This Sunday's Super Bowl features the team of the 1960's, the Green Bay Packers, vs. the team of the 70's, the Pittsburgh Steelers. But if Pittsburgh takes home the Vince Lombardi trophy come Sunday night, they need to be recognized as the most powerful NFL franchise going, since it would their third championship in the past six years (whereas the New England Patriots, the team of the aughts, hasn't won anything since January of 2005).
These two classic franchises are two of the most popular clubs in the country, and have big followings in the Tampa Bay area. According to Harris Interactive, the Packers are America's third favorite team, the Steelers the 4th (Dallas and Indianapolis are 1 & 2).
Although the quarterbacks get all the attention (and we're partial a bit to fellow Northern Californian Aaron Rodgers - and the discussion of a lovefest between former rivals Ben Rothlisberger and Terry Bradshaw does nothing for me), the real star power in this game is all on defensive side of the ball, where Packer fans are still smarting that Steeler ace Safety Troy Polamalu edged out Packer linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. for NFL Defensive Player of the Year award (both USC grads). Then again, I'm inclined to believe that for all the spectacular plays the long-haired Steeler makes, the better defensive players for the Steelers are James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
Okay, what else do we need to know about the game, played in a toasty domed field in Arlington, Texas with Fox Joe Buck and Troy Aikman doing the broadcasting? Well, you do have the much hyped Bill O'Reilly-Barack Obama interview scheduled. And the Black Eyed Peas playing at halftime. And of course, all those ads for the non-hardcore fan.
But the underlying narrative that the national sporting media in Dallas is focusing on is what happens after Sunday night, and the fact that this could be the last football game for a long time - longer than the 7 month interregnum that always take place before the pre-season begins again. That is the fact that the NFL owners are probably going to lock the players out of all team facilities on March 4 unless a new labor agreement is reached, which seems extremely doubtful if you read about the issues that divide the two sides.