January 25, 2011
This year’s Super Bowl will feature two of the NFL’s most successful franchises of all time in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. Both the Steelers and Packers have not only won a significant amount of regular season and playoff games, but they’ve been to the pinnacle as well and have a history of winning the Super Bowl.
The Steelers are making their eighth trip to the Super Bowl and have won six – the most titles in the game’s history. The Packers, on the other hand, will be appearing in the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl and have won three. And if you count Green Bay’s nine previous NFL Championships before the game was officially called the Super Bowl, this game will pit the league’s two most dominant franchises in history against each other.
AFC Conference Championship Analysis
Both teams reached this game after winning close AFC and NFC championship games. The Steelers raced to a 24-0 first-half lead against the New York Jets, thanks in part to short touchdown runs by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Rashard Mendenhall, and appeared to have the game well in hand. The Jets didn’t give up, however, and a long pass play from quarterback Mark Sanchez to former Steeler Santonio Holmes brought the Jets to within two touchdowns. A safety and another Sanchez touchdown pass later, this time to receiver Jericho Cotchery, brought New York to within five points and thinking upset. But that’s as close as they’d come as the Steelers connected on two first-down plays late in the fourth quarter to run out the clock and win the game.
NFC Conference Championship Analysis
The NFC game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears was a similar story. The Packers held a 14-0 lead late in the third quarter when the Chicago Bears made their comeback. With starting quarterback Jay Cutler banged up and backup Todd Collins ineffective, the Bears turned to little-used third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie. Hanie led an eight-play drive and marched the team down the field to the Packers 1-yard where backup running back Chester Taylor gave the Bears their first points with a rushing touchdown. After giving up a defensive touchdown on a pick-six by the Packers B.J. Raji, Hanie threw a touchdown pass to Earl Bennett to make the score 21-14. The Bears had one more shot to tie the game, marching down to the Green Bay 29-yard line, but Hanie threw his second interception of the game and the Packers came away victorious.
What to Expect from the Super Bowl
Looking ahead to the Super Bowl matchup, this has all the makings for a good game. Both quarterbacks have played some of the best football of their careers this season. Aaron Rodgers has been a legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate in passing for nearly 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns without the benefit of a very good running game. And after a four-game suspension, Ben Roethlisberger has bounced back, throwing for more than 3,000 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only five interceptions in a short season.
The Steelers have a better running game with 1,200 yard rusher, Rashard Mendenhall while the Packers offense is a bit more lethal in the passing game. Pittsburgh may have the edge in defense and also experience, as several players on the team participated in the franchise’s two most recent Super Bowl wins. The key to the game may rely on the Packers’ ability to establish a ground game – something that is extremely difficult to do against the Steelers, one of the league’s toughest defenses against the run.
Either way, fans are in for a special game featuring the two most successful franchises in league history.
Who are you rooting for?