Every year the team that loses the big game has to deal with the questions about how it will follow up its Super Bowl.
Will they come out the next season strong and make a push at another championship, or will they flop like many teams we have seen in previous years?
In just the past 10 years we have seen five Super Bowl losers struggle the following season. We aren't talking about just a little struggle either. Out of these five teams, four of them have seen their wins decrease by six or more.
The Steelers and Packers are both built for long-term success, and I don't see either of these teams going anywhere in the next season. That is, if there even is a next season with all the CBA talk going on—but that's a story for another day.
The Steelers as a franchise just know how to win, and I find it difficult to see them having a Super Bowl hangover next year. They have a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who is not going anywhere anytime soon and have many young skill players around him with guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace.
The question with the offense is with the line, but that is nothing new. They have had a struggling line since Big Ben has been there, and they still manage great success.
The strongest part of the Steelers team is their tough defense, but surprisingly that is where I find a few question marks. They are getting old at a few positions and have LaMarr Woodley, William Gay and Ike Taylor as free agents. They need to re-sign these guys and maybe get a little younger on the D-line in the draft.
Another big question mark is whether Dick LeBeau will come back for another year. This is a guy who the players greatly respect and is a master at calling defenses. Speculation is this could be his last game. If that is the case, it will be a blow to the defensive unit. Even if he leaves, though, I think Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and the others will end up being just fine.
The schedule is another thing playing into the hands of the Steelers next season. They only play five teams that made the playoffs this year, and one of those is the Seahawks. They also get to see the Browns and Bengals each twice.
2011 outcome: 12-4
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have a star at the quarterback position in Aaron Rodgers, and he exploded onto the scene this postseason. He has been good all year, and now people are finally starting to put him up there with the best in the league today. The Packers have had so many injuries all season and still managed not only to make the playoffs but make the Super Bowl as well.
With Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley coming back next season recovered from their injuries, this offense will only get better. The only main guy they need to worry about re-signing is Donald Driver, and their offense will be right where it left off this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the sky is the limit for this team. They have arguably the best D-line in football. They just need to make sure they get Cullen Jenkins to re-sign. They have a good secondary with some veterans and also some young up-and-comers like Tramon Williams.
If they do happen to lose this Super Bowl, adversity will be nothing new to these guys. They have overcome everything thrown their way with things like injuries and also that guy named Favre a few years back.
They play an above-average schedule next season, but I don't see that getting in their way to making another run at next year's Super Bowl.
2011 outcome: 11-5