Well NFL fans, the Super Bowl is just about upon us, and I am sure everyone has their opinions on who is going to win. The two teams in the game, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, are going through their final practices and making their last minute preparations for the big game.
Of course, despite the ice storm in Dallas, we have all the hoopla and hype over the two teams, both storied franchises. On one hand, you have the Green Bay Packers known for their devoted fan base, the Cheeseheads. They are known for their glorious history with Vince Lombardi and Lambeau Field. They are winners of three Super Bowls. Their QB, Aaron Rodgers is going for his first Super Bowl win to get out of the shadow of the man he replaced, the legendary Packer QB Brett Farve.
On the other hand, you have the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of six Lombardi trophies in seven previous tries. They have the famous history with the Steel Curtain and the famous Chuck Noll as head coach in the '70s. They are owned by the Rooney Family, and are known for their stability in the NFL. In the past 40 years, they have only had three head coaches: Noll, Bill Cowher and current head coach, Mike Tomlin. Their QB, Ben Roethlisberger, is going for his third Super Bowl at just 28 years old.
Now, I admit, I am pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am a huge Steeler fan and have been for a very long time. I would love to see the Steelers get their seventh Super Bowl in eight tries. I think they are the best team in the AFC and in the NFL. I love how they play defense and how they run the ball down your throat, and yes, fantasy folks, they can pass the ball also. I like seeing a team rather than an aerial show.
All that being said, in all my years of being a Steeler fan, heck, being an NFL fan, I have never seen coverage of a Super Bowl where just about every NFL "expert" is picking against the Steelers. I have never seen coverage where just about every talking head basically says, "The Steelers have no chance to win this game."
As most people who are following the game coverage know, Steelers Center Markice Pouncey is not going to play. Well, just about all the talking heads are all over this B.J Raji of the Packers and are saying how he is going to be unblockable, and he is going to destroy the Steelers O line, and Doug Legursky is going to have problems and all this. You would think Raji is a one man Steel Curtain or something.
Well, let's calm down here. First, when Pouncey went down in the AFC Championship Game, Doug Legursky entered the game pretty much cold. Lot of these experts are banging on the fact that Doug and Big Ben had problems with the ball snap. Well yes, of course there were problems with the ball snap if the new center comes in during the game. Legursky and Roethlisberger are practicing now, as I am sure the team knew all along Pouncey was not playing.
Another theme is how the Packers are going to spread the Steelers out and how the secondary of the Steelers are the weak link and how the "fast track" is going to favor Green Bay and all that. Well, I am sure the secondary players are taking note. I mean, who says the Steelers' pass rush can't benefit. Besides, the so-called experts said the "fast track" would help the 2007 Patriots going for their perfect season against the Giants. Remember how that worked out?
Now, I am going to tackle the quarterbacks. There seems to be a WWE-like portrayal of these two guys. What I mean is the various sports media outlets are portraying Aaron Rodgers as this goody two shoes, babyface, ala WWE Superstar John Cena. He is portrayed as this Golden Child and this elite QB, the next Tom Brady.The fact is he has yet to win the Super Bowl. He has won playoff games and has very good stats but is hardly Brady who has three rings, two Super Bowl MVPs, and one NFL MVP.
Ben Roethlisberger, on the other hand, is portrayed as this total sleazeball, heel ala WWE Superstar CM Punk. While I understand a lot of it he brought on himself, he is treated with such disdain, it is ridiculous. It is like, "Hide your wives. It's Ben!!" Even Commissioner Roger Goodell had to blindside Ben at the last minute during Super Bowl week.
When the media discusses him as a QB, they act as if he is not an elite QB despite evidence to the contrary. I mean, he has been in the NFL for seven years. In that time, he has lead the Steelers to four AFC Championship Games, three Super Bowls and so far has won two. I could give two hoots what the fantasy nerds say, that is elite enough for me.
Well, folks, I am sorry, but the good guy vs bad guy nonsense has to stop. I mean, really. People have to get over Big Ben's off-season escapades. I mean, some of these same people wanted to give Michael Vick, a CONVICTED FELON and a DOG MURDERER, the NFL MVP award, but they are still wagging their fingers at Ben who was NOT EVEN ARRESTED.
One Sports Illustrated writer said winning games does not absolve Ben. While that may be true, winning games surely absolved Michael Vick, now didn't it? I see we have a double standard with Ben.
When the Steelers and Big Ben come out, they should have Darth Vader music as their entrance music. I am hearing some of the Packers players implying that the Steelers are dirty with comments saying that Steelers defenders like James Harrison don't really want to hurt Aaron Rodgers but wouldn't mind if Rodgers was hurt enough so he couldn't finish the game. Packers receiver Greg Jennings called out to Harrison to "think of the fines." Please. Let's not be so naive to think that the Packers defenders are not going to want to try to take Ben out. Of course, the refs are not going to throw the flag when Ben gets hit, but they sure will if Harrison goes anywhere NEAR Rodgers.
People also have to get over the "Ben wins only because of the defense" lie. Child Please. Lots of the Ben haters can't seem to get over this. The one question I keep asking that the Ben haters just refuse to answer or avoid is this: If the Steeler defense is the ONLY reason Ben wins, why then are there NO SUPER BOWL WINS in between the Super Bowls during the Bradshaw era and the ones during the BEN era? There is a 26-year gap. As long as I can remember, the Steelers have had very good to excellent defenses. Why no Super Bowls on teams led by O'Donnell, Brister, Stewart, etc?
It just bugs me that haters are trying to say Ben had nothing to do with any of the recent Steeler Super Bowl wins despite evidence to the contrary. Did he have a poor game in Super Bowl XL, his first Super Bowl? Yes. I admit he did. However, that team would not have gotten to the game WITHOUT HIM. That's the bottom line.
During that season, Ben missed four games, and we used Batch and Maddox. We went 2-2. Now, let's get real here. Did anyone think either one of those guys would have gotten the Steelers to the Super Bowl? I don't think so. They were serviceable backups, but that is it.
In Super Bowl XLIII, Ben had a pretty good game. He lead the team down in that final drive and finished off the Cardinals with a TD to Santonio Holmes. He had a game similar to Eli Manning the year prior. Unfortunately, he didn't get MVP of the game. Why? His last name is not Manning. Funny thing is even though during the regular season, the Steelers defense was once again tremendous, the Steelers Defense, despite James Harrison's 100-yard pick six of Kurt Warner, nearly blew that game. Again, Ben's game winning drive came through. Does he get any credit? No, of course not.
With this Rodgers kid, the media is playing it up as if this kid is the next Peyton, Tom, Montana, etc. Well, look, I think he is a good guy, and I have nothing against him. However, let's see if he wins a ring. People who love this Rodgers kid talk about a "legacy."
Really? The kid is playing in his first Super Bowl, and they are talking about a legacy? I know the kid has to try to get out from under Farve's shadow, but I just laugh at the media calling him an elite QB and stuff just because he won playoff games.
I guess what I resent is the media's "crowning" the Packers champions. The one network that is really guilty of this is ESPN. From Bruschi, to Schefter to Dilfer and more, about 75 percent of them are pronouncing the Packers the winners. Picking a team to win is different than crowning.
As I said earlier, these talking heads are acting as if the Steelers have absolutely no shot to win. It also seems to me they don't want them to win. Well, I am sorry to inform these people, but this is not WWE. As much as these talking heads would love it, they can not work the game so the Packers win. Before the game starts, Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero can not come down and yell "EXCUSE ME," and say "No Pittsburgh Steeler defensive player is allowed to sack Aaron Rodgers. If James Harrison gets a penalty called on him for any reason, he is ejected from the game." As much as Commissioner Roger Goodell would love such a thing, this can not happen. This is a real sport. My Steelers are on that field and have as much of a chance to win as those Packers the media and the haters are trying to crown prematurely.
As a die hard fan of thoroughbred racing, I know all too well anything can happen once those starting gates open. Now, maybe the Packers DO win the game. I am not trying to say the experts are wrong or right. I am not close minded to the possibility of a Packers win. I have watched them, and they are impressive. I give them a lot of credit.
If they beat the Steelers, then they were the better team, but I don't think they are this unstoppable team the media is trying to make them out to be, and I certainly do not buy into the nonsense that the Steelers have no shot.