Koob analyzes all things Packers-Steelers

Shane Koob

Shane KoobPackers Hater

First off, let me get this out of the way before you continue reading: I was born and raised a Vikings fan, so for me to come out and say I’m rooting for the Packers would be considered a sin in my family.

With that out of the way, how excited are you for the big game? No matter what team plays, everyone loves the Super Bowl even if you don’t watch much football. From parties featuring the best beer and munchies, to the commercials, to the endless debate on if the halftime show was bad (The Black Eyed Peas perform this year), we all love the craziness that surrounds the Super Bowl.

This year, I feel that the two best teams from each conference made it, with the Steelers from the AFC and the Packers from the NFC. Here are a few of my observations leading up to the big game.

The Steelers

In the hunt for their third Super Bowl victory in the last six years, the Steelers looked dominant in their handling of the Jets in the AFC championship game. Love him or hate him, Ben Roethlisberger has shown he is a winner in this league, and things have gotten a lot easier with the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall at running back. He carried the ball 27 times for 121 yards and a touchdown against a pretty good Jets defense.

Speaking of defense, I’d like to put in my vote for Troy Polamalu as the best player in the league. Before you get all worked up, let’s look at some numbers.

Over the last two seasons, Pittsburgh was 6-7 when Polamalu didn’t play, and 16-4 when he was in the game. By comparison, the Steelers are 3-2 in that same time span when Big Ben didn’t play.

It amazes me how such a strong safety in the NFL can have such an impact, but Polamalu is the epitome of a playmaker. It seems he is always forcing a turnover or coming up with a big play when the game is on the line. It will be very interesting to see how the Packers’ offense handles this nasty, tenacious, and heavily fined Steelers defense. Is the Steel Curtain back?

The Packers

This took me awhile before my fingers could type it, but Aaron Rodgers is good. Really good. It really pains me to see the Packers playing for a ring, but they deserve to be there. They beat the Falcons, the team many considered to be the best team in the NFC, on the road. If you boil it down, the one reason the Packers are playing in the Super Bowl is because of their elite quarterback (take note Vikings).

Mike McCarthy has built a pretty decent team around Rodgers, including the studs he throws to: Jennings, Driver, and Jones to name a few. Could you imagine if this team still had Jermichael Finley? The third year tight end out of Texas tore up his knee in Week 5, incidentally causing my fantasy team to suffer, but that’s for another day.

Without much of a run game, and an even slimmer chance of running against the Steelers defense, it will be interesting to see how Rodgers does against a fierce Pittsburgh pass rush.

As we look at the Packer defense, I have two words: Clay Matthews. Much like Polamalu, Matthews has become an elite playmaker already in his young career. He can impact the game at any time with the dip of his shoulder and a crunching blow to the quarterback. He will have a big task in trying to take down Roethlisburger (listed at 6’5”, 241 lbs).

This year’s Super Bowl will be a good one. I’m leaning towards the Steelers, though. If the game doesn’t live up to expectations, we at least get the chance to have “I Gotta Feeling” stuck in our heads at halftime. Mazel tov.