The Packers. The Steelers. Cheeseheads vs. Terrible Towels. Classic franchises. National fan bases. Generations of tradition.
These two Super Bowl combatants conjure up timeless NFL memories, from Lombardi’s unbeatable gang in the ‘60s to Chuck Noll’s Steel Curtain to Brett Favre reviving the Pack to Dick LeBeau’s new defensive force winning it all over the past decade. Pittsburgh is synonymous with Hall of Fame names like Franco Harris, “Mean Joe” Greene, Jack Lambert or Mel Blount, and we have seen new champions like Hines Ward, James Farrior and Troy Polamalu arise over the last few seasons.
The same greatness holds true in Green Bay with Hall of Fame favorites like Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Gregg or Herb Adderley. We have all seen highlights of the “Ice Bowl” where quarterback Bart Starr sneaks in for the game winner behind the block of Jerry Kramer, and more recently a new Lambeau lore was created by greats like Favre and Reggie White.
Another factor these two franchises with ravenous fan bases share? They are both in smaller media markets. That fact has been critical to the NFL’s ascent into a ratings and popularity juggernaut. It really doesn’t matter where you are from the in NFL; just how you are managed and how you perform. In other sports, one of two things is usually happening with small market clubs. They are either a punch line because of constant failure, or they have a couple of successful seasons surrounded by many of below mediocrity. However in the NFL, a franchise in Pittsburgh or Wisconsin can have success over time because of good management and a fair playing field.
Most experts and fans see this Super Bowl as a classic matchup, one that might break ratings records. So with all the positive vibes both currently and historically with the league, the question has to be asked: why in #$#@% are we facing with a potential work stoppage? We’ll save the “millionaires vs. larger millionaires” conversation for another day, but it would be sad mistake to miss any NFL work time with the current prosperity. This matchup should show both the players and owners how effective the NFL system is when compared with those in other sports.