When the Pittsburgh Steelers face off against the Green Bay Packers in two weeks, you are going to see a football game being played without Brett Favre, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Roethlisberger and Rodgers are not household names yet [only to football fans], but Big Ben getting his third ring or Aaron Rodgers overcoming the shadow of Brett Favre and capturing his first championship so early in his career can catapult either of them to stardom instantaneously.
The interesting aspect of this matchup of the Steelers and Packers being in the Super Bowl this year is the fact that only three different teams from the AFC have been represented in the Super Bowl in the last 10 years [Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers]. When you look at the last decade in the NFL and you start listing NFC teams that have been to the Super Bowl, you notice that there are ten different names and the reason for that is a serious lack of consistency [Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams]. When you take a look at where some of those ten teams are as of now it is pretty amazing to remember how each of those teams made their journey to the Super Bowl, especially to the fact that only three of them won it [Giants, Saints and Buccaneers].
Ben Roethlisberger is currently looking for his third Super Bowl ring in his third Super Bowl appearance and is attempting to join a list that cannot be ignored. In the conversation of “the best” in certain categories in the NFL, a player with one or two rings just is not defined as an absolute winner. There is just something about winning your third Super Bowl ring [Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman and Tom Brady just to name a few] that defines your career as a quarterback and makes it impossible to ever question you as a leader and a winner. With the Packers winning three straight road games to reach the Super Bowl [Eagles, Falcons and Bears], they are attempting to repeat what the New York Giants did in 2007 and what very few teams can do, win a Super Bowl on the road as a NFC team and go beat one of the “Big AFC Three.”
The Steelers have beaten the Packers in each of their last three meetings by an average of 6 points per meeting, all of the games have been close and especially the most recent meeting between the two teams that ended with a Steelers victory by one point 37-36 last December. The biggest injury concern both teams have going into the Super Bowl is the offensive line for Pittsburgh that has been absolutely banged up all year long and is now in jeopardy of not having their starting center Maurkice Pouncey for the big game. The Steelers have won 9 of their last 10 games overall, but only three of those wins are impressive at all to me [Baltimore twice and one Jets win]. The rest of Pittsburgh's wins in that streak were against Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders and the question at the moment is the fact that their lack of competition going to hurt them when they have to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. When you look at the Packers journey, you see that they are both peaking at the right time and they are also playing hard competition [at least for NFC standards]: Chicago Bears twice, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.