The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will face off at the new Cowboy Stadium February 6th at 5:30ET in Superbowl XLV.
Both teams have a national fanbase that stretches coast to coast. Steelers’ fans are known around the country as the best traveling fans in the NFL.
From Aaron Rodgers to Ben Roethlisberger and two potent defenses, this game has everything a football fan wants from a Super Bowl.
The Packers have been on a tear. They went on the road to face the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, and Chicago Bears and won every game convincingly.
While the Packers were a favorite early in the season, injuries came often this year and team had to adapt to new personnel.
They had to win games late in the season just to get a shot at the playoffs. They’ve shown character overcoming the obstacles of the season whether it is losing players or the multiple concussions for Aaron Rodgers.
The Steelers started the season with controversy. Ben Roethlisberger was suspended by league for being accused of another sexual assault.
This wasn’t the first time Big Ben’s reckless behavior became a PR nightmare, so Roger Goodell decided a 4-game suspension was the punishment. The Steelers held their own without Big Ben going 3-1 with the only loss coming from the Baltimore Ravens.
With the Cinncinati Bengals hitting rock bottom again, the Steelers capitalized and came away with the division and reached the Super Bowl beating the Ravens in a close battle and destroying the Jets early in the AFC Championship.
Aaron Rodgers is quickly becoming on of the top quarterbacks in the league.
In a tiny town where the quarterback is worshipped, he has taken all the pressure effortlessly. When Brett Favre isn’t mentioned during a NFC Championship game, it shows Rodgers is finally starting to get out of Favre’s shadow.
He has the most talented receiving nucleus in the NFL. He is cerebral against the blitz, which will come into play with Dick LeBeau’s exotic 3-4 defense who loves to bring pressure from blitzes, zone coverages, and overloading the line.
On and off the field, Ben Roethlisberger is reckless. While some would think of being reckless as a bad trait that isn’t the case when it comes to him.
On 3rd downs when it looks like Ben is going to be taken down in the backfield, he moves out of the pocket and finds an open man when the play breaks down.
He doesn’t put up the gaudy numbers that Aaron Rodgers does, but its effective in the Steelers offense.
On multiple occasions, Ben made plays to win games where all hope was lost. Clutch play isn’t a statistic, but if it was he would be one of the league leaders.
The Packer 3-4 defense, led by defensive coordinator Dom Capers, runs a version of the Steelers 3-4 that is coordinated by the respected Dick LeBeau.
Both teams have linebackers that are fast and physical.
In Green Bay, Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, Clay Matthews has improved by leaps and bound since he was drafted out of USC. He puts so much pressure on the edge and still can take on a left tackle if the coverage calls for it.
James Harrison has been a target for the league looking to hand out fines (over $100,000) for hard hits. What many see is one of the best at the position playing with physicality and explosiveness.
Both of these players have to be accounted for on every down; their versatility makes them dangerous.
Super Bowl XLV is going to be played on a fast track. Like Drew Brees, Rodgers is very effective on turf. That could be seen against Atlanta. It might not matter if the Steelers put a big hit on Rodgers.
With that hit from Julius Peppers in the NFC Championship, many think he might have suffered a slight concussion but the Jay Cutler injury became the story and the lack of medical staff looking at Rodgers went unnoticed.
Multiple concussions are a catalyst to getting more in a short period of time. If Harrison wants to get a fine that is worth the money, putting a hard hit on Rodgers could take the Steelers to the Promised Land.
Look for the Rodgers to beat the Steelers blitz, but if the Steelers can get the lead and use the run game, they will come out on top.