NFL analysts love to talk about the key matchups of Super Bowl XLV. At this point everyone has already heard about Greg Jennings vs. Ike Taylor, Big Ben vs. Clay Matthews, and Mike Tomlin vs. Mike McCarthy.
This slideshow is of the lesser known matchups that will be key in Super Bowl XLV. The ones between coordinators, injuries and even a couple distribution companies.
The following matchups might not have a huge impact on the big game, but they are definitely worth noting.
Foamation Inc. is the company that produces and distributes the world famous cheese heads and other cheese accessories. They are rumored to be selling one cheese head a minute this week.
McArthur Towel & Sports Co is the producer and distributor of the Steelers terrible towels. Created by radio broadcaster Myron Cope, the terrible towels claim to be the first ever rally towel. All of the proceeds for the towels go to a great cause, the Allegheny Valley School in Pennsylvania. Allegheny is a school where children with mental disabilities are given a chance to learn and they have raised over 2.2 millions dollars from the towels.
Winner: McArthur Towel & Sports Co. Although the cheese heads are more recognizable, I have to give the edge to the terrible towels due to how much money they donate to a great cause.
It is not as intriguing as the Ike Taylor vs. Greg Jennings matchup, but it could turn out to be just as significant.
Driver is the all-time leading receiver in Green Bay Packers history, but he has never won the Super Bowl. Needless to say, Driver wants this game more than anybody. Standing only 6', Driver gets open using his blazing speed and his masterful route running ability.
Bryant McFadden is sixth year cornerback, in his second stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has already won two Super Bowls. McFadden is not the most consistent player on the Steelers, but he has the talent to be a lockdown corner.
Winner: Donald Driver. I will take the crafty veteran in this one. I feel Driver’s consistency and route running ability will catch inconsistent corner off guard. If Greg Jennings is covered, look for Driver to get a lot of looks.
Most of the time safeties and linebackers are given the assignment of defending star tight ends. On Super Bowl Sunday I expect to see Pro-Bowl safety Nick Collins to be on Heath Miller a lot.
Collins has quietly been one of the best defensive backs in the league the past three seasons. He is a little undersized, but Collins is one of the best ball hawks in the NFL.
Heath Miller on the other hand is just a 6’5” 256 pound tank. His speed usually surprises people and he has some of the best hands in the game.
Winner: Heath Miller. I feel Miller is too big and strong for Collins. If the Packers want to contain Miller, they will need to drop a linebacker into coverage. Or else Miller is going to shove around their defensive backs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were 23rd in penalties this season, being flagged 6.3 times per game. In big games, stupid penalties can come back to haunt you.
On the other hand, the Packers are one of the least penalized teams in the league, so the Steelers can’t allow them to get a big advantage in this category.
So the Steelers really need to watch those “violent hits,” or they are going to get hit with a lot of personal fouls (I’m looking at you James Harrison).
Winner: Steelers. They know what they have to do. They have been here before. I don’t see any way such an experience defense could fold under the pressure here.
All week Roethlisberger has been answering questions about some of his shaky decisions in the off-season. It is very important that Big Ben does not let this get into his head. He says wants to be a better role model, great. But these issues can wait until after Super Bowl XLV.
If Roethlisberger cannot get his mind cleared come Sunday, we might see a different quarterback then the Steelers fans know and love.
Winner: Ben Roethlisberger. He has shown time and time again that he can shake off the stresses of the media. On the biggest stage in all of sports, I don’t see how Big Ben loses focus.
Dick LeBeau has earned the reputation of being one of the greatest defensive coordinators of all time. He has headed the Steelers defense since 2004 and has helped win two Super Bowls.
Joe Philbin is one of the lesser known coordinators in the NFL, but he has a real opportunity here. If Philbin leads this electrifying offense past the hard nosed LeBeau defense, he will make a name for himself.
Winner: Dick LeBeau. It is rumored that LeBeau could be retiring after this season. If there is any truth to that, I don’t see him going out a loser.
Troy Polamalu is one of the toughest guys in football. Last week Polamalu was grimacing from the pain, but considered to soldier on. There is no way this injury sidelines the All-Hair-All-Pro. He has worked to hard and is too valuable to his team.
Winner: Troy Polamalu. This guy is too tough of a competitor to let an injury get to him in the Super Bowl. He did it last week, he will do it again.
Timmons is the leading tackler and chief run-stopper on the Steelers defense. Ever since taking over the starting job in 2009, Timmons has been one of the most productive linebackers in the league.
Quinn Johnson, wait who? Johnson is the starting fullback for the Green Bay Packers. If James Starks plans on having a big day running the ball, he is going to need some key blocks from this guy. That is easier said than done, very few fullbacks have been able to slow down Lawrence Timmons this year.
Winner: Lawrence Timmons. I think this matchup is closer than people will give it credit to be. I think Johnson will get the better of Timmons a few times, but I can’t see him shoving around such a gifted run-stopper too often.
The best “old guy” matchup of the game. Both of these guys were drafted in 1998, I was only seven-years-old.
This is going to be a very physical matchup. Woodson takes pride in being one of the best tackling corners to ever play the game, while Ward is notorious for laying great blocks on unsuspecting defenders.
I don’t think this matchup plays as big of a role on the passing game as it does the run game. The Steelers like to run the ball to Ward’s side a lot, can Woodson get off the block?
With 11 Pro-Bowls, nine All-Pro Selections and countless individual awards between the two, this a star studded dual.
Winner: Hines Ward. I kept flip-flopping on this decision. I give Ward the slight edge because he has proven himself in the big stage before.
Doug Legursky is the little known back-up center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Maurkice Pouncey cant go, he is going to be starting. He will have his hands full blocking the Packers 6’2” 337 pound nose tackle known as “The Freezer,’ B.J. Raji,
Raji is not an easy task for any starting center, let alone a back up. His name has gained a lot of recognition this season because of his role of fullback in goal-line situations on offense.
Legursky has all eyes on him. He will be starting his first game of his NFL career on Super Bowl Sunday. No pressure kid.
Winner: B.J. Raji. If Pouncey can’t go then there is going to be trouble. Legursky is going to need the help of his guard if he has any chance of containing Raji.