The last time the Packers were in the Super Bowl, I was 7 years old.
I could not have told you who John Elway was before that game, but my 7-year-old self would not forget that game, or grasp the idea that the Packers could lose a Super Bowl.
Seriously, I mean they had just won it the year before, when my 6-year-old self could have cared less about it at the time. Clearly, they were the best team in football to make it back to the Super Bowl the following year. Obviously, they couldn’t lose.
I’m much less naive now.
With the big dance only days away, I’m more excited now than I was for the Rose Bowl – which is saying a lot.
I may be a Packers fan, born and raised, but setting aside that bias, Green Bay deserves to win the Super Bowl.
13 years later, it’s about time Green Bay retakes its throne.
The Steelers won the Super Bowl only two seasons ago. Props to Mike Tomlin for taking over one of the NFL’s dynasties and keeping it alive, but it has only been two seasons since they took home their sixth Lombardi Trophy. It’s almost as if they can win it at will.
Big Ben Roethlisberger may not be anyone’s favorite player off the field, but there’s no denying he’s talented. He can extend the play out of the pocket and gain those extra yards to get his team down the field.
The Steelers may have Super Bowl experience the Packers currently lack, most notably in quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
If Rodgers has his head on straight, he’ll realize this is a game like any other. Yeah, the outcome is pretty important, but it’s 60 minutes of football, just like any other game of the season.
Rodgers’ lack of Super Bowl experience shouldn’t make or break the Packers. Brett Favre won the first Super Bowl game he played in, as did Roethlisberger himself, both Manning brothers and a whole list of others I’m leaving out.
By that list Rodgers’ lack of Super Bowl experience should favor the Packers, if anything.
Rodgers has been stellar this postseason. Although his performance in the Bears game wasn’t as worthy as his two previous performances against the Eagles and the Falcons, the Bears were a team he faced three weeks prior. Also, the last time the Packers went into Soldier Field, they weren’t exactly on top of their game – they had 18 penalties for a total of 152 yards. Giving up a field and a half doesn’t generally win games.
Excuses aside, Green Bay has fought through three road games with no Lambeau-sized faithful to cheer them on (three cheers to those who traveled).
After an embarrassing loss to the Lions in December, no one expected the Packers to even make the playoffs.
At that point, Green Bay already had five losses and was headed to New England the following weekend with Rodgers out with a concussion.
Things were looking grim.
Sure they surprised everyone by keeping up with the Patriots, but it was still another loss. At that point they had to win every game left on their schedule just to squeeze in as the No. 6 seed.
Needless to say they proved everyone wrong, on top of becoming conference champions.
At the beginning of the season, most analysts were picking the Packers to make it to the Super Bowl – they were also picking a very different team.
Analysts were picking a team that had a balanced offense and a behemoth of a tight end in Jermichael Finley.
But after week one, Ryan Grant’s injury basically screwed up any hope of a balanced offense (try as they might, the offense never righted itself until James Starks broke out in the wild-card playoff game in Philadelphia).
A couple of weeks later, Finley was sidelined for the rest of the season after only five games.
Finley and Grant weren’t the only losses the Packers sustained. In what was supposed to be a dominating Super Bowl season, the Pack was quickly plagued with injuries, throwing a wrench into the whole machine.
They still managed to make it all the way. This season has been a testament to the depth they have on their team and the talent and drive they possess.
The Steelers may have one of the leagues best defensive units year in and year out, as well as a talented offense that can make seemingly impossible plays – Santonio Holmes was a god among men after a touchdown catch with 35 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIII. The same can be argued about the Packers.
The Steelers have their six Super Bowls and their Terrible Towels, but they don’t have the spirit through the post-season that Green Bay does.
Even before the Packers made it to the playoffs they had to grind it out in two regular season games, just for a wild-card spot. The Steelers only lost four games during the regular season and earned themselves a week off to rest.
Sure, Pittsburgh’s season wasn’t perfect. Due to a suspension, they were without Roethlisberger for the first four games of the season – one of which was a tough loss to conference rival Baltimore, who they would play two more times over the course of the season and playoffs.
But the Packers have been playing an us-against-the-world game for their last five games. While Pittsburgh rested, Green Bay flew to Philadephia and fought in what was essentially their third playoff game in a row.
While the Steelers shut Baltimore down in the second half – a game where they seemingly didn’t try in the first half – the Packers faced an Atlanta team that had only lost one game at home all season.
The bottom line is both teams have fought their way to the granddaddy of them all, but the Packers were forced to take the harder path.
They deserve to win because they had to fight the entire way there.
Kelly is a sophomore majoring in journalism. Do you agree that the Packers deserve the Super Bowl title? Let her know at firstname.lastname@example.org