This weekend’s Super Bowl looks like a great matchup. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers have both been solid franchises however you look at it: through the decades, over recent years, and through this individual season. There’s nothing flukey about their success. The Steelers and Packers have lots of talented veteran players, they are well coached, and their ownership is stable and prudent.
On the other hand, neither one of them has been so dominant as to make the sport seem unfair or boring. They’ve had to earn their victories, and they’ve played some exciting, close-fought games to get to the championship.
The NFL does have its problems. The extent of injuries around the league, especially injuries to the head, is scary. And some players have allegedly been involved in antisocial behavior, which is upsetting. It would be better if they had more self-control and respect for others.
But when it comes to the game itself, it’s easy to get excited. Both teams play fundamentally sound football, without being dull about it. They can—and do—make big, dramatic plays, but they aren’t reckless or sloppy about it. And the defenses are disciplined and tough to crack.
Green Bay and Pittsburgh both inspire sincere passion in their fans. I was on a cruise ship this fall, and on a Sunday, I ran into a couple in the shipboard cafe who were dressed all in black and yellow and were carrying a Terrible Towel—just to watch the game on a television, far from home, in the middle of the sea. Packers fans love their team that much, too. It’s heartening to know that, either way, the NFL championship trophy will be brought home to fans who would have supported their team with all their hearts, even if it hadn’t won.
Both teams even have handsome, traditional uniforms. It should be a great game visually, before the ball is snapped.
I can’t guess which team will win. The Steelers might have played a tougher schedule, but the Packers were amazingly consistent—they never trailed by more than 7 points, all year. That’s unheard of. I hope the game itself lives up to the quality of the participants, and we can’t tell who’s going to be the champion till the very end.