their game instead the handwringing over franchise tags and free agency this time of year.
So face it, we all better somehow figure out a way to enjoy the game on Sunday because you never know. So let's start here, no matter what, rain, sleet or snow - don't laugh, today was supposed to be a dusting - the game will be played, thanks to the $1.2 billion monstrosity dominating the Arlington skyline that comes complete with a retractable roof, which I'm sure they are double-locking in place since the high on Sunday now is expected to be no more than 42.
Without that roof, there would be no Super Bowl in North Texas, so as I wrote when the area was awarded Super Bowl XLV on May 22, 2007, on the edge of Vanderbilt University's campus in Nashville, Tenn., by an owners vote of 17-15 over Indianapolis, love him, hate him, but thank Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Because without him, without his some $800 million and that roof he built on Cowboys Stadium to insure the integrity of the game no matter what, there would be no Super Bowl in North Texas.
The 21 degrees and half-a-foot of snow on Friday - the no matter what for sure - could just as well have been on Sunday this time of year out here. And as much as we love our North Texas, this isn't New York, where the NFL and its owners made a huge exception by awarding New Meadowlands Stadium, sans roof, Super Bowl VLVIII, mostly because of the huge financial market possibilities of New York and the Manhattan attraction.
Wonder if those guys were reconsidering their votes Friday morning, or, uh, Thursday night if they stayed to the end of the party thrown by Jones for the owners out at Cowboys Stadium. Because right about the time the party broke up, around midnight or so, the snow started falling mightily, putting a pretty - heavy, too - cover on all the ice still frozen to the roads.
Hey, wonder if the NFL and Jones can construct a temporary roof over those thousands of folks who decided buying one of those $200 Plaza Passes to watch Super Bowl XLV outside the stadium on huge video screens just in case? Just asking. No one likes to witness buyer's remorse.
So thankfully on to the actual game: Packers vs. Steelers, or as Goodell said earlier on Friday, "When you say Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, that's football." Old and long-time football.
For this season, one team, the Steelers, took the high road all season, finishing 12-4 thanks to winning six of the final seven games and the tiebreaker (better division record) over the equally 12-4 Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North title. The other, the Packers, sort of snuck in the back door, finishing 10-6 on the strength of winning their final two games, and the last only 10-3 at home over the Chicago Bears, to earn the sixth seed, and now have become the NFC's first sixth-seeded team to advance to the Super Bowl in this wild-card era.
Great teams or hot teams?
The Packers have now won five straight, the final three on the road, of course in the playoffs. The Steelers have won eight of their last nine, including impressive playoff victories over Baltimore and the Jets. Their defenses are a push, the Steelers No. 1 in scoring defense (14.5 points a game) and the Packers No. 2 (15).
Their quarterbacks? The Packers Aaron Rodgers might be the hottest, and certainly is one of the league's most efficient this year with his 101.2 QB rating. Roethlisberger has history on his side, already having won two Super Bowls, along with a highly-dependable rushing game with Rashard Mendenhall and Melwelde Moore.
Offensive lines? Both good, and probably made better by Rodgers' ability to move in the pocket and Roethlisberger's ability to shrug off hits.
So to me, keep an eye on those wide receiver units. Those guys will decide this game, their ability to get open and give these quarterbacks a chance to get the ball down the field - and in big chunks, none of this dinking and dunking stuff. And no one in Green and Gold is overly worried about that nonsense we seem to hear a heckuva lot about in these parts, run-to-pass ratio.
Bull. Get the ball down the field.
The Steelers, they rely on Mike Wallace (60 catches), Hines Ward (59), Emmanuel Sanders (28) and Antwaan Randle El (22). Nice group, but nothing that will knock your socks off, really. Yeah, I