It has been one of the most interesting seasons in the NFL's history, and it has ended with the Packers and Steelers competing for the NFL's ultimate prize in Arlington. Both teams took very different routes to get there, but will now be on the same plane, for one Sunday.
The Packers had tons of injuries this season, guys like Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, and even Aaron Rodgers who suffered 2 concussions, and yet the Packers fought through all of that to make the Super Bowl. What was their season changing moment? Maybe the fight they put up in New England in Week 15 to the very final gun with Matt Flynn at QB, and from a team that had just lost to Detroit, this was a marked improvement. Aaron Rodgers showed why he may be one of the best in the NFL in the Divisional round game in Atlanta, and when he struggled against the Bears, the Packers defense rose up to the occasion. They are the first 6 seed in the NFC to make the Super Bowl, but they never looked like a 6 seed. And now they'll put the experience used to beat the top 3 seeds in the NFC to good use against the AFC Champion Steelers.
For Pittsburgh, many didn't think the Steelers would get this far. Without Ben Roethlisberger during the first 4 games, many thought it would be impossible for them to win 3 games. They almost won 4. Their defense was again the backbone of the team, and it helped them through the starts by Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. Their season changing moment was in Week 13 when Troy Polamalu sacked Joe Flacco and forced a fumble that eventually led to the Steelers game winning TD. If they didn't win that game, the Ravens would have hosted their Divisional Round tilt, and nobody knows what could happen if the 2 rivals met in Baltimore. The Steelers comeback was pretty amazing against the Ravens, and even though they almost lost a 24 point lead against the Jets, their D made up for the problems the offense had. Aaron Rodgers will have a tough time picking apart the Steelers D.
So, on the road to North Texas, only the Packers and Steelers are left. Who will win? I don't even know yet, and you'll have to wait until next week to see the analysis. But for now, if you're a Packer or Steeler fan, enjoy this win, and prepare for a fun game in 2 weeks. If not, enjoy the Super Bowl anyway as a football fan, because who knows what will happen with the CBA.
Who will be the final team standing on the podium at about 10:15 PM EST on Sunday February 6th, 2011?