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For my Monday column I picked the team I think will win next Sunday’s Super Bowl. I believe the game comes down to a simple equation — Aaron Rodgers vs. the Steelers’ defense. I also think it will be a hard-fought, physical game and I think it will be an interesting game. It is additionally interesting for 49ers’ fans because San Francisco could have had Rodgers and because Pittsburgh plays the kind of hard-hitting football Mike Singletary wanted to play but didn’t know how to coach. To find out which team I think will win the big game click here.

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24 Comments

  1. Stan

    Once again I agree with almost all you said. I would very strongly disagree that you would put the odius tag of game manager on Big Ben. He’s all QB..that arm and his spontaneus play making..that’s not a smart robot..that’s a wiley QB.
    And please,do not quote Mike Singletary terminology from this point on….lol.

    January 31st, 2011 8:51 am

  2. Mark M

    That’s about right. I see a lot of similar predictions but I think it’ll be lower scoring than that. Both teams actually possess excellent defense so I’d put the final score around 21-17. Seems like a good matchup, so watch it become a blowout! Hardest game in sports to predict.

    January 31st, 2011 9:24 am

  3. Neal

    Both teams are seriously flawed and anybody can win, I remember last year game with Rodgers where he fumbled the ball and lost the play-off game. The Packers were horiible in the second half with Chicago, Big Ben who I despised,and read that the Steelers fans were very angry with his off field play, that his merchandise hit the bottom in sales,even with large discounts, has the intangibles to win this game.I am rooting for Green Bay but I think the Steelers will win.

    January 31st, 2011 9:32 am

  4. Loneraider78

    It is additionally interesting for 49ers’ fans because San Francisco could have had Rodgers.
    =========================
    Even more disgusting is the fact that the Raiders chose Robert Gallery with the second overall pick in the 2004 draft with Philip Rivers AND Roethlisberger still on the board.

    January 31st, 2011 10:29 am

  5. Stan

    .and I hate a woman abuser as much as the next person but,Ben was never even as much as charged with a crime..thats rough that Ann Killion calls him a rapist.
    I’m not defending what he did,since I dont really don’t know what he did. But,hearing Damon Bruce rake Rothlesburger while hearing him praise all year a convicted dog torturer sadist Mike Vick, is hard to understand even as Bruce tried to explain the difference..He still sounded double standard. I mean,Rothlesburger took a penalty without being charged let alone convicted. Steve Moscowitz has said on Comcast multiple times he would have loved to have defended Big Ben against Goodel’s draconian sentence. He did something to really upset somebody..but called a rapist and with scorn, while a Mike Vick runs around like he overcame some burden put on him,not the truth that he created his evil deeds happily until caught? Doesnt seem remotely fair.

    January 31st, 2011 12:09 pm

  6. Stan

    But,Like I said-I never really read all the sordid details..and If Im wrong about Ben,then he should get what he deserves.

    January 31st, 2011 12:11 pm

  7. Blind Tom

    Gotta disagree here. I think the Packers are hungrier and ould give anything and everything to win the SB on “America’s Team’s” turf.

    33-24 Packers

    January 31st, 2011 12:49 pm

  8. Tommy CostaRica

    Big Ben is under rated by you Lowell. The man can throw and is next to impossible to bring down. He’s 2 and 0 in the big game and he’s going to be 3 and 0 like Joe. Why the hell the 9er’s didn’t take Rodgers over Smith I don’t know???? But that bonehead move has cost us fans 5 years of misery. You are right about maybe we would of ruined him but I don’t think so. What’s equally frustrating is that the Raiders passed on him too when they could have had him some 20 picks cheaper than the 9ers!

    January 31st, 2011 12:59 pm

  9. Dave

    Lowell,

    I will agree with you on the Steelers winning, based on their defense and the fact that they will shut down the run and make Rodgers beat them. And this year they will face the Packers with “The Polamalu Factor” in place, with Troy playing the game, unlike last years regular season game when he did not. He like no other, makes that Defense what it is.

    I will however disagree with you on your overall assesment of Roethlisbeger as a game manager. You in fact break down his game and abilities very well. That he is big, strong and not necessarily graceful, but has the uncanny ability to make the plays that are necessary. And I will contend that he does in fact manage the game very well. He stays cool and calm in the games bigggest moments. He has on many occasions gone into the huddle and told his team, let’s go win this thing. I Super Bowl XLIII, after the Cardinals took the lead on the bomb pass from Warner to Fitzgerald, he told his teammates it was ok, and it was time to step up and win the game. And he led them down the field and made some brilliant throws, to do just that. In the divisional playoff against the Ravens this year, he did much the same, going to the sidelines during a timeout, and lobbied to throw it deep on a third down, the result, they threw it deep, to a rookie wide receiver, who made the catch and the Steelers went on to win that game. He stepped up and made two clutch throws in the AFC Championship in a drive to seal the victory, when many coaches would have been content to run the ball and make the other teams offense beat their vaunted D. And in their first Super Bowl run with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm, it was the fact that they came out throwing in the AFC playoffs, made some plays and got a lead. Forcing their opponents to pass the ball against that D, in which Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning and Jake Plummer all found impossible to do. And it was the tackle by Roethlisberger in the Indianapolis game after Jerome Bettis fumbled at the goal line, that saved that game for the Steelers.
    My point is that Roethlisberger is in fact an elite Quarterback. He has the abilities to dominate a game (his 500 yard passing performance against the Packers last year and several 300 yard games) when he has too. But that is not what the Steelers do. They take the air out of the ball. Grind it at you with a running game, and then, call upon their big , strong and nimble QB to make the plays when he has too. And more often than not, he does. He does what he is asked too in that system, and he does so very well. And is at his best when he has to improvise. I don’t think there is another QB in the league that could so it so well. He is a game manager for sure, but not the standpoint of not losing the game like a Trent Dilfer or even a Jay Cutler. He manages it to win, to put his team in position to win. As you said, he is a winner, and his overall record in the NFL, regular and post season speaks for itself.

    Here are some stats that jump out at you. He currently ranks 8th all-time in NFL passer rating (92.5), 5th in yards per attempt (8.04), and 12th in completion percentage (63.07%) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1500 career attempts. He has the 4th highest career winning percentage (.704) as a starter in the regular season among quarterbacks with a minimum of 90 starts.

    You don’t get to be 8th all time passer rating and 5th in yards per attempt by simply being a “game manager” in the sense you have used.

    January 31st, 2011 3:01 pm

  10. Dave

    Here is the sad news from the 2004 Draft: The Raiders could have had Philip Rivers or Eli Manning (depending on if they would have made the trade) Roethlisberger or Matt Schuab. And the Niners could have at least had Schuab. In any case, either team I think could have used those players. Schuab went 3rd round with the 90th pick. Scary…..

    January 31st, 2011 3:13 pm

  11. Dennis

    I think you are under estimating the importance of that fast track they will be playing on. Green Bay is a lot quicker and will run (or pass) cirlcles around the Steelers.

    January 31st, 2011 3:18 pm

  12. Dan

    I’m rooting for the Packers, because Rodgers went to Cal, and I want him to succeed.

    I’m not so sure that Roethlisberger is a “game manager,” because he can improvise and extend pass plays by scrambling.

    Even if he were, is it so bad a term? If I recall correctly, even Bill Walsh used that term referring to some quarterbacks.

    January 31st, 2011 5:25 pm

  13. Chris from Santa Rosa

    My heart says Packers. My brain says Steelers.

    January 31st, 2011 6:59 pm

  14. Bake

    No equation lies, simple or complex.

    January 31st, 2011 8:09 pm

  15. chris

    Packers will find a way to run the ball and find a way to win…..Green Bay 27 Steelers 24

    January 31st, 2011 9:05 pm

  16. Sport-a-holic Gal

    I’m in it all the way for the Packer’s, they have played a season that really touches the heart of any football fan. Doesn’t it get old watching the same team in the Super Bowl year after year, I feel the same way about basketball and don’t allow myself to get all frustrated over it anymore. I enjoy watching the game, that’s my thing and every fall I look froward to football season and what’s even more funny is my favorite teams are the underdogs. They didn’t used to be but somehow over time they have lost the magic, Redskins remember the hogs WOW! Broncos where I currently reside, they just gave up so much heart this year and it was not necessary but they will come back. And finally the Packer’s haven’t seen a Super Bowl game in 13 years and they worked through all types of issues and injuries and came out of no where to meet the Steelers at the Super Bowl. Now I as well as any football fan know that the Steelers have entered the Bowl 8 times and given a licking and this year there are some interesting statistics in offense and defense. So, I’m not just throwing in the towel and residing to the fact that my team will just not quite get there. I work for Dish Network, I eat drink and live TV. In fact I’m working Super Bowl Sunday but I’m not missing the game, I’d rather be at home in the comfort of my woman cavern lounged out in front of the big screen watching my football game in HD. That would suit me fine. I have the most sports HD programming available across the nation with Dish and I’m in heaven. I can watch sports 24/7 if it pleases me, but this year it will be on a huge flat screen harnessed to the wall of my office. I’m just so happy to see the Packers having made it this far that Id watch it on my head if I have to.

    January 31st, 2011 9:18 pm

  17. Johnny Christo

    Here’s a question: if the Packers, running a West Coast Offense, don’t put a spanking on the Steelers, running a Singletary-preferred defense, are we all going to admit that Singletary was correct in eviscerating our franchise’s historical identity while trying to implement a philosophy that resembled that of his Bears? The answer is a resounding NO!!! So, if we all agree that Joe Montana’s offense proved superior to Singletary’s defense, and if the Packers lose, will we then say that Aaron Rodgers is no Montana, and agree that Mike McCarthy is no Bill Walsh?
    CohnZone, I am surprised by your pick. You must think the Steelers defense can stand up to the Packers offense, which begs the question, why did you malign Singletary so much for trying to create a team built on defense, rather than on offense.
    For the record, I think the Packers are going to blow out the Steelers by at least 2 touchdowns. Offense always beats defense, as Bill Walsh proved so many times.

    February 1st, 2011 12:20 am

  18. Johnny Christo

    Great offense > Great defense
    -
    Can Rodgers and McCarthy be great?

    February 1st, 2011 12:22 am

  19. Blind Tom

    Funny thing is, both teams come from small rust-belt cities. Green Bay? Pittsburg?? That’s terrific!

    February 1st, 2011 6:48 am

  20. Tommy CostaRica

    Correction Joe was 4 for 4 with 3 MVP’s

    February 1st, 2011 8:50 am

  21. David

    For those of you who don’t think the fast track will work for the Steelers, if you think the Steeler Linebackers (Harrison, Timmons, Farrior and Woodley) are not fast, you are sorely mistaken. If you think Polamalu isn’t fast, deceptive and a total disruption on the field, you are mistaken. The Steelers had a better road recod than home record this season including three on the Field Turf you refer too. And if you think that the fast track does not favor a receiver like Mike Wallace, who is one of the fastest players in the NFL, you are sorely mistaken. The Steeler Defense is built and predicated on speed and agility.

    Johnny Cristo, while the West Coast Offense was genius, the Niners had a powerful defense. The Steelers have made their mark with a devestating defense and having an offense that keeps the ball away from the other team. This game is going to be awesome, and likely come down the end of the game. Saying that, I don’t think the Packers have the ability to blow the Steelers out. Heck, the Bears made a game of it late, with their anemic offense. Look for a key turnover to make the differnce, with a defensive player stepping up and making a play. I am thinking Steelers 27-24.

    February 1st, 2011 9:22 am

  22. Stan

    Sorry,I looked into the crytall ball…and I see another onesided game. Pitt 35-14~.
    Dang,I hate when I ruin the suspense.

    February 1st, 2011 12:13 pm

  23. Johnny Christo

    David:
    You tell me, which sounds right?
    Bill Walsh, “Defensive Genius”
    or
    Bill Walsh, “Inventor of the Safety Blitz”
    -
    Oh, neither, that’s right!!!

    February 1st, 2011 3:10 pm

  24. Dave

    Johnny,

    Agreed, neither fits Bill Walsh. And I conceeded that the West Coast Offense as indeed genius. But I would encourage you to read the Yahoo Sports Article today, discussing the relationship between Super Bowl opposing defensive co-ordinators Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers. It talks about how when they worked together for the Steelers in the early to mid 90′s they built the 3-4 defense and LeBeau creted the zone blitz, and how these were designed to combat the West Coast offense and put defense back on the map. And if you look for the most part at the Super Bowl winners since that time, The West Coast offense has not been nearly as prevalant as have dominating defenses. And that includes the wins by Tom Brady and the Patriots, who in most of their wins, kept games close, and then won with timely offense.

    West Coast offense is in fact genius, Walsh was the architect,no doubt. And he also had a strong defensive mind in Coach Seifert, who made sure the offense had the ball in their hands more often than not. I am jsut saying let’s give defense its due.

    February 2nd, 2011 11:19 am

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