It's Super Bowl weekend! And even us science nerds here in the weather department are talking football. With the big game so close you can taste it, who's it going to be .... The Pittsburgh Steelers .... or the Green Bay Packers? Even though you've got plenty of reasons to like both, you've gotta pick a team to root for. And even though my beloved Buffalo Bills are sitting at home for the umteenth year in a row - I've got a pick of my own.
On the one side you've got Pittsburgh. Some would make the argument that they're the most legendary team in league history. Even though this year's team hasn't broken any records - there's plenty to like.
- First things first, the defense. This is one team in the league whose biggest stars aren't on the offensive side of the ball. You can name them up and down, Harrison, Woodley, Timmonds, and of course Polamalu just to name a few. Now they may not be the Steel Curtain of the 70's. However, with a Green Bay team coming in that had trouble scoring against 'Da Bears two weeks ago - this Pittsburgh D has the ability to shut down the Packer offense.
- Next? Big Ben, Big Ben, Big Ben. It may not be pretty, but Roethlisberger always comes to play - especially in the big games. Ever since he came in and led the team to the Super Bowl as a rookie, Big Ben has proven he knows how to win. Late in the game, he's always there with the deep pass, gritty run, and cluth first down to seal the deal. If it's a close game in the fourth quarter - advantage Steelers.
- Also, it's the Steelers. Simply put, they've been there before. With a 6-1 Super Bowl record and two championships in the last decade, this is a franchise that knows what it takes to win the game. With all the distractions of Super Bowl week and the crazy media coverage, these players will be able to hold their focus. Even though the game's in Texas, you can bet the stage will not be too big for this team.
- X-factor? Steeler Nation (pronounced "Stiller" Nation in Pittsburghese). Love 'em or hate 'em, these are some of the best fans in the country bar none. You can go to Florida, California, Texas, and right here in North Carolina and find plenty of Steeler faithful waving their terrible towels. Rest assured, they'll make their presence known in Dallas.
But hey now. Let's not forget the Packers. This of course is the team of Lombardi, and Cheeseheads, and Farve (before he defected). This year's team is as stacked as any.
- Resiliancy. From start to finish this season, the Pack has had to fight tooth and nail for everything they've earned. Right from the get go, they were hit hard by injuries and saw six opening day starters go down for the season. It was a struggle for them to even make it to the playoffs. Yet, they overcame all that adversity and look where they are now. The hottest team in football, winning 3 straight road playoff games to get to the Super Bowl. That's got to count for something.
- Farve who? Aaron Rodgers has made it easy for Packer fans to forget the days where Brett roamed their sidelines. If he's on your fantasy squad you know - he's put the team on his back and has been lighting it up all year long. While he may not have the playoff experience of Big Ben, if you saw the Atlanta game - you know he's capable of a big performance.
- It's the offense baby! While Pittsburgh's stars may be on defense, the Packers have plenty of offensive firepower. In a passing offense, their receiving corps is as good as they come in the league. Jennings, Driver, and Jones give the talented Rodgers plenty to throw to - and could be too much for the Steelers D.
- The Cheeseheads! The loveable hats that keep the noggins of all Packer faithful warm on a winter's day will be out in full force. If Steeler Nation is the best in the country, wouldn't Green Bay be number 2? They'll be there in full force making sure the Pack is well represented.
So who will win out. Will it be the gritty defensive intesity of Pittsburgh, or will the streaking Packers come out on top? Really, it's an evenly matched game and should be a blast to watch. But here's my pick.
Green Bay - 24 Pittsburgh - 17
As luck would have it, 24-17 looks a lot like the weather in Dallas on Thursday. The high was 24, and the low? 17. There's your weather tie-in for this blog!
So who do you think wins out? Leave a comment and let me know! Enjoy the game!
By: Tim Buckley