POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 06, 2011
DALLAS » If it all were all about hair, the Steelers would already be champs.
Sure, Green Bay's Clay Matthews has a head full of golden strands, but he's got nothing on Pittsburgh's comb-defying combo of Brett Keisel's phenomenal facial hair and Troy Polamalu's luscious locks.
Keisel kiddingly — we think — bragged that his overgrown beard has Super Bowl powers, but there are plenty of other clean-cut reasons Mike Tomlin will deliver the Steelers their seventh title. Just ask Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, who knows a thing or two about winning the game.
"I think the Steelers defensively are outstanding," said the two-time Super Bowl champion coach. "And then the quarterback just keeps plays going. ... I just think the Steelers are stronger overall."
That doesn't bode well for the Packers today, even though they're 2 1/2 -point favorites.
"We've always done pretty well as the underdog," Pittsburgh team president Art Rooney II said. "That doesn't bother me in the least."
NFL SUPER BOWLKickoff: 1:30 p.m. today
"The majority of the experts felt that they are a better team than us," safety Ryan Clark said. "So, we are just going to go out and play hard and we are going to be as physical as possible."
That aggressive approach might give the Steelers one of their biggest advantages. Opponents have the black and blues to prove it.
Beware, Aaron Rodgers, because that's where Polamalu and James Harrison come in.
One's got the hair, the other's got the mouth. Bottom line, they're two of a kind when it comes to game-changing plays.
Even against scrambling quarterbacks — and Rodgers is one of the best — Polamalu is a matchup nightmare with the way he freelances in the secondary. One play, he can break off coverage and zip in for a sack; the next, he can make a spectacular move to break up a pass.
Harrison leads a physical bunch of linebackers that will combine with hefty defensive linemen Keisel, Casey Hampton and Ziggy Hood, and prove too much for a Packers running game that lacks consistency and experience.
"We know they're going to try to run the ball," linebacker James Farrior said. "I don't think they can throw the ball every play."
» LG (68), 6-3, 344, 6th season, Utah
Kahuku High graduate has improved every season, won Super Bowl rings in 2006, though didn't play as sixth-round pick, and 2009. ... Became full-time starter in 2008, missed six games in '09 with knee injury. ... Signed five-year contract during '09 offseason.
» LILB (51), 6-2, 243, 14th season, Virginia
Hard hitter, smart and a leader; coach Mike Tomlin calls Farrior "heart of our team." ... Began career with Jets as first-round selection in 1997, joined Steelers as free agent in 2002. ... Hasn't missed game since 2005. ... Has 109 tackles and six sacks this season.
» ROLB (92), 6-0, 242, 7th season, Kent State
All-Pro linebacker and among most intimidating defenders in league. ... Led NFL in fines for illegal hits, even threatened to retire after NFL's crackdown. ... Had 10 1/2 sacks and caused others for teammates with his ferocity and fearlessness. ... Former free agent who fought way onto roster in 2004. ... Was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. ... Returned interception 100 yards in 2009 Super Bowl, longest play in Super Bowl history.
» SS (43), 5-10, 207, 8th season, USC
One of NFL's premier players, a versatile, freewheeling safety who hits hard, makes big plays. ... Steelers tend to struggle when he's out, as they did in losing to Jets in Game 14. ... Perennial All-Pro with nose for the ball, tied career high with seven INTs. ... Known for hair flowing out of his helmet. ... Jets WR Santonio Holmes called Polamalu best player in league.
|4 Byron Leftwich||QB||6-5||250|
|6 Shaun Suisham||K||6-0||197|
|7 Ben Roethlisberger||QB||6-5||241|
|13 Jeremy Kapinos||P||6-1||230|
|16 Charlie Batch||QB||6-2||216|
|17 Mike Wallace||WR||6-0||199|
|20 Bryant McFadden||CB||6-0||190|
|21 Mewelde Moore||RB||5-11||209|
|22 William Gay||CB||5-10||190|
|23 Keenan Lewis||CB||6-0||208|
|24 Ike Taylor||CB||6-2||195|
|25 Ryan Clark||S||5-11||205|
|26 Will Allen||S||6-1||200|
|27 Jonathan Dwyer||RB||5-11||229|
|28 Crezdon Butler||CB||6-0||191|
|29 Ryan Mundy||S||6-1||209|
|33 Isaac Redman||RB||6-0||230|
|34 Rashard Mendenhall||RB||5-10||225|
|37 Anthony Madison||CB||5-9||180|
|43 Troy Polamalu||S||5-10||207|
|50 Larry Foote||LB||6-1||239|
|51 James Farrior||LB||6-2||243|
|53 Maurkice Pouncey||C||6-4||304|
|55 Stevenson Sylvester||LB||6-2||231|
|56 LaMarr Woodley||LB||6-2||265|
|57 Keyaron Fox||LB||6-3||235|
|60 Greg Warren||C||6-3||252|
|61 Chris Scott||T||6-4||319|
|64 Doug Legursky||C||6-1||315|
|66 Tony Hills||T||6-5||304|
|68 Chris Kemoeatu||G||6-3||344|
|69 Steve McLendon||DT||6-4||280|
|71 Flozell Adams||T||6-7||338|
|72 Jonathan Scott||T||6-6||318|
|73 Ramon Foster||G||6-6||325|
|76 Chris Hoke||NT||6-2||305|
|79 Trai Essex||G||6-5||324|
|81 Arnaz Battle||WR||6-1||208|
|82 Antwaan Randle El||WR||5-10||185|
|83 Heath Miller||TE||6-5||256|
|84 Antonio Brown||WR||5-10||186|
|85 David Johnson||TE||6-2||260|
|86 Hines Ward||WR||6-0||205|
|88 Emmanuel Sanders||WR||5-11||180|
|89 Matt Spaeth||TE||6-7||270|
|91 Aaron Smith||DE||6-5||298|
|92 James Harrison||LB||6-0||242|
|93 Nick Eason||DE||6-3||305|
|94 Lawrence Timmons||LB||6-1||234|
|96 Ziggy Hood||DE||6-3||300|
|97 Jason Worilds||LB||6-2||262|
|98 Casey Hampton||NT||6-1||325|
|99 Brett Keisel||DE||6-5||285|
|WON 12, LOST 4|
|Sept. 12||Atlanta||W, 15-9 OT|
|Sept. 19||at Tennessee||W, 19-11|
|Sept. 26||at Tampa Bay||W, 38-13|
|Oct. 3||Baltimore||L, 17-14|
|Oct. 17||Cleveland||W, 28-10|
|Oct. 24||at Miami||W, 23-22|
|Oct. 31||at New Orleans||L, 20-10|
|Nov. 8||at Cincinnati||W, 27-21|
|Nov. 14||New England||L, 39-26|
|Nov. 21||Oakland||W, 35-3|
|Nov. 28||at Buffalo||W, 19-16|
|Dec. 5||at Baltimore||W, 13-10|
|Dec. 12||Cincinnati||W, 23 -7|
|Dec. 19||N.Y. Jets||L, 22-17|
|Dec. 23||Carolina||W, 27-3|
|Jan. 2||at Cleveland||W, 41-9|
|Jan. 15||Baltimore||W, 31-24|
|Jan. 23||N.Y. Jets||W, 24-19|