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The Point After

One small advantage could decide tightly matched Super Bowl

GS: John, we're halfway through Super Bowl week, and no one seems nervous except the bus drivers. Does this mean we're going to get a good game, or does it mean the players wish this game was in San Diego, too?

JR: It has every indication of being a good game. Two good quarterbacks. Two excellent defenses. Two hours worth of commercials. What's not to like? I began the week leaning in Pittsburgh's direction, but the Packers are starting to unnerve me with their nonchalance. Either that is a supremely confident team, or Prozac has signed up as a title sponsor.

GS: That's odd, because I thought Green Bay was going to win a couple of days ago, and now I'm drifting toward Pittsburgh. Does that mean that both teams have a lot of game-changers, or that I'm just that eager to disagree with you?

JR: I think it means neither team looks like a slam dunk. I think it means Troy Polamalu or James Harrison or Ben Roethlisberger or Clay Matthews or Charles Woodson or Aaron Rodgers could be the star. I think it means one of the coaches will make a decision that he will forever regret. I think it means all this whimpering about cold weather and long hair and a loudmouth commissioner will be long forgotten when people recall this game years from now.

GS: It also could mean an unlikely star. Someone like Mike Wallace from Pittsburgh or Greg Jennings from Green Bay. Or, in case of injury, Packers' backup quarterback Matt Flynn. Or — are you ready for this one — Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich. He played awfully for the Bucs, but I always liked Byron.

JR: And I liked Tito but I never wanted to see him on lead vocals for the Jackson 5. If one of these quarterbacks goes down, he's taking the team with him. I think the story of the game is which group of blitzing linebackers will force a quarterback into making critical mistakes. In that sense, defensive coordinators Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers may be the most interesting guys on the field.

GS: LeBeau is great. Capers is very good. But I think James Harrison makes LeBeau smarter, and I think Clay Matthews makes Capers a genius. It's still a players' game.

JR: So give me odds. Give me insight. Does Rashard Mendenhall or James Starks get to 100 yards? Does Matthews or LaMarr Woodley get multiple sacks? Does Harrison or Hines Ward pick up the biggest fine?

GS: Of those, I'd bet Mendenhall over Starks. I'd bet Matthews over Woodley. I'd bet Harrison over Ward. That one is easy. Okay, my turn: Does Greg Jennings or Mike Wallace have the longest catch? And whom do you like better with two minutes to go: Rodgers or Roethlisberger? And most important, who wins at Jeopardy? Roger Goodell or Harrison?

JR: Jennings. Roethlisberger. And neither. Harrison would attack Alex Trebek and Goodell would squeal to Sports Illustrated about it.

One small advantage could decide tightly matched Super Bowl 02/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 11:30pm]
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