In less than 48 hours, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers will battle it out for the NFL's top prize: The Lombardi Trophy. As Super Bowl Sunday draws even nearer, the sports world has been full of predictions. We've seen analysts, players, even animals pick a side.
Since the Steel Curtain and the Cheeseheads have not entered battle against each other this season, there is no up-to-date reference for how the teams fare against one another, but us gamers can try.
Using Madden NFL 11, various sites around the Internet have pitted the two teams together in a simulation to see who comes out on top. Time to take a look around at some of the outcomes.
It should be noted that Madden correctly predicted the Saints as Super Bowl champions last year according to the EA Sports simulation. Can the EA sim predict the outcome once again?
Game developer EA Sports' sim saw the Steelers getting off to a 10-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter. Green Bay drove late in the quarter and prevented going into halftime scoreless. Rodgers connected with Jennings in the back of the endzone to bring the score to 10-7 after two. The Steelers responded in the third, scoring on a Ward TD to bring their lead back to 10. After a Mason Crosby field goal late in the third, Green Bay took their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter, when Rodgers connected with James Jones in the endzone.
Some late game heroics performed by Big Ben led to a 40-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace with 1:20 left on the clock. Young Aaron Rodgers attempted to lead his team to a last second victory, but with 40 seconds left, threw an interception to Ryan Clark. Mike Tomlin took the Gatorade bath as the Steelers won their seventh NFL Championship. MVP honors awarded to Mike Wallace. (111 yards, one touchdown)
Using one minute quarters, IGN's sim created a game highlighted by turnovers.
On the first play of the second quarter, Ben Roethlisberger threw a pick to Charles Woodsen, eventually setting up a short touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones. With less than a minute left in regulation, Big Ben got sacked by Ryan Pickett for a loss of ten yards. Facing fourth and 20 on their own 20, the Steelers made magic happen. Roethilisberger found Mike Wallace open along the sideline, running it into the endzone and tying the game at seven with 46 seconds left.
The Packers drove down the field, setting up Mason Crosby for the game winning Field Goal with three seconds left from the 29. The kick sailed right, giving the Steelers the ball back with three ticks on the clock. Rather than taking a knee and heading into OT, the Steelers tried one last play in regulation, resulting in disaster. As time expired, Roethlisberger attempted a pass as he was hit, sending the ball right into Cullen Jenkis' hands. Jenkins ran the pick 37 yards, giving the Packers the win and their first Super Bowl victory since 1996. Not surprisingly, MVP honors go to Cullen Jenkins.
Rooster Teeth's Super Bowl simulation featured missed opportunities galore on the Green Bay side of the ball.
Running five minute quarters, Green Bay received the opening kickoff and drove to the 38, where Mason Crosby missed a field goal try wide left with 1:27 left in the first. Pittsburgh capitalized, drove down field, and punched it in the endzone with Rashard Mendenhall from three-yards out with 3:35 left in the half. The Packers drove to the Steeler 35, where they failed to convert a fourth down attempt with under a minute remaining.
Ben Roethlisberger tried to make too much happen with 32 seconds left in the half, as his pass was intercepted by Atari Bigby. Bigby had an open lane to the endzone, but ran into a crowd of players where he quickly got tackled. Enter Crosby from the 23 with six seconds left in the half, who missed a second straight kick. The Packers entered the locker room distraught, down 7-0.
The Packer D showed up again in the third, when Tramon Williams came up with an Antwaan Randle El fumble at the Packer 13 with 1:50 left in the quarter. Green Bay couldn't capitalize, as the drive ended abruptly after Pittsburgh forced a three-and-out.
With 3:30 left in the game, Pittsburgh punted and downed the ball at the Green Bay one after a miraculous punt by Daniel Sepulveda. The Packers were able to get their backs out of their endzone by moving to their 33, but the drive ended as Aaron Rodgers' pass was intercepted by Joe Burnett with 1:45 left in the game. Mendenhall picked up his second touchdown of the game with 45 seconds remaining, putting the nail in the coffin.
Pittsburgh walks away with their third Super Bowl Championship in six years. Rashard Mendenhall was named MVP.
Honestly, what kind of list would this be if I didn't give it a try? The game was set to five minute quarters, and because of some game glitch, set the Super Bowl in Pittsburgh.
The game got off to a shaky start, as Rashard Mendenhall fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. Pittsburgh recovered, though they wouldn't keep control for long. Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger's pass was intercepted by Charlie Peprah, giving the Packers the ball at the Steeler 47. The Packers began to move the ball, but an interception by Bryant McFadden at the 10 gave the Steelers the ball back with 33 seconds left in the first quarter.
The second quarter started off where the first let off: With interceptions. On the first play of the quarter, Big Ben got picked off by Tramon Williams, setting up the Packers at midfield. Once again, before getting much progress, the ball was turned over, after a James Jones fumble was recovered by Lawrence Timmons. Or so it appeared. Mike McCarthy was quick to throw the challenge flag, claiming Jones' knee was down before the ball came loose. After review, the ruling on the field was overturned. The Packers took the reborn drive and turned it into a touchdown after Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson from nine-yards out.
The Steeler offense came alive in the last two minutes of the quarter, driving 75 yards in a little over a minute, topped off with a 14-yard touchdown from Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace. The Packers got the ball back with 40 seconds left in the half, when Rodgers threw an interception to Timmons, giving the Steelers one last drive from their 45. Pittsburgh couldn't do much with the drive, leaving the game tied at seven apiece heading into halftime.
The third quarter started uneventfully, highlighted by Crosby's successful 44-yard field goal with one minute left. On the Steeler's first play of their drive after the Green Bay field goal, Roethlisberger fumbled after getting hit by Clay Matthews. A.J. Hawk jumped on the loose ball, giving the Pack the ball once again at the Steeler 17. Rodgers would connect with Jones for a touchdown as the quarter ended.
Down 17-7 with five minutes left in the game, Pittsburgh looked to make something happen, but nothing did. A desperate 4th-and-21 from the 22 ended unsuccessfully, pretty much sealing up a Packer victory after a quick touchdown by Brandon Jackson, setting the score at 24-7. The Steelers got the ball again, but dug a fourth and 25 hole that they couldn't get out of, again setting up an easy Green Bay score. A Rodgers-Nelson touchdown officially put the game out of reach, with Green Bay enjoying a 31-7 lead with 2:30 left in the game.
The Packers dominated the second half, and Pittsburgh had no chance to catch up. Jordy Nelson walks away with MVP honors, as the Packers finally close out the Favre championship era, and enter the championship era of Rodgers.
Four different simulations, with each team winning two a piece. Will EA and Rooster Teeth prove correct with the Steelers walking away from Texas as Super Bowl champions? Or will IGN and my own sim reign supreme with a Packer championship?
If you have run a Madden 11 simulation, comment down below what the results were. If not, post a prediction for the big game. Either way, Sunday's showdown will be an incredible game.