I’m aware that only chicks use that expression, but a Super Bowl like this one merits the TMI terminology. As a neutral onlooker, this is one of the most enticing Super Bowl matchups in NFL history.
As Tomlinson noted last night, we’re looking at two of the most popular franchises in professional sports. No one sells more merchandise annually than the Steelers, while the small-town Packers have become a chic national brand with one of the most unique fan bases in American sports.
That bodes well for the atmosphere at Cowboys Stadium on Feb. 6. The Jets and Bears would have provoked a much heavier corporate presence at Super Bowl XLV. Fans of teams like Pittsburgh and Green Bay might be more inclined to spend large chunks of their paychecks for a chance to see their team win a championship.
The Steelers will undoubtedly be cast as the big, bad villain — mainly because Ben Roethlisberger is the face of the team and has fallen out of favour in the public eye. It also doesn’t help that sports fans tend to cheer against winners (the Steelers have been here three times in the last six years and have won an NFL-record six Lombardi Trophies).
I don’t want to frame this as big-town versus small-town, simply because Pittsburgh is still a fairly modest, blue-collar city. But it’s hard not to pull for the people of Green Bay. The Packers are a wonderful aberration in the big-money business of pro sports. They’ll once again be the little-engine-that-could team. If the public demands a David, the Packers will play the role. Pittsburgh is Goliath.
Yeah, the Steelers have been here and done this, with pretty much the same group of core players. If you’re at home and looking for a team to root for, how do you not go with Aaron Rodgers (the poor sap who was victimized in the Brett Favre debacle) or Charles Woodson (the poor sap who was screwed by the Tuck Rule) or Donald Driver (the Cinderella story still in search of a Super Bowl ring)?
Plus, the Packers are a No. 6 seed. Only one No. 6 has ever made the Super Bowl (never mind that it was Pittsburgh in 2005). Green Bay had to scratch and claw to make the playoffs in the supposedly inferior NFC. Now, they’re going up against a team that earned a bye in the AFC.
That’s why this is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing Super Bowl matchups ever. And don’t expect a blowout. Neither of these teams has lost by more than 13 points since the 2008 season. In fact, there’s a belief that this is the first time a Super Bowl point spread has been under three points.
Goal-Line Stand will have the game covered from every conceivable angle. I’ll have position-by-position previews all week, Tomlinson will have day-to-day news coverage and Diakun will break things down on paper. Oh, and next week I’ll be on the ground in Dallas to provide a personal feel from the 45th Super Bowl.
“Epic” was probably the most overused word of 2010 — it’s lost pretty much all meaning. But to describe the next two weeks in NFL circles, it’s entirely appropriate.