ESCANABA - The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers have been welcomed into Dallas with open arms. Even the weather is cooperating, transforming the city into the winter paradise from which they came.
Now if they could just get the powers that be to open up the retractable dome on Cowboys Stadium for the big game.
It's shaping up to be one of the bigger Super Bowl's in recent memory. My boss, sports editor Dennis Grall, jokingly calls the Packers, not Dallas, "America's team" because they're saving the taxpayers a lot of cash. How? Well if Chicago had won two weeks ago, President Obama had said he would attend the game. With that comes all the expense and additional security needed to tend to the President and his entourage.
If the Packers are America's team, the Steelers are quickly becoming the New York Yankees of football, taking the place of the fading New England Patriots. This will be their third Super Bowl in five years, which if they win it, places them firmly in dynasty status.
Win or lose, to make three Super Bowl's in five years is quite an accomplishment in today's parity riden NFL.
The Steelers bring with them the freshly crowned defensive player of the year in safety Troy Polamalu, a major ball hawk and heavy hitter. Interestingly enough the runner up to the award is the Packers Clay Mathews.
Individual awards don't mean much in the big game though.
If you want to break this down by position, the Packers have the edge at quarterback, the Steelers have a better ground game and receivers are a wash. Both defenses are top notch.
Experience wise, the Steelers have plenty. This is Big Ben Roethlisberger's third Super Bowl. Same goes for receiver Hines Ward who wears his title as 'dirtiest player in the NFL' proudly.
The Packers have a couple old timers that have been here as well. Charles Woodson played in and lost a Super Bowl as a member of the Oakland Raiders and Ryan Pickett played with the St. Louis Rams.
How much does experience really matter when the game clock starts anyway?
The Super Bowl has a way of making good teams choke under the pressure. A couple years ago, the Patriots by all accounts should have finished the job of going 19-0. Were the lights too bright? Even though they had been there before?
Will this be another Super Bowl that starts flat as both teams struggle to adapt to the scope of the game? It could be. Certainly don't expect a high scoring affair. Not many Super Bowls turn into shootouts. Usually if a team makes it to the game, they got there with a great defense. That's the case with these two teams.
Defense dominated games don't have to be boring, but they often aren't the thrill fests that shootouts can become. Here's hoping the offenses find a way to get some big plays.
And so this wraps up another NFL season. By now I'm sure fans have read every angle and twist there is on these two teams, and probably found out things you didn't want to know or even care about (such as John Kuhn's preference between Lady Gaga or Brittany Spears).
But hold tight, it will all be over soon, and the sooner the Super Bowl ends, the closer we can get to a Detroit Lions dominated 2011 season. Let's get on with it.