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Happy Super Bowl Sunday

Feb 6, 2011, 5:05 PM EDT

Super Bowl Football

If you’re a real football fan, you’re probably not reading this post because you’re undoubtedly taking in the gobs of great content that Pro Football Talk has been pumping out all day.  We’ll leave the analysis to them.  Mike Florio, Gregg Rosenthal, Michael David Smith, Evan Silva and Josh Alper do it better than anyone.

But Super Bowl Sunday is an American holiday.  And even if baseball is more of your thing, it’s a great excuse to inhale finger foods and sample brews before the start of a long week.  We have our picks, you have your picks.  Share them here.

Craig Calcaterra
Packers 23, Steelers 17

Aaron Gleeman
Packers 31, Steelers 24

D.J. Short
Packers 27, Steelers 20

Matthew Pouliot
Steelers 27, Packers 21

Bob Harkins
Steelers 24, Packers 21

Drew Silva
Steelers 23, Packers 17

It should be a good one, with two of the NFL’s most storied and well-run franchises going at it.  Let’s just hope FOX keeps the Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime plugs to a minimum and that something goes terribly wrong while the Black Eyed Peas are signing karaoke, or whatever it is they do.  Why is John Travolta talking to Michael Strahan right now on my TV?

May your glasses be hop-filled and your bellies full.

  1. Craig Calcaterra - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    I will note that my prediction comes despite the fact that (1) I have only watched one NFL game in the past two years; and (2) I really, really hate professional football.

    Go Piggers.

    • Drew Silva - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM

      I seem to recall finding you in the HBT Film Room last week with stacks and stacks of game tapes. One was labeled “Steelers, 2006-2010. Defensive Schemes.” The others had similar names.

      Couldn’t decide whether to be flattered that you were taking my request for a prediction so seriously or worried that you might be turning to the darkside.

      I know it’s tempting, boss. But don’t let Troy Aikman’s purple tie suck you in. And those drum machines you’re nodding your head to aren’t innocent or friendly. Those are the Black Eyed Peas, and they’re killing whatever good might have remained inside the music industry.

      Tonight is not going to be a good night.

  2. gvots - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    1 week until pitchers and catchers!

  3. heiniemanush - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    They should be playing this game outdoors in either Pittsburgh or Green Bay. And a high school marching band should be playing at halftime instead of whatever worn-out classic rocker they’ve got propped up this year. The Super Bowl is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with America—and I ain’t no Commie.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Steelers (NFL’s version of you know who) 42, Packers 31

  5. florida76 - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    This matchup illustrates how superior the NFL is when it comes to parity and popularity. You’ll never see a Milwaukee vs. Oakland World Series, for example. Even last years Fall Classic had poor TV ratings, and even a likely Philliess-Red Sox 2011 matchup won’t approach this Super Bowl.

    • heiniemanush - Feb 6, 2011 at 6:05 PM

      Parity is for the birds. Football, like any team sport, is much more interesting when great teams dominate over a period of time before the long-suffering upstart finally knocks them off. I wouldn’t want to see an A’s-Brewers World Series next year simply because neither team has taken the steps to get to the big stage. As far as your talk about popularity is concerned a Charlie Sheen sitcom is one of the most viewed shows in the USA. Then again, I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 6, 2011 at 7:06 PM

      Hey Mr. Parity: how many AFC teams have made it to the Super Bowl in the past 10 years?

      Don’t tell me about parity.

      • florida76 - Feb 6, 2011 at 7:51 PM

        The major difference is, those AFC teams had solid organizations which combined with a decent economic model, allowed them to win without being forced to break up their squads. That’s parity.

        In baseball, you have the one shot wonders or Minnesota Twins, neither being able to be a long term serious contender. That’s a function of a lousy economic model. We’ll have parity in baseball when smaller market teams compete long term like the NFL, and when those teams sign free agents away from the big markets.

        Till then, the NFL will continue to dominate MLB with true competitive balance. Anybody really think Texas or San Fran is going to return to the Fall Classic?

      • bloodysock - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:18 PM

        Baseball has had nine different World Series champions in the past nine years.

        And look at the teams that have made the playoffs in those years, teams like Texas, Cincinnatti, Minnesota, San Francisco, Colorado, Arizona, Florida and Tampa Bay.

      • spidur - Feb 6, 2011 at 10:07 PM

        Craig. There have been 10 AFC teams in the last 10 Super Bowls, considering that there has to be one AFC team in every Super Bowl. I don’t even pay much attention to football anymore, but I do remember that. Nice try at the snark, though.

        Thank God spring training starts soon.

      • spidur - Feb 6, 2011 at 10:15 PM

        Aaaaaaaaaaaand the light goes on a few moments too late. Sigh. I’m off to reboot my brain…

      • paperlions - Feb 7, 2011 at 8:46 AM

        Nice cherry picking Craig, there have been 10 different NFC teams go to the SB the last 10 years.
        .
        But that is irrelevant, the parity issue should be discussed within the context of opportunity to compete, not within the context of results (especially something that represents a small percentage of results (i.e. those appearing in championship games/series).
        .
        MLB has a heavily unbalanced economic model that gives some teams a great advantage over others, regardless of their baseball smarts/luck/decisions. Dominance in MLB is money driven, dominance in the NFL is competency driven.

    • cktai - Feb 7, 2011 at 7:49 AM

      How does this match-up show parity compared to the MLB?

      In the 50 years prior to the 2010 season:
      Texas and SF combined for 0 world series and 4 pennants
      Green Bay and Pittsburgh combined for 13 NFL championships/super bowls and 17 conference championships

  6. fuggles7 - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    I have it Steelers 31, Packers 17 (But I haven’t really watched a full game in years now and likely won’t this one).

  7. bloodysock - Feb 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Packers 28, Steelers 24.

    Best thing about this game is that it ends the NFL season and it means baseball is right around the corner.

  8. florida76 - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    bloodysock,

    Of all the teams you mentioned, only San Fran, Florida, and Arizona won it all. Since then, the Marlins and D-backs have faltered, unable to sustain success. Minnesota has been a consistent winner, but not a serious threat.

    Again, long term serious contention by smaller markets is the real key. Check the TV ratings from the early 90s Fall Classics as compared with today.

    • Reflex - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:52 AM

      What is this business of requiring long term competitiveness by small market teams, then turning around and requiring parity? Its one or the other. Parity would mean that any team on any given year has a shot at being competitive. That means you do not get dynasties, whether they are small market or large market. Parity does not exist in a league where the Packers, Steelers or Patriots are competitive year in and year out. The size of the market is irrelevant to parity.

      Parity is best defined by how many teams have a legit shot at making the playoffs(I do not mean how many slots are available, I mean how many teams have a legit chance of making those slots). That can be measured over time by determining how many teams make those slots.

      At the end off the day, more different teams make the playoffs in baseball over almost any given period. More cities have hope of actually seeing their teams play some playoff or world series games in baseball than in football. And baseball produces more world series teams and winners than football produces with the superbowl.

      Are some franchises hopeless? Of course. But thats an indictment of the management of those franchises. And every league has franchises like that.

      • florida76 - Feb 7, 2011 at 5:58 PM

        The problem with your argument is that the NFL has a superior economic system, so if the Lions are bad for years, it’s management is to blame. MLB is unique in the vast differences in payroll, and it has contributed to the declining popularity of the sport in general. Having a one shot wonder like the Brewers making the playoffs, or a miracle run by the Dbacks, doesn’t prove anything about parity. At the end of the day, smaller markets in baseball have a tiny window of opportunity, and that’s wrong. This idea that a big market should hog more revenue just because of size is moronic.

        In the NFL smaller markets have a fair chance to retain talent because of the system, which has been for the good of the league. How many people in New York actually bothered to watch the WS last year? Very few, because the Yankees weren’t involved. Now contrast that with the blockbuster ratings for yesterday’s super bowl. New York viewers were all over the super bowl because it’s the NFL, and market size is irrelevant.

        I’m floored anyone can say MLB has a decent system when teams like the Rays have to let go of players, and that’s been going on for many years. Just ask the Marlins.

      • Reflex - Feb 7, 2011 at 7:45 PM

        Simply asserting that the NFL model is a superior economic system does not make it so. You are correct that its superior for the owners, who get to retain a larger portion of the league income. They certainly enjoy its economic benefits, especially in smaller markets. However for for the players, its a catastrophe.

        All that aside, you still are talking about two things which are not mutually compatible. You say that having one shot wonders like the Brewers or the Dbacks does not prove parity. Actually, however, that is exactly what parity achieves, unexpected winners in any given year, usually several of them. If the Brewers and Dbacks were consistantly great, year in and year out, then they would be dynasties, and they themselves would be the argument proving that baseball had no parity.

        In any given season, around half the league has to have a losing record, and half the league a winning record. While some teams are consistant losers, such as the Pirates, and some are consistant winners, such as the Yankees, that is no different than the NFL(Lions/Patriots). The vast majority of teams go through cycles where they are competitive, and cycles where they are rebuilding, just as they do in the NFL.

        At the end of the day, however, what counts most is results. Baseball since 1992 has sent more teams to the playoffs despite fewer playoff positions than the NFL. Baseball has had one fewer World Series champion(12) than the NFL has with the Superbowl(13), despite playing two fewer World Series in that time(94 was cancelled, and 2011 has not been played). I do not claim that baseball has perfect parity, in fact it does not, however its producing a larger variety of winning teams and championship teams than the NFL is, so clearly something is working right, and in fact working better than the NFL’s model.

        And finally, the NFL model where smaller markets have a fair chance to retain talent due to franchise tags and the like is something I find absolutely disgusting. This is accomplished by destroying a player’s ability to market their skills for full value. They have to destroy their bodies and careers at the beck and call of billionaire owners without the right to change teams or get a better deal. The salary cap they labor under is completely unfair, and were it the case in any other American business, we would all be up in arms about such a ‘socialist’ system.

    • fivetoolmike - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      What do you mean Minnesota hasn’t been a serious threat? I’m pretty sure making the playoffs 6 out of the last 9 years makes you a serious threat.

      • florida76 - Feb 7, 2011 at 5:46 PM

        The Twins have been a consistent winner in recent years, although it’s easier to win divisions now than in the older format. No, the Twins haven’t been remotely a serious contender, they’ve been like the Royals in the postseason. In those six years, only once did Minnesota advance, and they were routed 4-1 that season. All told, the Twins are a miserable 1-6 in playoff series, with a poor 6-21 record.

        Until last year, the Twins also had a much smaller payroll, so we’ll see if they can show improvement to eventually become a serious contender.

  9. kiwicricket - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Pumping out great globs of ‘something’ all day indeed. Please don’t ever link PFT again Drew.

  10. The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Feb 6, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Jesus, Gleeman, how did you do that?

    • Innocent Bystander - Feb 6, 2011 at 11:36 PM

      2nd that. Nice work Gleeman.

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