Friday, November 17, 2017
Around the NFL 2/2/11
By Jason Lewis (Sports Editor)
Published February 2, 2011

The Green Bay Packers appear to be the favorites to win Super Bowl XLV, but James Harrison and the Pittsburgh Steelers show up for big games like this and they usually walk away as the winners.
AP Photo/Don Wright

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor

All signs point to Green Bay, but take Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers have won a combined nine Super Bowls and the two teams have 11 Super Bowl appearances between them.  The history of the NFL cannot be told without these two franchises, and for the first time they will be battling for the title against each other. 

Listening to a lot of the experts it is surprising that it appears that the Packers have already won Super Bowl XLV.  They are the hot team, have the hot quarterback, and a nasty front seven led by linebacker Clay Mathews, who finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. 

But the Steelers have been one of the top teams all season, they have a quarterback who finds a way to win, and they have a defensive front seven that’s nastier than the Packers.  And the Steelers have safety Troy Polamalu, who is the Defensive Play of the Year.

The Packers have cornerback Charles Woodson, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, and cornerback Tamon Williams is waiting for the ball to be thrown his way so he can have an easy interception. 

Really looking at this match up, this has defense all night written all over it. 

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been on fire in the post season, and playing in the doom at Texas Stadium will help him, but he will have to do it without a running game, because the Steelers have the fifth best run defense in NFL history. 

Having a one dimensional offense against the Steelers is not a good thing, because linebacker James Harrison, the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, will gladly take the fine for knocking Rodgers out.  And with Polamalu roaming the defensive backfield, Rodgers is going to have to be careful where he throws the ball. 

There has been a lot of attention given to the Steelers injured center Maurkice Pouncy, who is regarded as the Steelers best offensive lineman.  Losing Pouncy does hurt, but the Steelers played most of the AFC Championship Game without him and Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall still rushed for 121 yards against a tough New York Jets defense. 

All the pressure is going to be on Rodgers in this game, because he is going to have to produce points for the Packers.  That’s not the case for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  If the Steelers get a lead they’ll close the playbook down just like they did against the Jets.  The Steelers sat on the ball and ran the clock out while only attempting five second half passes in the AFC Championship Game.

The Steelers do not need a great game out of Roethlisberger to win, but the Packers are going to need a MVP performance out of Rodgers to take home the title.  

This Steelers team has championship experience, winning two Super Bowls since 2005.  

Michael Vick franchise tagged by the Eagles

Good news and bad news for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. 

The bad news is that Vick will not be getting the long term contract that he was looking for, but the good news is that he will be a starting quarterback against next season, and because he was franchise tagged, the Eagles have to pay him the average of the top five quarterbacks in the league. 

Vick made $5.25 million this past season, and it is estimated that he will make around $20 million next season. 

Not too bad for a guy who was nearly shut out of the NFL and was not expected to ever be a starter again. 

Chad Ochocinco changes his name back to Johnson

Out with “Ochocinco,” back with “Johnson.”
Photo by Jeff Lewis

Sports commentators and writers can rejoice.  No more saying or writing the name “Ochocinco!” 

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said that he will be changing his name back to Chad Johnson, his legal surname. 

Cecil Newton making waves in the NFL

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton cannot shake controversy, mostly because his father continues to bring it upon him. 

Cecil Newton has announced that his son Cam, who has declared for the NFL Draft after leading Auburn to the BCS championship, will workout in front of the media before the NFL combine, which is unheard of. 

There are reports that NFL scouts will not be present at this workout, only media. 
Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network recently reported that some teams are concerned about Cecil Newton’s involvement in his son’s career. Apart from the allegations that Cecil Newton sought payment in exchange for Cam’s selection of a Division I school, NFL teams generally don’t look favorably on, for example, a player’s dad calling up the coach and complaining that his son’s not getting enough game reps.

It’s great that Cecil Newton is a major influence in his son’s life, especially because many black kids do not grow up with their father. 

But if reports are correct, that teams may shy away from Cam Newton, then it may be time for Cecil to let go of his son’s athletic career.   


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