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Thread: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

      
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    Default SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11


    Last edited by Kipper; Oct-07-2012 at 11:32 PM.

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Steelers-Packers Preview
    STATS LLC

    The names have changed, but the traditions remain as strong as ever. The "Bradshaw" on the back of the jersey replaced by "Roethlisberger." "Nitschke" by "Matthews." "Lambert" by "Harrison."

    But for all the individual star power that takes to the Cowboys Stadium turf Sunday evening, two simple words capture the enormity of Super Bowl XLV, hearkening the echoes and spirit of what the National Football League was, and continues to be.

    Steelers. Packers.

    The game can bear witness to the personal redemption of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and professional redemption of Green Bay signal-caller Aaron Rodgers. But even their particular subplots, intriguing as they may be, pale in comparison to the organizations they play for.

    There are nine Super Bowl titles between the two clubs, with one more on the way. The memories of Vince Lombardi's powerhouses of the 1960's and Chuck Noll's dynasty of the '70s have been modified by more recent snapshots of Desmond Howard, Jerome Bettis and Santonio Holmes.

    "You come here and see the pictures on the wall," said Steelers defensive lineman Chris Hoke. "Joe Greene and all those great guys on defense. Terry Bradshaw on offense, Franco Harris, there's too many to name.

    "You know there's a standard here, and you know that winning is an expectation. You're not hoping to win -- you're expecting to win here."

    On Sunday, others will step forward to meet those expectations and take a similar place in history. Or, in the case of a select few, cement their legacy as an all-time great.

    One of those players is Roethlisberger, who, in just his seventh season, is already looking for a third championship. A win would put him in the esteemed company of Troy Aikman and Tom Brady, and just one behind the quarterback record of four, set by Bradshaw and Joe Montana.

    But this one would be a little different, of course, as he overcame a tumultuous year marred by sexual assault allegations, trade speculation and a season-opening four-game suspension. Through it all, he seemed to change his ways off the field while still maintaining his stellar record of consistent winning between the sidelines.

    "He's matured a whole lot," said receiver Antwaan Randle El, who returned to Pittsburgh (14-4) this season after spending the last four in Washington. "And that's evident from the first Super Bowl he played in to the one he played in '08. A very different quarterback."

    His counterpart, Rodgers, has no such image problems -- and no Super Bowl rings. Yet, for the first time in his pro career, he was able to step outside the long shadow cast by predecessor Brett Favre, build upon the individual successes of seasons past and translate his prodigious talent into big-game victories.

    "I think he's definitely the quarterback we all hoped he would become," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He was a young talented quarterback, had a very bright future, and now we're in year three of his development and he's definitely developed into a special player."

    But the biggest test still remains. And it will be against a league-best defense that has done more than its part in carrying on the legacy of the Steel Curtain -- with some stellar secondary play, to boot.

    The unit held opponents to an NFL-low 14.5 points per game in the regular season and allowed just 62.8 yards per game on the ground -- an amazing 27.3 yards less than the next-best team. Despite those numbers, it was a player from its backfield that walked away with defensive player of the year honors.

    Though he missed two games to injury, Troy Polamalu tied for second in the league with seven interceptions -- and rattled off countless other bone-jarring hits -- which played a huge role in turning a number of close games Pittsburgh's way.

    "You want to know where he's at on the field at all times because a guy like that, he's huge in making those game-changing plays and you don't want to give him the opportunity to do that, especially on this stage, because it'll ignite their team," said Green Bay wideout Greg Jennings.

    Luckily for the Packers (13-6), they have their own defensive playmaker in Clay Matthews, who was nipped by Polamalu for the player of the year award. Despite all the press Rodgers and his fleet of receivers get for lighting up the scoreboard, Green Bay's defense finished second in the league in points and fifth in yards allowed.

    "How fitting is it to be a Green Bay Packer and win the championship with defense? That sums it up right there," said nose tackle B.J. Raji, whose interception for a touchdown two weeks ago in Chicago played a critical role in getting the Packers to Dallas.

    Raji will go up against a Steelers front five that will be without rookie Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey suffered a high ankle sprain early in the AFC title game against the Jets, and, despite his best efforts at rehab, has been ruled out.

    Doug Legursky will again fill in for Pouncey after doing a respectable job opening holes for Rashard Mendenhall against a formidable New York line. In some ways, stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight is a theme that runs through this game, from players to coaches.

    Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and Green Bay's McCarthy have separated themselves from the ghosts of Cowher and Holmgren past and created their own identity in these franchises' storied histories.

    "I am very conscious of the legacy that is the Pittsburgh Steelers," said Tomlin. "I simply want to add to it. That drives me on a daily basis. I have big respect for the men who have had this job before me.

    "All I want to do is to do the job in terms of upholding the standard that is the Pittsburgh Steelers."

    Come Sunday, he'll get his chance.

    http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/nflpre...meId=310206009

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    This Week's Line

    2010 Trends (Post Season)
    The Steelers are 2-0 ATS.
    The Steelers have not played away.
    The Steelers have not been the underdog.
    The Packers are 3-0 ATS.
    The Packers have not played at home.
    The Packers are 1-0 ATS as the favorite.
    The Packers have not been a home favorite.

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Joel Hanrahan of the Pittsburgh Pirates down at Cowboys Stadium with his kid rocking some mad black and yellow


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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Steelers key matchups

    [HIGH-LIGHT]HARRISON & WOODLEY vs. CLIFTON & BULAGA[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Steelers free safety Ryan Clark believes the key to stopping the Packers’ offense is “cutting off the head of Aaron Rodgers.” The Steelers must bring the heat on Rodgers, who’s been nothing short of sensational this season especially in the playoffs.

    No doubt, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has schemed up blitz packages that he hopes will disrupt and frustrate Rodgers. In leading the NFL in sacks this season, LeBeau sent blitzers from all angles. In fact, five Steeler defensive backs have sacks, and cornerback Ike Taylor had a big one in the AFC Championship Game when his hit on Mark Sanchez forced a fumble returned 19 yards for a touchdown by corner William Gay.

    But if the Steelers are to “cut off Rodgers’ head,” the men most likely to do so are James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. There isn’t a better tandem of outside linebackers in the NFL.

    Harrison, still bitter about the four fines he received this season for flagrant hits, would love to use the Super Bowl as the platform to prove once and for all that he's still a menacing force despite the league’s sanctions against him. But Harrison, a four-time Pro Bowler, does have a tough match-up against Chad Clifton, the Packers’ left tackle who was named to his second Pro Bowl this season.

    On the other side of the Steelers’ defense is Woodley, who’s recorded 10 sacks in the six post-season games he’s played in. He’ll go against rookie right tackle Bryan Bulaga, the Packers’ first-round pick in this year’s draft.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]WALLACE vs. SHIELDS[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Mike Wallace isn’t afraid to speak his mind. So when asked who will be named Most Valuable Player of tonight’s Super Bowl, it’s no surprise that he said, “Me. That’s the plan. I hope so.”

    A second-year wide receiver, Wallace is one of the NFL’s fastest players and best deep threats. Last year, he led the NFL in yards per catch. He was second this year at 21.0 yards per reception. He also led the NFL with seven 100-yard receiving games.

    But so far in the playoffs, Wallace has been silent on the field. He only caught three passes for 20 yards in the divisional-round win over the Ravens. In the AFC Championship Game victory over the Jets, Wallace only caught one pass for 6 yards. Obviously, he had a tough time getting open against Antonio Cromartie, who’s the Jets’ fastest cornerback.

    Against the Packers, Wallace will be guarded by either starting cornerback Tramon Williams or nickel corner Sam Shields.

    Williams is a big-time play maker who had six interceptions during the regular season and three more in the playoffs. But Shields is the Packers’ fastest defensive back. The Packers don't usually assign a corner to guard a specific receiver wherever he goes, but there’s a chance that may happen tonight. It could be Wallace vs. Shields for much of the game.

    “I'm a fast guy and he's a fast guy," Shields said. "It's going to be a big challenge and I can't wait."

    Can Shields or Williams stick with Wallace like Cromartie did two weeks ago?

    “They say so,” Wallace said. “But I don’t think so.”

    [HIGH-LIGHT]ADAMS vs. MATTHEWS[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Is there a chance Clay Matthews has extra incentive?

    Does he have a chip on his shoulder after coming in a close second to Steelers safety Troy Polamalu in the vote for NFL Defensive Player of the Year?

    “It is what it is,” Matthews said. “I congratulated Troy. He had a fantastic year. He’s very deserving. The great thing about it is that we have a team goal to achieve. So with a win here, individual accomplishments don’t really matter.”

    Like Polamalu, Matthews is a former Southern Cal star who was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft (Polamalu in 2003, Matthews last year). Both are two of the best players at their positions. Polamalu has been named to six Pro Bowl teams, and Mathews two. And they were bombarded this past week with all kinds of questions about their famous heads of hair.

    “He does a great job, and I think I do, too,” Matthews said of their play on the field.

    Tonight, it will be the job of Steelers right tackle Flozell Adams to lock down on Matthews. It’ll be a tough task. Matthews ranked fourth in the league this season with 13.5 sacks and he’s had 3.5 more during the playoffs. But Adams, the wily 35-year-old veteran, has his own personal incentive to get the job done. He’s playing in his first Super Bowl, and he’s playing it in North Texas where he worked the past 12 years as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

    Adams didn’t join the Steelers until July 30 when he was signed to replace Willie Colon, who suffered a freak off-season injury in mid-July. If the Steelers win, there's a chance Adams will retire by ending his career with a Super Bowl win.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]LEGURSKY vs. RAJI[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Ever since Maurkice Pouncey suffered a severe high ankle sprain in the AFC Championship Game, Doug Legursky figured he’d be the man starting at center for the Steelers in the Super Bowl. And he is. Unfortunately for the Steelers, there's a huge drop off in talent between Pouncey and Legursky.

    Pouncey, the Steelers’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, is already being compared to former Steelers’ great Dermontti Dawson. Pouncey played so well this season that he made the Pro Bowl, the only member of the Steelers' offense to do so.

    Legursky, who was on the practice squad in 2008 when the Steelers last played in the Super Bowl, is making his first pro start tonight at center. He did start four games at right guard earlier this season but didn’t play well enough to keep the job when Trai Essex returned from an anke injury. And when Essex was demoted in mid-November, it was Ramon Foster and not Legursky who moved into the starting role.

    Legursky’s Super Bowl assignment is a daunting one. He’ll line up across nose tackle B.J. Raji, the Packers’ first-round pick in the ’09 draft. At 6-foot-2 and 337 pounds, Raji is a load who has a size advantage over Legursky, whose 6-1 and 315.

    But Legursky is confident he can get the job done. Coach Mike Tomlin agrees.

    “The NFL is made up of lots of players like Doug Legursky, guys who somehow got an opportunity and seized it,” Tomlin said. “We’re completely confident that he will seize this opportunity and play well. That’s why we’re not changing what we do.”

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    I need to start breathing into a brown paper bag.

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoray61 View Post
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    I need to start breathing into a brown paper bag.
    ... Or start drinking from a brown glass bottle...

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    ... Or start drinking from a brown glass bottle...
    Oh,that's been going on for a couple hours now.

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoray61 View Post
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    Oh,that's been going on for a couple hours now.
    ... Then I'm woefully behind... I just cracked my first beer and poured my first glass of Rumplemintz...

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    Default

    Let's play some football already.

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    ... Then I'm woefully behind... I just cracked my first beer and poured my first glass of Rumplemintz...
    I had to get out of the house for awhile,so I threw on my Steeler garb,went to the MOOSE signed the book and had a few.

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Time to punch some holes into this paper-mâché QB named Aaron Rodgers!!!


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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoray61 View Post
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    I need to start breathing into a brown paper bag.

    I thought i was the only one

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11

    There's something about being a fan of a team that's over-criticized, under-rated and generally abused by the media and fans of 31 other teams. After two weeks of gibberish, it wears a little thin. In a little while, I'll gear up musically and thereafter, it'll take divine intervention if anyone crosses me.

    A fortnight in purgatory - and I've gone out of my way to limit my media contact for that time (I learned a lesson with SB 43).

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    Default Re: SUPER BOWL XLV : Steelers @ Packers : 02.06.11








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