Despite my hatred for the Green Bay Packers, I have to acknowledge that what they have done in the playoffs is excellent. They have played their best football the past three weeks and that is what sets championship teams apart from the other teams.
After a regular season that did not quite live up to the expectations set before them, the Packers had an historical playoff run that easily put them at the top of the NFC. They are the first NFC team to make it to the Super Bowl as a six seed. Going to Philadelphia and beating the Eagles is never easy, even if the Eagles were banged up and fading. The next week they flexed their muscles by smashing the Atlanta Falcons by twenty-seven points. The reason that is impressive is because since Matt Ryan has been the starter in Atlanta, he has lost one home game...the Packers made it two. Finishing off their run with a tough victory at Soldier Field was sweet for Packers fans. Being a Celtics fan and watching them win the 2008 NBA title in LA was awesome, so I know how Packers feel about that.
I do need to point out that I am now an Aaron Rodgers believer. Since he took over as the starter in Green Bay, I have known he was going to be good, but unlike the rest of the sports world, I was not ready to crown him. I was still waiting for him to show me something more than just putting up good numbers. After this season, regardless of a Super Bowl victory, he has proven that he is clearly the best NFC quarterback, and in my mind, the fourth best quarterback in the NFL. I put him at four behind the obvious three of Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger. In that order. Sorry Tavaris Jackson, you almost made it.
Oh, please don't make me give credit to the Steelers and talk about how consistently good the are, and how Roethlisberger ALWAYS finds a way to win, and how Polomalu and his hair are always flying around making plays that few players in the NFL have the instinct to make. I guess I will.
This is just the same old song and dance for the Steelers under Big Ben's reign. Make the playoffs as a top two seed, beat the Ravens somewhere in the playoffs, Roethlisberger connect with a receiver in some extremely odd fashion (3rd and 20 bomb caught by some guy named Brown against his helmet), then play a game in the five degree weather at Heinz Field to go to the Super Bowl. As much as I like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and watching the Ravens defense play, the Steelers showed one thing...THEY OWN YOU. Especially in post-season play. The Steelers made a great comeback to beat the Ravens and defensive co-ordinator, Dick LeBeau and his boys totally exposed the Ravens sub-par offense and quarterback Joe Flacco. I will say, Ravens-Steelers is fun to watch, I don't care who you are. Well, unless you're a Ravens fan, cause you usually don't win.
After making such a great comeback against Baltimore, Pittsburgh was almost the victim of one against the Jets, after what looked like was going to be a blowout turned in to a five point Steeler victory after Big Ben made another clutch throw to seal the game. Rex Ryan can now shut up! (Angels singing from Heaven!)
So, the big game is in two weeks, and I do not know who to root for. I hate the Packers because I am a Vikings fan. I hate the Steelers too, because they are the Steelers. I do think the Steelers will win the game, though. It is the destiny of the Pittsburgh Steelers to win their seventh Super Bowl at the stadium of the Dallas Cowboys. Not only at the Cowboys stadium, but the brand new Jerry World. What a sweet victory it will be for Steelers fans.