Thursday, February 3, 2011

Vince Lombardi would Like Super Bowl XLV, I Think

How apropos.  A great piece about Vince Lombardi on ESPN yesterday coincides with what is expected to be one of the most rough and tumble Super Bowl in years.  Matching up the two toughest defenses in the NFL this year, the Packers-Steelers tilt may be remembered as one of the most bruising in Super Bowl history.

But will it?  Green Bay only played 6 of 16 games against playoff teams and only three of those games (Eagles, Patriots and Falcons) were against teams with offenses in the top half of the standings.  Similarly, the Steelers played only 6 games against teams in the playoffs.  Perhaps these defensive statistics were more of a result of their schedules rather than there true value.  In their last 3 games, Pittsburgh has scored 96 points (2 in the playoffs) and Green Bay has scored 90 points (all in the playoffs).  Both defenses have been beaten up all year and they are playing in a dome on the turf rather than the frozen tundra of Lambeau or what is considered one of the worst fields in the NFL (Heinz Field).  The over is looking better all of the time. 

But first, what do the kids think since they will be sitting next to me for the big game.

C:  Steelers.  "Because they beat the Jets and the Ravens."  We couldn't even remember who in the NFC the Packers beat, until C remembered it was the Falcons and the Eagles.

G:  Packers.  "Because I'm rooting for them and I think they are a good team." 

"That's a dumb reason, G, but OK, because [In a condescending voice] 'I like what ever Dad does.' " C chimes in thinking his answer is Pulitzer Prize winning.

DLG:  Packers.  "I don't like the Steelers because they steal, that's why."  Any other reasons?  "Nuh-huh!"  She shakes her head. 

JMR:  Steelers.  As time goes on during Super Bowl Week, I'm drawing to the conclusion that the Steelers are peaking a the right time.  They've played two of the toughest defenses (Ravens and Jets) and handled them easily.  I just can't get over how the Packers almost let a third string Quarterback on the Bears beat them a couple of weeks ago.  When they needed a game against these same Bears in Week 17, they almost failed to pull the game out.  I'm just not convinced that the Packers are as good as they are playing.  And don't forget that the Steelers are 9-1 against the spread in the Playoffs in their last 10 games.

Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger have been here two times before and know what to expect in the big game.  Aaron Rodgers and particularly, Mike McCarthy, appear shaky to me. 

Originally, I had the Packers winning the game 34-29.  While I still think the game will be high scoring, despite these defenses, I'm now of the mind that the Steelers are going to win this game 31-23. 

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