Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl XLV:
Here's What's Going to Happen

By Mike Batista

The Steelers obviously are students of Super Bowl history.

In the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal that Ben Roethlisberger was singing karaoke and Hines Ward, Ike Taylor and other Steelers might have gone to a strip club this week.

But there's a lesson to be learned here.

Thirty years ago, the Oakland Raiders went out and enjoyed New Orleans the week before they played the Eagles in Super Bowl XV.

Like the Steelers this year, many of those 1980 Raiders already had rings. A lot of them were starters on the 1976 team, which won Super Bowl XI.

And like the Steelers this year, that team was loose in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.

Like the Packers this year, the Eagles were Super Bowl neophytes and were a lot more cloistered in the week leading up to Super Bowl XV.

The Raiders went out and beat the Eagles 27-10.

I predict history will repeat itself and the Steelers will win.

The Packers' ability to spread out the Steelers' defense, and their advantage on a fast-track field, are definite concerns, but here are my three reasons the Steelers will win.

The Steelers stars have rings. The Packers stars don't.

Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews seem to be the hot new flavors of the month. But the Steelers can answer with Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu. Not only are they just as good, but they have rings. B.J. Raji? Sure, he's got the pounds. But Casey Hampton's got the rings.

The Cooldown Theory

The Packers are the hot team. As the No. 6 seed, they've won three straight on the road to get to the Super Bowl.

Just like the Steelers in 2005.

That Steelers team was in a groove, and I think the week off before the Super Bowl took them out of that groove. They came out sluggish against the Seahawks. Had Seattle punter Tom Rouen been able to keep the ball out of the end zone at least once in the first half, it might have been a different game.

I think the Cardinals were hurt a little by the week off in Super Bowl XLIII. They also won three straight to get to the Super Bowl. Thank God they didn't get going until late in the third quarter.

Tougher road

Eagles and Falcons and Bears. Oh my!

Give me a break.

Those are the three teams the Packers beat to get to the Super Bowl. Sorry. The Ravens and Jets strike more fear in me than those teams.

The Steelers lost only to playoff teams during the season. The Packers, meanwhile, have losses to the Redskins, Dolphins and Lions on their resume.

The Packers just haven't seen a defense like that of the Steelers.
And they haven't seen Troy Polamalu, who I predict will be the Super Bowl MVP.

I just have a gut feeling that he's due to be a factor after assuming more of a low-key, security-guard role in the Steelers' two playoff wins.

I think Polamalu will have an early interception, maybe take it to the house, and get the Packers off their rhythm early. Then he'll get another pick later in the game.

Many are predicting a close game, I know.
But I think the Steelers will win 38-21.

I'm not trying to be arrogant, and this prediction isn't very scientific, but I just think the Steelers will take a big lead early, then know Rodgers is going to throw the ball and just tee off on him.

The Packers will make a comeback bid in the second half, but it will be thwarted by Polamalu's second pick.

I also think players like Roethlisberger, Ward, Polamalu, Heath Miller and James Farrior are conscious of their place in history if they win a third Super Bowl, and they're not going to blow it.

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