Super Bowl XLV Has the Makings of a Classic - NBC New York

Super Bowl XLV Has the Makings of a Classic

The Packers and the Steelers have everything you could want in a football game



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    There have been too many awful Super Bowls over the years for anyone to sit here with a straight face and tell you that this Sunday's game will absolutely be an all-time classic.  But all of the pieces are in place for the game to go down as one of the best that we've ever seen. 

    The Packers have a young franchise that overcame a ton of injuries to make the playoffs, and have been the best team in football since the playoffs began. The Steelers core is on the cusp of a third title that will cement them as one of the best groups to ever play the game.

    That's a lot of narrative right there, but there are more reasons why this game could be a truly special one.

    History: The fact that the Packers and Steelers have each won six NFL titles in the last 50 years, more than any other team, won't matter once the game gets underway. It certainly doesn't hurt the game's appeal, though. The winner will wind up as the de facto king of the professional football hill, a nice bonus prize to get for winning the Super Bowl.

    Location: JerryWorld might not be to everyone's taste, but there's no doubt that a building of that scale is meant to host games of this scale. There will be a Super Bowl record crowd in a state-of-the-art venue that was always meant to be the Colosseum of the modern world. Over the top? Sure, but so is everything about the Super Bowl.

    Matchups: The Steelers have a pair of fierce edge pass rushers in James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. The Packers are terribly weak at offensive tackle, which should mean that Aaron Rodgers will be feeling plenty of heat because the Packers don't have much of a running game to keep Pittsburgh honest. That's okay, though, because the Packers receivers should have a big edge on an iffy Steelers secondary that is hampered by a less-than-100-percent Troy Polamalu.

    On the other side of the ball, the Packers love to play just two defensive linemen so that they can bring exotic blitz packages that leave their excellent defensive backs playing one-on-one down the field. Rashard Mendenhall can really run the ball, though, and that might mean a change in plans to a more conventional look. If the Pack does that, the Steelers can easily switch to a passing attack that can exploit the areas left open. Lots of chess to be played by coaches who haven proven adept at the game thus far. 

    Quarterbacks: At the end of the day, the NFL is a quarterback's league, which is a big part of why this game feels like such a bonanza. Rodgers is looking for a ring that will put him on a pedestal alongside the elite names in the sport while Ben Roethlisberger could get a third ring that all but assures him a bust in Canton.

    They do their business in different ways. Rodgers is at the helm of an offense that's operating at a ridiculously high rate right now and one that should be even better under the dome. He can make plays with his feet, too, which means that there's little chance he won't be the MVP if the Packers wind up winning the game.

    Roethlisberger can put up the gaudy numbers, too, but he's also capable of games like the one he played in the AFC Championship Game. He made mistakes and missed on plenty of throws, but he also hit on the plays that he absolutely had to have while keeping several other ones alive because of his size and sheer will.

    There's nothing we can do to make sure that all the pieces fall into place (or, sadly, about the halftime show), but we'll certainly be celebrating this game for years to come if they do.