFL.
If the Steelers are to win Super Bowl XLV, then they will be able to lay claim to being the Team of the Decade.
Some of you (especially Patriots fans) are going to argue this, but the reality is the Steelers will have a great argument.
For starters, the decade DID NOT start in 2000, it started in 2001. (Do numbers start with 0 or 1?) This Super Bowl, even being played in 2011, is still for the 2010 season.
When you hear of the Steelers Dynasty of the 70's, does anyone say anything about them having won one in 1980?
Some people will say that the Patriots will have not only won three, but went to a fourth as well. Well, they didn't win that fourth, which means that it does not count.
That would put the Steelers and Patriots both at three, and starting the argument.
To me, the Spygate scandal means that their run is tarnished, like it or not. Especially not having one since the evidence came out.
It will be an argument for probably the rest of time as to who the Team of the Decade is, but the Steelers will still be able to lay claim to the title.
If the Steelers win the Super Bowl, then they are without question the NFL's latest dynasty.
Three Super Bowl victories in the span of six years qualifies you as a dynasty. This would mark the Steelers' second since the AFL/NFL merger.
Not many teams can say they have ever been a dynasty, but winning the Super Bowl would give the Steelers their second.
For Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, winning the Super Bowl would mean a big case of redemption.
Prior to the start of the 2010 season, everyone had already written off the Steelers.
No one gave them even the chance to make the playoffs, let alone have a shot at the Super Bowl.
With the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games of the season, the Steelers were told they had no chance.
Now, they are playing for the Super Bowl.
People can say what they want about Ben Roethlisberger, but winning the Super Bowl this season would end quite a few different arguments.
Elite? No question. Winning three Super Bowls would tie him for most Super Bowls among active QB's (Tom Brady). He would also have done so by the ripe old age of 28.
Hall of Fame? There is only one QB in the history of the NFL that has won two Super Bowls that is not currently in the Hall of Fame, Jim Plunkett. Brady, the only other QB that has won two, will be in the Hall of Fame five years after he retires.
If Roethlisberger can win the Super Bowl this year, his third Lombardi, he is almost guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame when he retires.
Best ever? After winning Super Bowl XLIII, Roethlisberger was asked by Michael Wilbon on ESPN's PTI what his goals were. Roethlisberger said it was to win more Super Bowls than any other QB, and winning this year will move him only one title behind Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana on the All-Time list.
Mike Tomlin has been an amazing coach for the Steelers, and has gotten little to no credit for the job he has done.
When Tomlin won Super Bowl XLIII, everyone was quick to say that Tomlin won the Super Bowls with Bill Cowher's team.
If the Steelers win the Super Bowl this year, there is no one that can say Tomlin is not the man who built this team.
Even though Art Rooney II was a major part of the construction of the Pittsburgh Steelers his entire life, the buck did not stop with him until his dad, Dan Rooney, took a job for the United States government as the ambassador to Ireland.
Now that Dan Rooney is no longer a part of the day-to-day operations, Art Rooney II is the main man in charge.
After everyone thought that this team could not survive this year, Art is only one win away from being able to say that he did it on his own.
Once again, the Steelers offensive line spent the year hearing how they were not good enough. How they would be the downfall of the Steelers season. That the Steelers were not going to win the Super Bowl with this patchwork offensive line.
With season-ending injuries to Willie Colon before the start of the season, and Max Starks shortly into it, everyone said that they were done.
Now, with Pro Bowl Center Maurkice Pouncey out for the Super Bowl again, everyone is saying that the Steelers have no shot.
Winning the Super Bowl would once again give the Steelers offensive line the last laugh.
After being dumped by the Dallas Cowboys last offseason, everyone said that Adams' career was as good as over.
He was unable to block the speed rushers. He continually was called for penalties. He was old, slow and no team should even think about giving his a serious contract offer because of these liabilities.
Adams has had an amazing year for the Steelers. Sure, he still had some penalties, but made the blow of losing BOTH starting tackles a lot easier to deal with.
Adams can walk off the field as a Super Bowl Champion on the field of the team that cut him and did not make the playoffs.
There was a lot of talk last offseason that the Steelers made a HUGE mistake when they traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth round pick.
It was believed that, regardless how great of a rookie season Wallace had, replacing Santonio Holmes may have been too tall of an order for Wallace.
Over the course of the season, Wallace has shown that he was not only able to do as good as Holmes, but played even better.
When Hines Ward started his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the offense was considerably different than it is today. Three yards and a cloud of dust was the type of football that Ward came into.
Until the Steelers brought in Ben Roethlisberger, passing was done when needed, rather than to beat teams.
Instead of complaining about it, Ward was the ultimate Steeler. He mastered the art of blocking, and has become the best ever in the NFL at doing so.
Now, Ward has the chance to win his third Super Bowl and leave the game on top, just like Jerome Bettis did.
Stay or go seems to be the question for Hines Ward. But, if the Steelers win and Ward gets to go out on top, it would end an amazing career for the ultimate Steeler.
The amazing play of James Harrison this season has been overshadowed by the fines that the NFL has imposed on him for his "rough" style of play.
People can say what they want, but every one of those fined hits, only one year ago, would have made the NFL's best hits videos.
Harrison would get the last laugh on the NFL if he were to have a big hand in winning Super Bowl XLV.
Similar to the offensive line, the Steelers secondary has been labeled as a failure to many NFL fans. People say they give up too many yards.
What they don't realize is that per pass, the Steelers are the NFL's best team. They allow only 6.3 yards per pass.
The real issue is that teams have no choice to pass more, because running against the Steelers defense is almost impossible.
The Steelers run defense is first in the NFL, giving up only 62.8 yards per game (27.3 yards fewer than second place). They have given up a total of 1,004 rushing yards in 2010, and have had the ball run on them less than any other team in the NFL, by over 30 rushes.
Teams know that they have no chance to run on the Steelers, so they HAVE to pass to have any type of chance.
The secondary has still done an amazing job, but still is pointed to as the Steelers' weakness.
Winning the Super Bowl against Aaron Rogers and the Packers' great receivers will end everything the critics have to say.
When it is all said and done, if the Steelers defeat the Packers, all of these things will in fact, be fact.
The haters out there will still be the haters. The excuses will, as always, fly from everyone as to why the Steelers really didn't deserve it.
We will hear how we defeated the sixth seed in the NFC. We will hear that we got lucky against the Ravens and Jets. How the Patriots were better. How Ben didn't even deserve to be playing. How Harrison and Ward are "dirty" players. And probably even that the refs gave us the game.
And that list, as ALL Steelers fans know, goes on and on. People HATE the Steelers for the success that they are and have had.
As a Steelers fan, all we can do is laugh at them. We understand that they hate us because we are better than them.
And climbing the Stairway to Seven will be all the sweeter.