Prediction: An Exciting Super Bowl
Friday - February 02, 2011
We’ve often seen excellent NFL conference championships followed by lackluster Super Bowls, but this year will prove an exception. Both the games between the Packers-Bears and Jets-Steelers tilts were entertaining, although it took the Jets until the second half to get rolling.
But this year’s Super Bowl has the ingredients for an exciting contest.
First, the quarterbacks are playmakers. Steelers signal caller Ben Roethlisberger has proven he’s comfortable on the biggest stage in sports. Even when his numbers are pedestrian as they were last week, he makes the plays when his team needs them most. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has a similar skill set - tremendous ability to extend a play with his feet, and an uncanny ability to throw on the run while being chased by large men with evil intent.
Each QB has weapons - the Steelers have the wily veteran Hines Ward and the fastest pass catcher in the league in Mike Wallace along with the ground and pound abilities of Rashad Mendenhall. The Packers have four receivers who can hurt you. Greg Jennings is the marquee wideout, but Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson all can hurt you. One wild card in the game is the uncertain status of Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey.
Defensively, each team has huge strength at linebacker. The Steelers duo of James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley cause major disruptions, and along with James Farrior are used extensively in the pass rush. Defensive coordinator Dick Le Beau gives Troy Polamalu unlimited freedom in lining up wherever he wants. The Packers defense is a Dom Capers creation that utilizes the linebackers to get after quarterbacks as well. Clay Mathews and AJ Hawk are all over the field. Charles Woodson has been very good for a long time; Tramon Williams has gotten there recently. The combination of nimble quarterbacks and high-pressure defenses should make this a classic.
* Last week the BCS announced its payoffs to various conferences. The BCS conferences will share $145.2 million. The non-BCS conferences will split $24.72 million or about one -sixth as much. BCS executive director Bill Hancock said the payments “show the strength and fairness of the current system.” Huh? Really? Hancock reminds me of the lobbyists for Big Tobacco, fabulous speakers who can spin and twist the facts to the point you want to buy cigarettes for your kids, except you know that no matter how elegant the argument, they’re on the wrong side. Very similar to Bill Hancock - he can play spin-doctor with the best of them, but he’s on the wrong side. A playoff that settles the championship on the field of play is the right solution and will make way more money for the schools regardless of what nonsense the BCS comes up with.
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