As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, many experts have nicknamed the big game this season “The Boring Bowl.”
The thought behind this nickname came about because the two participants, the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers, are vanilla-type teams that aren’t entertaining enough for this game. The Super Bowl is meant to match the two best teams in the league against each other, and this season is no different. Whether the media like it or not, the Seahawks and Steelers are the two best teams and proved it when it counted the most – in the playoffs.
The Steelers are on an amazing postseason run; some might argue that it’s the best postseason performance ever. Not only have the Steelers defeated the top three seeds in the AFC, but they’ve also won all three games on the road in convincing fashion. Pittsburgh has been through some ups and downs during this season, but never lost sight of their goal of making the playoffs.
After a disappointing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in week 12, the Steelers’ mindset switched to playoff mode. To have any shot at making the playoffs, Pittsburgh had to win all five games remaining on its schedule. The Steelers did just that and, with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, have blazed a trail through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl.
The numbers don’t lie, and the Steelers have plenty on their side. Pittsburgh’s defense was fourth in the league in total offense at 284 yards per game and tied for third in points allowed at 16.1. The Steelers’ offense was ninth in the league in points per game at 24.3 and has increased that average to 28.6 in the playoffs. Roethlisberger has stepped up in his sophomore campaign to take charge, completing 68.1 percent of his passes in the postseason and has seven touchdowns to one interception.
The Steelers’ defense has been stingy as well, holding opponents to 17.3 points per game and putting pressure on the quarterback. Pittsburgh’s defense showed its muscle in its upset victory of Indianapolis, shutting down Peyton Manning and the Colts’ quick-strike offense.
The Seahawks have been overlooked all season long, despite holding the best record in the NFC for most of the season, with an 11-game winning streak. Seattle brings the best running attack in the NFL into the Super Bowl with league MVP Shaun Alexander, who set the record for most total touchdowns this season with 28. Matt Hasselbeck is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league but has a solid grasp of Mike Holmgren’s West Coast offense and isn’t short on confidence. Hasselbeck threw for over 3,000 yards for the third consecutive season and doesn’t shy away in big games.
The Seahawks proved their worth as the best team in the NFC in the postseason by handily dispatching the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers. The Redskins were the hottest team in the NFC coming into their divisional match with the Seahawks and knocked Alexander out of the game in the first half. Seattle, however, didn’t panic, and Hasselbeck calmly led the team to victory.
The Seahawks routed the Carolina Panthers, who were the favorite to win the Super Bowl at the season’s opening, to capture its first Conference title.Seattle and Pittsburgh may not have the appeal of New York or Dallas, but this game will be far from “The Boring Bowl.”