Even if you're not a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Green Bay Packers, you have to admit this has the makings of a tremendous game. Could it be the best Super Bowl ever?
It has a chance.
I say that because the standard I have for the greatest in my lifetime came a few years ago when the New York Giants knocked off the Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. After that, I would say the other great ones would be Super Bowl XXXIV and Super Bowl XXXVI. It would be hard to top those three.
I like the potential with this match up, though. I'm all for high entertainment and especially if it includes great, punch-you-in-the-mouth defense. Both teams meet that requirement, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Here are 10 reasons why Super Bowl XLV will be the best ever.
Maybe it's my twisted sense of humor, but it just seems right for two of the NFL's proudest franchises to have an epic game at Cowboys Stadium.
Jerry Jones had long dreamt of his beloved Cowboys becoming the first team to play in a Super Bowl at his own digs. Instead, two other franchises with rich traditions will take center stage at Jerry World this Sunday. You know Jerry's got to be sick seeing these two teams here.
You always want bragging rights on the field, and there's bragging rights between organizations too when it comes to Lombardi trophies. Something tells me Jerry may be pulling for Green Bay. But if Pittsburgh wins? There's not enough scotch to cure what Jerry will have to endure.
There's also something very delicious about the idea of James Harrison lighting up fools while NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is in attendance.
The commissioner went a little overboard fining Harrison earlier this year for illegal hits, but I would love to see Harrison not hold back. He needs to go full speed, then hug Goodell while holding the Lombardi Trophy. That alone would make this game a classic.
Go down the board, and look at all the different match ups. You won't find either team with a serious edge over the other.
Obviously, Pittsburgh has more experience in Super Bowls, but other than that, these two teams stack up very well and they'll have to earn every yard. What you appear to see on paper, though, doesn't always unfold like you thought.
I certainly never imagined New England's record-breaking offense being held to just a pair of touchdowns by the Giants a few years ago, and never thought the Patriots had a chance against the Greatest Show on Turf, the St. Louis Rams.
One other reason why my gut says this could be a classic is just looking at what both teams have done to reach this point.
I certainly didn't expect the Steelers to come back against Baltimore. I also had a feeling that the Jets' momentum would be too much.
While I did predict that Green Bay would knock off the Eagles, I didn't think they would slice apart Atlanta and certainly wasn't expecting them to pick apart Chicago's defense how they did.
They've both knocked off some incredibly talented teams, and now they get to thrown down one more time.
This will hit the spot.
I find it sickening how the NFL has emasculated defenses from being able to truly hit the quarterback and fining players for hard hits. If you watch football enough, you can tell the difference between players who hit with intention to hurt and those making aggressive plays.
Pittsburgh and Green Bay do the latter and don't apologize for it. They're the closest thing I have to what I was exposed to as a child, when I was treated to Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley demolishing people.
There's something in me that's proud to see old-school defensive players like Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu getting to play in this game.
Mike Tomlin and Mike McCarthy are going to earn their pay on Sunday. The two coaches are going to match wits on several areas, and they'll be faced with some headaches.
If you're McCarthy and Green Bay, how do you run on Pittsburgh's defense? What do you to neutralize James Harrison, or Troy Polamalu on blitzes? If you're Tomlin, you better use a running back, or keep a tight end to help block Clay Matthews. And, you certainly better play solid defense, or Aaron Rodgers could end up busting off a 15-yard run.
I like both coaches. Love Tomlin's energy and passion. McCarthy's a bit vanilla. He reminds me of a high school coach who teaches math during the day, really enjoys it and has no time to crack jokes.
>Something's wrong if you don't like the possibility of Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson going up against Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.
Ward is hated by several throughout the NFL for his trash-talking and dirty play, but I don't think it will phase Woodson at all. And what if they do jaw a little? That will make it even more entertaining.
They're two of the very best at what they do, and are both likely future Hall of Famers.
How could you not enjoy this?
If you love offense, defense or just seeing great playmakers all over the field, then this is your game.
I've always been a defensive guy myself, but that's not totally why I'm excited about this game. If either team breaks off a big play, or scores, then you know it will come against elite level players.
I'm not expecting a high flying, stretch the field, score-fest. This is going to be a grinder, a game where both teams eat up huge chunks of clock, take chances on occasion, wear each other down and then go for broke in the fourth quarter.
I always love it when big time quarterbacks get to face off. The rivalry between Tom Brady of New England and Peyton Manning of Indianapolis has been great over the years.
Now, I get to see two of the game's best young quarterbacks play each other in Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. Both have put up big numbers, both are play makers and both seem to just keep improving every year.
Roethlisberger has been on this stage before, but I like the fact that Aaron Rodgers has escaped Brett Favre's shadow and has the chance to create his own legacy with a win here.
If Ben Roethlisberger leads the Steelers to another Super Bowl victory, that would already give him a third championship in his young career. The historical significance, and where Roethlisberger ranks among current NFL quarterbacks adds plenty of flavor to this game.
Peyton Manning fans will shout that ranking Big Ben ahead of their future hall of fame quarterback is blasphemy, but if you're going on Super Bowls won, it's a no-brainer. It would also put him one shy of matching Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw.
A win here would stir up even more controversy and story lines, considering that Roethlisberger began the season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
I'd be happy if either team won, but if you're talking about chances to stir the pot? Then give me Big Ben and the Steelers all the way.