Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Super Bowl XLV: A discussion of cheese and steel

From the early domination by Green Bay in the 60s to the reign of Lynn Swan and Mean Joe Green in the 70s, Green Bay’s three championships and the Steelers’ six are cornerstone football history.

Christopher Columbus and the Declaration of Independence. However, never in the 45-year history of the Super Bowl have these two franchises met. This year, two of the NFL’s most storied and historic teams will meet in Dallas, ironically home to Pittsburgh’s ’96, ’79 and ’76 Super Bowl rival.

No classic frozen tundra, rather an air-conditioned dome. No Troy Aikman and Larry Brown to steal a championship from the Steelers, and finally no Brett Favre to steal one from Green Bay (yes, that is a Favre rag).

It’s gotta be the hair

A revived Steel Curtain led by a healthy Troy Polamalu looms waiting for Aaron Rodgers and company.

Polamalu racked up some 63 tackles in the regular season and seven in the post season, but what is most dangerous about him is his ability to make big plays. Right, Joe Flacco, week 13?

His ability to read quarterbacks has allowed him to grab seven interceptions in the 2010 season, and his ability to read the run and explode into running backs has spotlighted him as one of the most dangerous strong safeties in the game.

On the other defensive unit taking the field in Dallas, Green Bay linebackers A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews look like WWE stars with helmets. And are about as nice too. In the post-season, Hawk and Matthews have combined for 24 tackles. Matthews is responsible for 3.5 sacks. Not to mention his 13.5 registered during the regular season.

With Hawk daring backs to run down the middle and Matthews blowing by blocks on the edge, quarterbacks have to think quickly and often throw quicker. Gift wrap for Charles Woodson.

Big Ben and Mr. Rodgers

Ironically, the two elite quarterbacks to be featured in Dallas mirror every bit of their namesakes. Standing like the 316 foot clock tower as a pocket collapses around him, Ben Roethlisberger is known for his ability to make throws with 300-pound nose guards climbing on his back.

Roethlisberger threw for 3,200 yards in the 2010 season, including 17 touchdown throws after serving a four game suspension. With only five interceptions on the year (regular season) Roethlisberger has shown developed decision making (on the field, at least) and has donned the “leader” cap for his team well, albeit flipped to the back, bill bent for “the look.”

Virtually Roethlisberger’s stylistic opposite, Aaron Rodgers has quietly commanded one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL. Rodgers threw for just shy of 4,000 yards and completed 65 percent of his passes to the tune of a passer rating of 101.2 (regular season). In addition to his aerial supremacy, Rodgers was the second leading rushing quarterback in the league, racking up 356 yards on the ground for four touchdowns. Rodgers’ deadliness with a football is quietly touted. A good match for his cardigan and coffee persona.

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