Friday, January 28, 2011


ABOVE: The sun sets recently over Lake Michigan near Green Bay Wisconsin. The Steelers by this time are in the Packers' heads for sure. So is the number, 857.

Two weeks ago, the New York Jets defeated their arch-rival, the New England Patriots in a much-anticipated game for both teams. The Jets, as was very evident the following week, had experienced a "football high". They were doing cartwheels, doing flips, pretending they were Jets flying around the field. In short, they were celebrating the biggest victory they'd had in probably 42 years. But that was the problem. The Jets, unfortunately for them, were deliriously celebrating a crushing victory over their hated rival, the Patriots. They had forgotten that there were bigger fish to fry ahead if they wanted to win their first SuperBowl since number III. The veteran Steelers promptly handed them their heads.

ABOVE: "Surviving the World"- Lesson #857 

The Steelers conversely dispatched their own nemesis, the Baltimore Ravens, and performed no cartwheels. This team knows what the big prize is. The Ravens were handled and now they can fade away. There was no need to get delirious.

Fast forward to last Sunday. The Steelers were certainly happy to have won the AFC Championship and they very properly accepted their trophy. But make no mistake about it, the Lamar Hunt Trophy is nice to have, but no one keeps track of how many Hunt Trophies you've won.

ABOVE: The old USS King County proudly displays her #857.

The Steelers have a single mindset that they will claim their seventh Lombardi Trophy. For the 19 players on this team who already own one ring and the 10 who have managed to win two, they have an unquenchable thirst to do it again. They know that they are beginning to approach the same legendary status that the team of the 70s managed, winning four SuperBowls in six years. They want that legendary feeling attached to their names too.

ABOVE: "Herbie's" famous California license plate. "So where are we going with this," you ask? Read on...

Last week meanwhile, the Packers edged out their rivals, the offensively-challenged Chicago Bears who needed a third string quarterback to even make it a game. To be kind, the Packers and their all-world quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, did not look like world beaters on this day, but they won...just like the Steelers.  

I like the Packers. They're one of my favorite NFL teams. I really like Aaron Rodgers too. However, as I see it, the Packers are a year early to claim SuperBowl XLV. They'll lose to the Steelers but more than likely win it all next year (when the Steelers go into their post-SuperBowl funk). See, they're really not focused enough on the Steelers. They're still busy relishing that big win over their hated rivals, the Bears in Chicago no less and they're just thrilled to now be in the SuperBowl. 

The thrill of being in the SuperBowl plus the gigantic difference in experience on this big of a stage should be just enough to give the nod to the Steelers and have them cart home another piece of Tomlin "hardware". Look for the Steelers to "go for the jugular" early and often when the jitters are at their highest level. In fact, if they win the toss, I expect them to take the ball and not defer as they many times do. 

Pittsburgh getting 2 1/2? You've got to be kidding. That's like having a license to print money! In fact, I'm going to remortgage my house! Only kidding. The last time I bet on a football game Dick LeBeau was still playing!

Oh, and by the way, the Steelers have been to seven prior SuperBowls and won six of them. That's an .857 percentage!!! They don't go to the SuperBowl to lose, that's for sure and the one they did lose remains one of the greatest conundrums in SuperBowl history. Why go if you're not planning to win, right? The Steelers are a confident, talented, very veteran bunch. Will they be excited before the game? Sure. Will they be paralyzed in fear of making a mistake? No. That's why I'm confident that they'll bring home number 7 in grand style. Green Bay, however, with experience under their belts and the hunger to finally cash in, should be a favorite for SuperBowl XLVI.

ABOVE: The famous Dunlop KT 857. With as popular as this number is, how can the Steelers lose?

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