Super Sunday on the shoulders of "Big Ben"
With media day behind both the Steelers and Packers, the chance for pre-game Super Bowl trash talk is quickly winding down, and if Rex Ryan is preaching trash talk as part of the pro game, neither of the Super Bowl contenders are listening.
As the Steelers look to their seventh Super Bowl title, many still see them as the NFL's black sheep. Not quite "America's Team" despite their unmatched championship performance. Yes, winning is what counts in Pittsburgh and as Steeler Nation knows, even if the past season belonged to Aaron Rodgers, the past decade has been owned by Ben Roethlisberger.
"We have the best fans in the whole of sports," said the Steeler quarterback during Wednesday's media day interviews, a statement that amounts to the biggest boast uttered by either team in the run up to the big game. It seems, that while both franchises definitely sport strong personalities, they are prepared to let the talking happen on the field.
Even when baited, the Pittsburgh quarterback remained cool Wednesday, maybe because he's stood in the limelight for so long. Big Ben is looking to win his third Super Bowl title in the last six years. And even during a season which began with a four game suspension and a near mental breakdown, Roethlisberger has put up strong numbers. In just twelve games, Big Ben threw for 3,200 yards, tossing 17 touchdown passes to only five interceptions while leading his team to the promised land once again.
According to several members of Roethlisberger's own team as well as his opponents, "Ben just refuses to lose." Twice during the last two playoff games, Roethlisberger converted on big third and long plays to put both the Jets and Ravens to bed. In a game that rewards winners above all else, Big Ben has become a supreme closer.
The league's emphasis on winning is something the Pittsburgh quarterback seems to understand quite well. "My definition of an elite quarterback is someone who wins football games," explained Roethlisberger during media day interviews. "Putting up numbers is one thing, but at the end of the day being an elite quarterback is winning and losing."
With a 60-26 regular season record and 9-2 postseason mark that includes two Super Bowl wins, the Pittsburgh quarterback's record speaks for itself. But as everyone who has ever played competitive sports knows, the question of the hour is often, "what have you done for me lately?"
Roethlisberger will step up to said question on Sunday, and while Green Bay is favored by between 2 to 3 points looking at the spread, the Pittsburgh quarterback's performance could make all the difference. Steeler Nation will be upset nation come Sunday.
Much is being made of the match-up between Green Bay's vaunted blitz intensive defense, but Big Ben is more than just a cute nickname, he is most likely the strongest quarterback in the NFL. "He runs through sacks that would take down 90 percent of the quarterbacks in the league," said Ray Lewis prior to the Steeler's last meeting with Baltimore in the AFC title game.
While his speed may leave something to be desired, just ask the New York Jets if he can hurt a team with his feet. Much like his winning percentage, Roethlisberger's yards rushing really contribute in a big way to only one category, winning. Several times during the playoffs he ducked a sure sack and ran for a big first down.
Even though Green Bay's defense led by Clay Matthews may come after Roethlisberger all day long, he just has to many weapons. Rashard Mendenhall could end up carrying the ball 30 times helping both Roethlisberger and Hines Ward pick up their third Super Bowl ring.
Yes, Sunday will be all about Title Town - Title Town, PA that is.