Super Bowl 2011: Troy Polamalu and the 10 Key Players of the Game
On Super Bowl Sunday, you will see talent flying around the field on both sides of the ball.
Not only does the game feature two of the best young quarterbacks in the game, but the top three finishers for Defensive Player of the Year are also playing for a championship.
For both the Packers and Steelers, certain players must step up on Sunday and have big games in order to win.
Not all of the players are big names. If certain role players can step up, it will give his team a great chance at a Super Bowl.
Here are ten players that need to have big games for their respective teams on Sunday.
10. Emmanuel Sanders
The rookie has done it all for the Steelers this year.
Not only is Sanders the team's fourth leading receiver with 28 receptions, but he has been a stud on special teams, recording ten tackles and impacting several more plays.
Sanders needs to be a target for Ben Roethlisberger while also continuing his special teams success.
9. Tramon Williams
The Packers leader in interceptions has not slowed down in the playoffs.
Williams has already recorded three picks this postseason, including a victory clinching interception of Michael Vick in the Wild Card Round against the Eagles.
Not only does WIlliams need to be a force in the passing game, but as the Packers punt returner he needs to be able to flip the field for Green Bay on Sunday. A good punt return average will be crucial for the Packers in order to have a short field to work with against the Steelers defense.
8. Shaun Suisham
Winning the kicking game battle can be the difference between winning and losing. Just ask Adam Vinatieri and Scott Norwood.
After taking over for Jeff Reed, Suisham has been rock solid, making 14 of 15 kicks.
He'll need another solid outing, not letting the Packers' Mason Crosby outshine him.
7. Donald Driver
Greg Jennings will get his. The question is: Can a second Packer receiver step up and be a factor?
Driver, the Packers second leading receiver with 51 receptions, needs to have a big game in his first Super Bowl.
He had a tendency to disappear at times during the regular season. If he can't be found on Sunday, the Packers will have a tough time in the passing game.
6. Ben Roethlisberger
This will be Roethlisberger's third Super Bowl.
He knows what the game entails, and he knows what he has to do.
Roethlisberger may not be called on to win the game, but he needs to be able to have similar performances from his first two Super Bowls.
If Roethlisberger can minimize his mistakes, as he did in the regular season only throwing five interceptions, the Steelers will be hard to beat.
5. James Starks
As I have stated before, Starks needs to come up big for the Packers against the Steelers.
He has given the Packers stability in the running game, rushing for 263 yards in the postseason.
Starks needs to give the Packers a threat on the ground, which will open up the passing game more for Aaron Rodgers.
4. James Harrison
The second runner-up for defensive player of the year will get to the quarterback on Sunday. The question is: Will he hit Aaron Rodgers legally in the eyes of the referees?
Harrison has been fined for numerous hits this past season. Some were warranted, while others were questionable.
Regardless, Harrison has a bull's eye on him. How the referees handle him is one of the big questions heading into the Super Bowl.
3. Clay Matthews
Clay Matthews has stepped up and become the leader of the Packers defense.
As the leader, it is paramount that he has a good performance on Sunday.
After recording 13.5 sacks in the regular season, the Defensive Player of the Year Runner-up already has 3.5 in the postseason.
Adding to his total against the Steelers is crucial for the Packers defense to have success.
2. Troy Polamalu
Polamalu is the Steelers' heartbeat on defense.
He doesn't need to put up big stats to impact the game, although he did have seven interceptions in just 14 games in the regular season.
Keeping Polamalu and his hair on the field is the Steelers' No. 1 priority.
Polamalu on the field as opposed to off is like night and day for the Steelers defense.
1. Aaron Rodgers
There's no question that the Super Bowl hinges on how well Aaron Rodgers performs.
Rodgers has continued his regular season success in the postseason, throwing for 790 yards and six touchdowns.
Rodgers must be able to contain his Super Bowl jitters and execute as he's done all season.
If Rodgers has another monster postseason game, the Packers will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with Rodgers as MVP.