by: Dan Schmidt
I have tried not to get too distracted by the evolving team photo squabble that has garnered attention in Packers camp this week. Rather I have spent time trying to focus on the upcoming battle at hand. Aside from the fact that Big Ben has been a poor front man publicly for the Steelers, and that I choose not to watch Fox pre-game simply to be spared from the chatter of Terry Bradshaw, I have always carried a little bit of a torch for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think it developed during the days of the vaunted “Steel Curtain” , the Coke commercial featuring Mean Joe Green, (although I watch it now and wonder what were they thinking allowing a kid with a glass bottle in the players tunnel?), and reading and watching Rocky Blier’s book and television adaption Fighting Back. While a dedicated Packer fan already in my teen years, I came to appreciate and admire the Steelers. That admiration continues today, and that is why I am so excited that this Super Bowl 45 has come to fruition.
There are so many similarities between the franchises – both historically and within the confines of their current roster make-up. This will be the Packers 5th appearance in a Super Bowl, while the Steelers hold a slim 2 appearance edge. The cities of Green Bay and Pittsburgh are largely considered to be blue collar hard working and loyal to their franchises. The rabid fan bases are unequalled in all of the NFL, and the franchises have spawned 2 of the most recognizable fan props in all of sports - the “Terrible Towel” and the “Cheese Head” You will likely be able to find a self-proclaimed team historian named “Pal” sitting on a bar stool they’ve occupied since the Kennedy administration in almost every corner tap in both cities. Ahhh.. the history drips from these franchises, and the upcoming match-up boasts many parallels as well.
Clay Matthews’ hair vs. Troy Polamalu’s hair – Who will win? Suave or Head and Shoulders
Clay Mattews vs. James Harrison – Who will win the outside passrush/ pressure race?
Donald Driver vs. Hines Ward – Who will win the wiley veteran, clutch over the middle receiver war?
Aaron Rodgers vs. Ben Rothlesberger – Who will be the best Houdini and escape the pass rush to make plays? Who will better their performances from the combined 900 yd. plus offensive showdown from their last meeting? Who won’t make poor nightclub decisions after the game?
Dom Capers vs. Dick Lebeau – Who will outthink the other with new packages and schemes?
Charles Woodson vs. Troy Polamalu – Who will be featured more as an exotic blitzer?
Closer examination will reveal even more less obvious match-ups and similarities, and I plan to spend the next week delving in to this colossal match-up of two of NFL’s historical gems. Won’t you please join me?
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