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History's the real winner

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Later tonight, the Green Bay Packers & Pittsburgh Steelers, with 9 Super Bowl titles between them, will meet in Arlington, Texas in Super Bowl 45. The dynasty of the 60's vs. the dynasty of the 70's. You could not script the development of this game any better than fate did.

Aaron Rodgers is simply the hottest QB left in the tournament. His Packers have bounced three division winners (Chicago beat NFC West champ Seattle) en route to the "Big Game". So what if they lost star running back Ryan Grant in the first week? That opened the door for James Starks, a rookie out of the University of Buffalo, to break out during the playoffs. Defenses have keyed on veteran wideouts Donald Driver & Greg Jennings, but Pittsburgh will have to pay attention to Starks as well.

For Ben Roethlisberger, it is about vindication. It isn't so much about his 3rd trip to the Super Bowl in 7 seasons, but rather having fully redeemed himself in the eyes of the media after the off-field drama that led to his being suspended for the first month of the season. They couldn't prove that he actually had done anything to some college co-ed in a Georgia bar, and you can be sure Steeler loyalists have dismissed the young lady as another gold digger crying wolf. Again, we don't know the whole story either way, and it will be a non-issue as the game progresses.

On defense, the teams are about even. The hype has been more about the two guys with the hair, Green Bay's 2nd year star Clay Matthews, Jr., who just signed an endorsement deal with Unilever (Suave shampoo), and Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu (Head & Shoulders), two former USC stars going mano-a-mano. Both will factor into the final result of the game, I'm sure.

In the end, though, it will come down to the intangibles. Roethlisberger and the Steelers have been there before, most recently dismissing Arizona just a couple of years ago. They will talk at length about the lockout that could be in effect come March 3 if the NFL owners and the players association don't come to an agreement. They'd all be fools if they go through with the lockout, IMPO. This could be the last game we'll see for a while, unless the UFL, assuming it returns for a 3rd season, takes advantage, but they're a short-season league, starving for attention.

My pick: Pittsburgh 42, Green Bay, 38.
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