The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 6, 2011

Henry: Rodgers' play gives edge to Packers

In January 1967, current Joplin resident Harlan Snow was visiting his mother in California.

On the day of the NFL vs. AFL Championship Game, Harlan decided to go to the Los Angeles Coliseum to watch the Kansas City Chiefs tackle legendary coach Vince Lombardi and his Green Bay Packers.

Tickets were not a problem. Harlan simply walked to the Coliseum ticket window and purchased a ticket for approximately $10. He also bought a program for 50 cents.

Today tickets aren’t quite as easy to obtain as the Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers collide in Super Bowl XLV at the Jerry Jones/Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A check of stubhub.com late Friday night revealed ticket prices ranging from $2,295 to $135,000. Ticketcity.com had 45 tickets available from $2,112 to $7,304 plus parking passes starting at $38, the only way to make Arrowhead Stadium parking seem like a bargain.

.The Packers, the bottom seed in NFC, had the tougher road to Dallas with road victories over the Philadelphia Eagles, top-seeded Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears in the conference championship game.

The Steelers, by contrast, never left Pittsburgh during the playoffs. After a first-round bye, the Steelers rallied to beat the Baltimore Ravens and rode a strong first half before holding off the New York Jets in the AFC championship game.

The Packers made the playoffs as a No. 6 seed because quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed some regular-season action  after suffering a concussion. Had Rodgers not been injured, the Packers likely would have been the No. 2 seed at worst.

Rodgers’ play, nothing short of spectacular against both the Falcons and Bears, is the main reason the Packers are a slight favorite in today’s game. But this Pittsburgh defense will be the toughest Rodgers has seen in the postseason.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger saw his season begin with a four-game suspension for his off-the-field activities and end with his third Super Bowl appearance.

Should the Steelers win, Roethlisberger joins an elite group of quarterbacks with three Super Bowl rings. Terry Bradshaw (Steelers) and Joe Montana (49ers) directed their teams to four Super Bowl crowns, and Troy Aikman (Cowboys) and Tom Brady (Patriots) each have three titles.

Roethlisberger is more prone to mistakes, but the Steeler defense makes up for many of his miscues. Roethlisberger also extends plays with his scrambling ability, so the Green Bay defense must not only pressure Big Ben but also contain him and complete the sack.

The Steeler defense faces its toughest postseason challenge today. An MVP performance by Rodgers gives the Packers their first Super Bowl victory since the 1996 season.

Packers 30, Steelers 24

JIM HENRY is the executive sports editor for the Joplin Globe. He receives correspondence at the Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, Mo. 64802, or jhenry@joplinglobe.com

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