Sunday, February 6, 2011
The Big Day Has Arrived
After two weeks of hype, it is game day. The Packers and the Steelers will battle it out in Dallas in Super Bowl 45 with the winner getting their hands on "The Vince". I'm expecting this to be a pretty good football game and I'm expecting it to be more high scoring than some people think.
Here's the game preview from NFL Media.....
It all comes down to this.
On Sunday, February 6, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers will meet in Super Bowl XLV (6:00 PM ET, FOX) at Cowboys Stadium in North Texas. The game features two of the most storied franchises in NFL history. The Steelers have won an NFL-best six Super Bowls and the Packers own 12 NFL championships (three Super Bowls), the most all-time.
SUPER BOWL TITLES
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers
New York Giants
Five tied (incl. GB)
At 28-16 (.636), Green Bay has the league’s best postseason record. Pittsburgh is second with a 33-19 (.635) mark.
“We’re very similar organizations,” says Steelers chairman emeritus DAN ROONEY. “We’re similar in the way we operate. We have great respect for the Packers and we always have.”
The Steelers are back in the Super Bowl for the third time in the past six years. Pittsburgh defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL (February 5, 2006) and knocked off Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII (February 1, 2009). The Steelers will make their eighth Super Bowl appearance, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the most all-time.
“This is Pittsburgh,” says Steelers linebacker LARRY FOOTE. “If you don’t win the Super Bowl, it’s a bust. The guys in the 1970s created that mentality. You have to do your best to follow suit. Our defensive meeting room is right next to the Lombardi Trophies. Everyone is expected to do their part to win. The standards don’t change.”
Green Bay returns to the Super Bowl for the first time since back-to-back appearances in Super Bowl XXXI (January 26, 1997) and XXXII (January 25, 1998). The Packers beat New England in Super Bowl XXXI and lost to Denver in Super Bowl XXXII. Green Bay will make its fourth Super Bowl appearance, including victories in Super Bowl I and II.
“To me, this means everything,” says Packers veteran wide receiver DONALD DRIVER, who will play in his first Super Bowl. “When you play in this league a long time, the ultimate goal is to first get to the Super Bowl and then the ultimate goal is to win it. I’m excited about it. The biggest thing for me now is to put that ring on my finger and have it be part of my legacy that I’ve been to the Super Bowl and won it.”
In the AFC Championship Game, the Steelers knocked off the New York Jets 24-19 at Heinz Field. Running back RASHARD MENDENHALL rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown and quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER notched his 10th career postseason victory. Roethlisberger, who is in his seventh year, is one of only three quarterbacks (Pro Football Hall of Famer TROY AIKMAN and TOM BRADY) in NFL history to win at least 10 postseason games by the end of their seventh season.
“Ben does things that nobody else does,” says NFL Network analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN about Roethlisberger. “If you win Super Bowls, you belong among the best to ever play this game.”
Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowls in his career and with a win on Sunday would join Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW (four), JOE MONTANA (four) and Aikman (three) and Brady (three) as the only starting quarterbacks in NFL history to win at least three Super Bowls.
Green Bay punched its ticket to North Texas with a 21-14 win at Soldier Field over the Chicago Bears. The defense led the way with three interceptions. Rookie cornerback SAM SHIELDS, an undrafted free agent, had two interceptions and a sack, becoming the first NFL rookie and the first Packer to record two interceptions and a sack in a playoff game. Defensive tackle B.J. RAJI added a key fourth-quarter interception that he returned 18 yards for a touchdown. Raji is the first defensive lineman in franchise history to return an interception for a touchdown in the postseason.
The Packers are the first No. 6 seed in the NFC to advance to the Super Bowl since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990. The only other No. 6 seed to play in the Super Bowl was the 2005 Steelers, who went on to win Super Bowl XL.
Green Bay has not trailed by more than seven points in any game this season, the first team to accomplish the feat since the 1962 Detroit Lions.
“This team has great character,” says Packers quarterback AARON RODGERS, who has a 113.0 career postseason passer rating, the highest in NFL history (minimum 100 attempts). “If you look at the roster right now, there are a number of guys who were either not with us at the beginning of the season or were not counted on to play a big role. To have guys step up says a lot about our character. We just believe in each other.”
Pittsburgh head coach MIKE TOMLIN, who guided the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XLIII, can become the first head coach in NFL history to win two Super Bowls in his first four seasons. He is also aiming to become the youngest head coach in league annals to win two Super Bowl titles (38 years old).
“It’s special,” says Tomlin about moving on to Super Bowl XLV. “There are 32 teams that start this journey and there are only two left. We are fortunate enough to be one of them. It’s awesome.”
On the opposite sideline will be Green Bay’s MIKE MC CARTHY, who grew up in Pittsburgh and spent four seasons at the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant coach.
“Pittsburgh is obviously a big part of who I am,” says McCarthy, who has guided the Packers to the playoffs in three of the past four seasons. “My family is still back there. This is going to be a very unique experience for everybody. I was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan growing up and they’re my second favorite team. But we’re preparing to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a football game and that’s what we need to stay focused on.
“They’re an excellent football team, obviously. They’ve had a lot of success. They’re a veteran team and an experienced team. They’ve been through this experience before and we have not. We understand that. But we’re going to stick to our approach and that’s the way we’re going to face it. Our goal is to bring the Lombardi Trophy back home.”
Both teams can attribute some of their success this season to stellar defensive play. The Steelers, led by defensive coordinator and Pro Football Hall of Famer DICK LE BEAU topped the NFL allowing just 14.5 points per game. Green Bay defensive coordinator DOM CAPERS, who held the same title with the Steelers from 1992-94, and the Packers ranked second (15.0 points per game).
The two teams also ranked one-two in opponent passer rating (Green Bay 67.2, Pittsburgh 73.1) and sacks (Pittsburgh 48, Green Bay 47 – tied for second).
“I’ve got as much respect for Dick Lebeau as anybody in the business,” says Capers. “I consider him a good friend. We roomed together back in 1992 when BILL COWHER took the job and we worked there together for three years. Anybody who has been in the league for more than 50 years as a player and a coach has to have something special. I don’t think anybody can compare with him.”
These two talented defenses combined for seven Pro Bowl selections this year: linebacker JAMES HARRISON, defensive end BRETT KEISEL and safety TROY POLAMALU for Pittsburgh and safety NICK COLLINS, linebacker CLAY MATTHEWS and cornerbacks TRAMON WILLIAMS and CHARLES WOODSON for Green Bay.
“We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,” says Woodson. “Every week, it’s somebody else stepping up. The guys on this team have been making plays week in and week out. We have a ton of guys who can just make plays at any time and at any point in the game. We know how hard it is to get to the Super Bowl. You want to be able to get there and win it. It’s all or nothing now. Hopefully we can go down there and win it.”
How do I see this one playing out? Like it was a couple of seasons ago in Tampa when the Steelers beat the Cardinals, I expect Ben Roethlisberger to have this game in his hands in the final two minutes. I have wavered all week as to what team will win. I don't like the Steelers---never have, never will, but one can not ignore the fact that when Roethlisberger gets the ball in his hands late in the game, he usually comes through. He won't dazzle you with Brady or Manning like numbers, but he efficiently works his way down the field when it is needed. Can Green Bay's defence stop him? Will Aaron Rodgers remove the Brett Favre monkey from his back? Rodgers will play well, but it won't be enough because he won't have his hands on the ball last.
Pittsburgh 29 Green Bay 24. It hurt to type that! I hope I'm wrong!
Imagine this? There will be more people inside Cowboys Stadium today than what the population of Green Bay, Wisconsin is.
Deion Sanders is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Remind me to pass that induction ceremony over. I can't stand hearing the man speak for 30 seconds-two minutes, much less the time it will take him in his speech. Some humility at the podium would be nice, but that would be asking for too much.
Will this be the last NFL game we see in a while? I find it hard to believe that the world's most popular sports league would be stupid enough to allow a work stoppage.
A story on ESPN suggests Jon Bon Jovi is about to buy some of the Atlanta Falcons. Does this mean that Mrs. Scruffy is about to change her allegiances. She's a Jets fan, but I'm sure she would have no problem changing bandwagons. I already know a Falcons fan, but he isn't one of those annoying fans like people I know that cheer for the Packers and Steelers (and yes, I am talking to you if you are reading this and you know me well), but still I don't need two Falcons fans in my life do I???
One of the stumbling blocks is the unwillingness by some players to have an 18 game season. Do CFL players feel that way. They've been doing it for how long?
Steve Simmons is reporting Andy Fantuz did not receive a huge signing bonus when he inked his contract with the Bears. Take that for what you will. Simmons also spoke with former CFL and current Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements this week. Clements says his personal highlight as a player was the touchdown pass to Tony Gabriel. I don't think I have to expand on that statement.
Congrats to Trish Paulsen and her Saskatoon rink for winning the Canadian Junior Curling title last night. She stole 2 in 10 to beat Alberta and get the win. Braeden Moskowy of Regina gets his chance today to make it a Saskatchewan sweep. Here's hoping that gets done. I'm guessing not a lot (friends and family of the Moskowy rink excluded) will see his game seeing its on opposite of that big football game.
Congrats to La Ronge Ice Wolves forward Travis Eggum for getting his 50th goal last night in a win over Nipawin. Eggum becomes the first SJHL player since 2003 to score 50.
Congrats to Melville Millionaires coach Jamie Fiesel for going national with his tirade Friday night. If any coach in the SJHL was going to do it, it would be Feez. That outburst was one for the ages and I'm sure will be replayed over and over. Eggum gets 50, but the SJHL gets recognized for a coaches tantrum on a national scale. Methinks the league needs a better communications person--- wait a minute!!!
Enjoy the Super Bowl! Thoughts on it tonight or early tomorrow. I'll probably be Twittering throughout the game as well. I hope I get to see the American commercials.