The NFL's season culminates tonight in Dallas as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers meet in Super Bowl XLV.
The Steelers, who went 12-4 en route to the AFC North title and No. 2 seed in the AFC, defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round before beating the New York Jets in the AFC Conference Title game to advance to Super Bowl XLV. Mike Tomlin and company should thank the Jets for knocking off the Patriots, who thrashed the Steelers earlier this year in Pittsburgh.
Green Bay had a much, much more difficult path to the Super Bowl. The Packers were the NFC's six seed this year, going 10-6 in the regular season and not clinching a playoff berth until Week 17. The Packers looked all but dead after losing to New England in Week 15, but things fell perfectly for the Packers and they made the playoffs.
The Packers defeated each of the NFC's top three seeds en route to the Super Bowl, beating the Eagles in the Wild Card round before defeating the top-seeded Falcons in the Divisional Round and then finally the Bears in the NFC Conference Title game.
This game has historical implications as Brett Perryman pointed out:
Super Bowl XLV will be one of the most high leverage in terms of historical significance. The Steelers and Packers are way up there on the list of super bowl appearances (number includes Super Bowl XLV):
8 Dallas Cowboys
8 Pittsburgh Steelers
6 New England Patriots
6 Denver Broncos
5 Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland/LARaiders, Miami Dolphins
The list of super bowl winners is littered with Steelers and Packers (22% after tonight). One of them will move even higher on the list of super bowl championships:
5 San Francisco
3 Green Bay, NY, New England, Washington, Oakland/LA, NY Giants
On a personal level, Ben Roethlisberger is looking for his third Super Bowl ring, which would give him as many as NFL MVP Tom Brady.
Kickoff is slated for 6:29 EST, 5:29 local. Coverage can be found on FOX, starting, well, now. Christina Aguilera will sing the National Anthem tonight and the Black Eyed Peas, Slash and Usher will provide the Halftime entertainment.