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It’s going to be a big one: Super Bowl XLV

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: Sports, Top Stories


The story so far

The Green Bay Packers, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, are on a five-game winning streak, including victories against the Philadelphia Eagles, the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons and two matches against the Chicago Bears. While Green Bay has had an impressive level of post-season success so far, all matches have been against teams they’ve played earlier in the season. Green Bay played at Philadelphia in week one, at Chicago in week three and at Atlanta in week 12. This week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers will be the first time these two teams have met since their December 2009 matchup in Pittsburgh (which the Steelers won 37-36).

Another noteworthy fact is that Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy, is from Pittsburgh and was raised as a Steelers fan. Many sports commentators have noted that McCarthy’s coaching style appears to be influenced by the Pittsburgh coaches he grew up watching. While he may have started off as a Steelers fan, this week he’s hoping to beat his hometown team and bring a fourth Lombardi trophy to the team Vince Lombardi once coached.

While the Packers are hoping for their fourth Super Bowl championship, they are also aiming to extend their 12 NFL champion titles to 13. Despite being possibly the NFL’s most successful team, the Packers have not won a Super Bowl since their victory against the New England Patriots 14 years ago. Additionally, if the Packers win on Sunday, they will officially have a 50 percent success rate for NFL championships in years with a post-season appearance, having reached the postseason 26 times.

On the other side of the game are the Pittsburgh Steelers. Led by quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger, the Steelers have been one of the most successful teams not only in the last decade but also in total Super Bowl appearances. Roethlisberger already has two Super Bowl championships to his name and is aiming to bring an NFL record seventh Super Bowl championship to the Steelers.

To get to this game, the Steelers have managed a four-game winning streak. While their last two regular season games were against relatively weak opponents­­­—the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns—both of their post-season victories came against teams that beat the Steelers in the regular season. Back in week four, the Baltimore Ravens overcame the Steelers 17-14 at Heinz Field, only for the Steelers to turn around and win 31-24 in the division round of the post-season. The last team to defeat the Steelers was the New York Jets in a week 15 match, 22-17, at Heinz Field. However, they were also unable to manage a second victory two weeks ago in the AFC Championship game. The Steelers won 24-19.

Aside from a clear advantage of experience for the Steelers, the Steelers are 2-0 against the Packers since 2001, excluding pre-season matchups. Additionally, a win would improve Pittsburgh’s Super Bowls versus NFC North opponents to 2-0, having beaten the Minnesota Vikings in Pittsburgh’s first ever Super Bowl back in 1975.

Like the Packers, the Steelers have reached the post-season 26 times in their history. With this combination of similarities paired with noticeable differences in the teams, Super Bowl XLV appears set to be one of the more memorable games in recent history.