Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers: Creating a Hybrid NFL Team
Imagine that this year's Super Bowl competitors encountered some rare scenario, like an Earth vs. Jupiter football game. President Obama was forced to select a starting lineup from the two Super Bowl contenders: the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.
Undoubtedly, this task would be extremely difficult. Nonetheless, here are your 2010 Earth Steel Packs.
Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger
Choosing between Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers does not really have a wrong answer. Statistically, both of these guys complete over 60 percent of their passes and keep interceptions to a minimum.
The offensive scheme of the Steelers causes Roethlisberger to throw less often than Rodgers, but Big Ben has proven himself capable of playing through the air. Last season, he attempted over 500 passes for the first time in his career and recorded a QB rating of 100.5.
Add in two Super Bowl wins, four extra years as an NFL starter, and the handicap of playing most of his career behind a below-average offensive line, and Roethlisberger emerges as the starting QB for the Steel Packs.
Running Back: Rashard Mendenhall
While certainly deserving, this position goes to Mendenhall by default. While Mendenhall has his flaws, he has posted back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to begin his career. If Ryan Grant were healthy for the Packers, then this would have been a tougher choice.
Fullback: John Kuhn
At 6'5" and 255 pounds, Kuhn can open up a big hole for runners. He can even take it into the end zone himself on occasion (six total TDs this season).
Wide Receiver No. 1: Greg Jennings
Greg Jennings has three straight seasons of over 1,100 receiving yards.
He is able to find the end zone frequently, scoring 12 TDs this season.
Jennings has averaged 16 yards per catch in his career.
In other words, this receiver completely dominates on the field.
Wide Receiver No. 2: Mike Wallace
In his first full year as a starter, Mike Wallace was as dominant as Greg Jennings has been for the past four years. The speedy receiver posted the second-highest yards per reception in the NFL, with an astounding 21 yards per catch.
Wallace was also fifth in the league in total receiving yards with 1,257 and seventh in the league with 10 receiving touchdowns. The future looks very bright for this 24-year-old.
Wide Receiver No. 3: Jordy Nelson
Age seems to have caught up with Hines Ward and, especially, Donald Driver this year. That opens up the door for the young guy, Jordy Nelson, to slip into the third slot at wide receiver.
Nelson is a tall receiver (6'3") that catches almost everything thrown his way.
Tight End: Heath Miller
Jermichael Finley is an emerging star at TE for Green Bay, but he is currently injured and played only five games this season. Fortunately, the Steelers have a solid veteran TE to offer the starting lineup.
Offensive Line: Green Bay Packers
Neither the Steelers nor the Green Bay Packers have a strong offensive line. But the advantage of the Packers' unit in pass protection and short-yardage runs gives them the nod over Pittsburgh.
Left Defensive End: Brett Keisel
Brett Keisel brings both his tremendous play and his spectacular beard to the game. A healthy Aaron Smith would challenge Keisel for this starting spot, but Smith has not had a completely healthy season since 2008.
Regardless, Brett "The Diesel" Keisel played at the level of a healthy Aaron Smith this season, so the drop-off in talent is little to none.
Nose Tackle: B.J. Raji
The Steelers' nose tackle, Casey Hampton, has been a stud for a decade, but Raji, a first-year starter, brings slightly more size and significantly better pass rushing skills at this stage in their careers.
Raji recorded 6.5 sacks this season in 16 games.
Right Defensive End: Cullen Jenkins
Cullen Jenkins was a beast this year: seven sacks in 11 games.
Left Outside Linebacker: James Harrison
Between the Steelers and Packers, there are more talented linebackers than one team could ever use. Thus, the Steel Packs are a 3-4 Defense.
On the left side, two-time First-Team All-Pro James Harrison will torment opposing QBs. This was arguably the best season for Harrison outside of 2008, when he won NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2010, Harrison recorded 10.5 sacks, caught two interceptions, and forced six fumbles. In addition, Harrison made 70 tackles.
Left Inside Linebacker: James Farrior
At age 35, James Farrior continued his consistently strong linebacker play in 2010. His sack total was slightly up from previous years, with six total sacks.
As with the Steelers defense, Farrior would act as the "captain" of the defense on this team.
Right Inside Linebacker: Lawrence Timmons
The young guy, Lawrence Timmons, was a monster in the open field this season. He recorded 95 tackles and intercepted two passes.
Right Outside Linebacker: Clay Matthews
Clay Matthews finished second to Troy Polamalu in this season's NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting. He should feel no shame in finishing second to Polamalu.
However, Matthews had a strong case of his own for winning the award. Most notably, he was fourth in the league with 13.5 sacks and was selected as a First-Team All-Pro.
Cornerback No. 1: Charles Woodson
Charles Woodson is one of the better cornerbacks in the history of the game. Last year, he won the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. That should be enough to get a spot in this starting lineup.
Cornerback No. 2: Tramon Williams
In 2010, Tramon Williams intercepted six balls, defended 20 passes, and recorded 48 tackles. These numbers are superior to any of Pittsburgh's corners.
Free Safety: Nick Collins
Nick Collins has made the Pro Bowl for the past three seasons as a Free Safety.
Strong Safety: Troy Polamalu
Troy Polamalu was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for this season, so this is a no-brainer pick. Speaking of picks, Polamalu had seven interceptions this year and returned one for a touchdown.
Both of Polamalu's pick-6's in his regular-season career have been off of his former USC teammate: Carson Palmer.
Kicker: Mason Crosby
Crosby has a longer range than Shaun Suisham.
Punter: Tim Masthay
Masthay punts further than Kapinos.
If Daniel Sepulveda were healthy for Pittsburgh, then he would clearly be the starting punter.
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin
Mike Tomlin has a .672 career winning percentage, three division championships, and a Super Bowl ring.
Mike McCarthy has a .600 career winning percentage and one division championship.
One would be a fool not to choose Mike Tomlin.