Super Bowl 2011: 10 Key Stats Heading Into Steelers vs. Packers
Super Bowl XLV will showcase the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers on Feb. 6. The 45th Super Bowl couldn't be a better matchup for NFL fans, because it showcases great QB play, elite defenders, and dominant franchises.
I promise you will get your fair share of Super Bowl analysis everywhere you turn over the next few weeks, but there are some very interesting stats, figures and totals that the big game generates.
So I present to you Super Bowl XLV by the numbers.
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Super Bowl XLV will mark the 33rd meeting between the Packers and Steelers. The first time they met was 1933, when Pittsburgh was known as the Pirates and Green Bay won 47-0.
In their previous 32 regular-season battles Green Bay has the edge, with 18 wins to Pittsburgh's 14.
Recent history has been different, the Steelers have won their past two games (2005 and 2009). Green Bay is 3-7 in their last 10, but that spans 40 years.
Needless to say, the Steelers and Packers do not have any living rivalry, even though they might be the NFL's two most storied franchises. It gives fans a real clash of the titans.
Initial Super Bowl odds have the Packers at 2.5-point favorites over the Steelers.
Apparently the way the Pack has run through the playoffs on the road thoroughly impressed the oddsmakers, even if Aaron Rodgers wasn't perfect against the Bears.
With many Steelers having at least one, if not two, Super Bowl rings, this is a shock.
Analysts love to tout Pitt's experience on both sides of the ball. The Packers do have some experienced vets like Charles Woodson, but overall the difference is vast.
The over/under is 45.5 points, putting both teams in the low-to-mid 20s, depending on which way you swing.
It will be interesting to see how the line moves as bettors play their money over the next two weeks.
Dec. 20, 2009, was the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Green Bay Packers. That game was decided by one point.
It was a 37-36 victory for the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Packers scored 22 fourth-quarter points, including a go-ahead James Jones TD reception with 2:06 left, but it wasn't enough.
With no time left on the clock, Ben Roethlisberger connected with then little-known Mike Wallace for a 19-yard TD to tie it. Jeff Reed iced the game with his PAT.
According to STATS LLC, it was the first-ever 37-36 finish in NFL history.
886 Passing Yards
In that 2009 one-point battle, Rodgers and Roethlisberger combined for an impressive 886 passing yards and six passing TDs without throwing an INT (383 and three for Rodgers, 503 and three for Roethlisberger).
Rodgers also ran in a 14-yard score.
The 503 yards by Ben Roethlisberger marked the first time a Steeler had broke the 500 milestone.
It was only the third time in NFL history a passer complied at least 500 yards and three TDs without throwing a pick.
87.7 Rushing Yards Per Game
After posting 101 rushing yards in the regular season, rookie James Starks is averaging 87.7 rushing yards per game in the playoffs, and he has carried the ball 23.3 times per game.
Starks broke out with 123 yards against Philadelphia in the Wild Card round and has been the Packers' primary back since.
He is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry in the playoffs, but considering neither Brandon Jackson or John Kuhn posted that during the regular season, the Packers will consider Starks an upgrade.
An enhanced rushing attack only opens things up more for Aaron Rodgers.
Starks was a fantastic workhorse back at the University at Buffalo, registering 1,000-yard seasons as a sophomore and junior.
A shoulder injury held him out of competition as a senior and is the reason he entered the NFL under the radar as a sixth-round pick.
.727 vs. .571
Including the playoffs, the two Super Bowl teams played a total of 18 games against teams who will play 3-4 fronts, the primary defense of both teams.
The Steelers were 8-3 (.727) while the Packers were 4-3 (.571) in those games.
Not only has Pittsburgh seen the 3-4 more throughout the season, they also performed better against it.
Even more, the Steelers have seen two of NFL's best schemes in their playoff games, while Green Bay has had their three playoff games against 4-3 fronts.
This seems to be a glaring advantage for Pittsburgh, but the Packers now have a lot of film to play with while the Steelers have to guess a little more how Aaron Rodgers will read and react to different 3-4 looks.
On the regular season, the Steelers and Packers ranked one and two in sacks, respectively. Of those 95 combined sacks, 48 belong to Pittsburgh and 47 to Green Bay.
The Steelers' edge assassins LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison both were in double-digits this season. Green Bay's Clay Matthews posted 13.5 on the season and has 3.5 in the postseason.
The Packers get more sack production from the D-line, while the Steelers do more through their backers. Both teams will bring pressure from DBs as well.
The Super Bowl could be a sack-fest.
Both teams ranked in the top half of the league for sacks given up (81 combined) and neither have acclaimed offensive lines.
Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger both hold the ball for a long time and move a lot in the pocket, making it hard for the O-line to do their jobs.
10 Pro Bowlers
There will be 10 Pro Bowl selections for the 2011 game playing in the Super Bowl, which opens up 10 roster spots for other top NFL performers.
This also means 10 of the 44 regulars on the field in two weeks will be elite NFL talent...oh, and I'm not including Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Woodley or Ward, all of whom were not selected to this year's lineup.
The players who were selected are as follows.
Green Bay (6): Greg Jennings, Chad Clifton, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams (injury replacement) and Nick Collins
Pittsburgh (4): Maurkice Pouncey, Brett Keisel (injury replacement), James Harrison and Troy Polamalu
70.6 QB Rating Points
There are 70.6 QB rating points separating Ben Roethlisberger's two Super Bowl appearances.
Against Arizona, Big Ben was 21-30 for 256 yards with one TD and one INT, registering a 93.2 QB rating.
Against Seattle, Roethlisberger was 9-21 for 123 with zero TDs and two INTs, registering a 22.6 QB rating. And that was before the motorcycle crash, Tahoe, Georgia or the broken nose.
What's this all mean?
Pittsburgh's defense is so good that even if Roethlisberger isn't at the top of his game, even in the biggest game of the year, the Steelers can still get the W.
13 Days, 16 Hours, 5 Minutes, 7 Seconds
At the time I'm writing this slide there are 13 Days, 16 Hours, 5 Minutes, and 7 Seconds until Super Bowl XLV.
No, there is no numerical significance of this (maybe you can prove me wrong) but it is important. It marks the amount of time my life will be consumed with stats, analysis and gossip regarding a 60-minute football game.
Depending when you read this (see the NFL's official countdown clock here), there will be roughly 4.5 million births and 1.8 million deaths taking place on the world while you are debating which player will be caught in a DFW strip club the night before the game.