Skip to main content

Steelers and Packers face up for Super Bowl XLV

By Paul Gittings, CNN
  • Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers contest Super Bowl XLV in Dallas
  • Pittsburgh have won a record six Super Bowl crowns with the Packers claiming three
  • Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is aiming for third Super Bowl ring
  • The Dallas Cowboys stadium in Texas hosts the 45th edition of the NFL season finale

(CNN) -- Two storied teams ... two superstar quarterbacks ... an iconic venue.

Sunday's Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas has all the ingredients to match the inevitable hype which accompanies America's love affair with the finale of the NFL season.

Streets will be deserted as well over 100 million watch on television in the United States alone and it's not just the action on the pitch which attracts the massive audience.

The list of acts who have performed in the pre-game and halftime entertainment is a who's who of rock and pop celebrity, including Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and The Who.

This year pop icon Christina Aguilera will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" just prior to kickoff while the halftime headline act is the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas.

The Super Bowl is America's World Cup final

Indeed, one of the most talked about incidents at a Super Bowl took place in the halftime show in 2004 when Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" raised eyebrows and became the most watched clip on the internet.

Gallery: Super stadiums of the NFL

This year's performers, lacking the traditional cheerleaders as neither of the two teams has them, will be hoping to avoid the sort of mishap which befell Jackson, while on the pitch the pressure will be even more immense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have claimed more Super Bowl wins than an other franchise with six against one defeat, the Green Bay Packers took the first two in 1967 and 1968 with a further triumph in 1996.

The Steelers have also won a record eight AFC (American Football Conference) championships, including their 24-19 victory over the New York Jets to reach this season's Super Bowl.

The Packers claimed a record nine NFL championships before the Super Bowl was instituted and their 21-14 victory over arch-rivals the Chicago Bears was their third NFC (National Football Conference) championship.

We were fortunate enough to get a win but what happened in Heinz Field in 2009 is going to have no bearing in this stadium
--Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin
Packers fans show true colors
One family key to Steelers win?
New babies get tiny cheeseheads
Selling fake Super Bowl merchandise

So with two teams with a lengthy history and impeccable pedigree a classic showdown is in prospect, particularly as the last meeting between them ended with a nail-biting 37-36 win for the Steelers.

Much of the pre-match hullabaloo centered around the team's star quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers.

They were given their own podiums to address the mass ranks on Tuesday's traditional media day while other players had to do with designated spots in the stands at the Cowboys stadium.

Quarterbacks hold the key

But with that spotlight comes an awesome responsibility, a misplaced or intercepted pass can mean the difference between triumph or despair in the Super Bowl with its history littered with tales of under performing quarterbacks.

Roethlisberger has been there and done it, helping the Steelers to Super Bowl wins in the 2005 and 2008 seasons, his 35-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes clinching their most recent triumph.

And it was "Big Ben's" pass to receiver Mike Wallace in the final play of the game which gave the Steelers that narrow one-point win over the Packers the last time they met just over a year ago.

"We were fortunate enough to get a win but what happened in Heinz Field in 2009 is going to have no bearing in this stadium. So many of the components of these teams are different," said Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin.

Rodgers finally took over the mantle at the Packers from the great Brett Favre in 2008 and in his five-year professional career is the NFL all-time leader for the highest percentage of completed passes in the regular season with the lowest number of interceptions.

It demonstrates a precision that may prove invaluable come Sunday night as he seeks his first Super Bowl ring.

Packers' fans will be hoping Rodgers gets the chance to dust off his unique touchdown celebration, dubbed "The Championship Belt".

After a touchdown or scoring play, Rodgers makes a motion as if putting an imaginary belt around his waist.

Pittsburgh will be banking on their highly-rated defense to get to grips early with the Super Bowl rookie and disrupt his rhythm.

World's largest domed stadium

So the stage set for a classic in a stadium which, it being in Texas, prides itself on being the biggest and the best.

According to the official Dallas Cowboys website, it is the largest domed stadium in the world, has the world's largest retractable glass doors at each end and possesses the world's largest video screen.

The world's largest freestanding support holds it all up with the stadium able to seat 80,000 fans with a maximum capacity of 110,000.

If a clutch of out-of-stadium tickets to watch on a big screen are counted, the record for a championship game, of 103,985 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California for the 1980 NFL championship game, could well be broken.

With such huge interest and despite the economic downturn in the United States, advertisers are still willing to stump up an eye-watering $3 million for a 30-second slot on the transmission by Fox with the commercials "take" set to be another record.

The only cloud on the horizon in the build-up to match day was the appalling weather in Dallas, with sub-zero temperatures forcing both teams inside to practice and the Cowboys stadium shrouded in snow.

The cold snap was forecast to continue through the weekend.