It’s only fitting the Dallas Cowboys have their hands all over the Steelers-Packers Super Bowl XLV. There seems to be one friend in every group that ends up getting the party forced upon him or her at their house. The NFL’s friend would be Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, but he’ll be charging a lot more than $5 for access to the keg in the backyard and he was never exactly forced into throwing his Super Bowl party.
This season was touted as the first time an NFL team had a legitimate shot at hosting a Super Bowl. The Cowboys had the talent on paper, their first playoff victory in over a decade after the 2009 season under their belts and a world-class palace to call home.
Not only did the Cowboys fail to land home-field advantage for the Super Bowl, they just flat out failed in 2010. They lost their starting quarterback to a broken collar bone, they lost their head coach after a 1-7 start to the regular season and they were all but eliminated from playoff contention by Halloween.
Now for the salt rubbed in the wound, or more fittingly the green, yellow and black salt that will pour into the shell of Mr. Jones’ snail that will accommodate 100,000 plus fans on Feb. 6.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the New York Jets 24-19 Sunday to earn their eighth Super Bowl berth (tied for most Super Bowl appearances with the Cowboys).
Head-to-head in Super Bowls against Dallas, the Steelers are 2-1 (winning in ’76 and ’79), while Dallas defeated Pittsburgh in ’96 for their fifth and last world championship.
The Steelers-Cowboys rivalry is cold as steel and as heated as a blistering Texas day in August. The vaunted Steelers Steel Curtain defense pitted against Dallas’ Doomsday Defense; The Cowboys’ Roger “the dodger’ Staubach head-to-head against Terry Bradshaw; some may even argue it was hero versus villain to many Americans: Cowboys vs. Steelers.
There aren’t two more polar opposite franchises with two more polar opposite fan bases. Jones lives and breathes his franchise with an unmatched passion. In stark comparison, the Rooney family, owners of the Steelers, are hands off with the Steelers’ players and personnel decisions. The Rooney approach seems to be winning out. The Steelers are winning the Super Bowl war (six rings to Dallas’ five), and Pittsburgh can dig that hole a little deeper with a seventh world championship. All while getting under the skin of anyone who follows America’s Team.
The Super Bowl XLV match up stings even more when the Packers earned the NFC’s Super Bowl berth after defeating Chicago 21-14 to reach their fifth Super Bowl in franchise history. The Packers have three Super Bowl wins under the belt, but 12 total NFL championships. It’s a coin-toss between the Packers and San Francisco 49ers for the most bitter Cowboys nondivisional NFC rivalry. The 1967 NFL Championship game was a 21-17 Green Bay victory over the Cowboys at Lambeau Field. That game is still the coldest game recorded in NFL history. The “Ice Bowl” game-time temperatures were minus 15 degrees (minus 36 degrees with wind chill). Hall of fame coaches Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi stared each other down on opposing sidelines. Thirteen Hall of Famers were represented in the game. As one of the greatest games in NFL history, be sure to hit the record button next time ESPN Classic lists the game on its weekly schedule.
But, as Randy Galloway noted in his Star-Telegram column Sunday, when it comes to dollars and cents, Mr. Jones wins, even if he loses out on who he actually gets to host Feb. 6. Steeler and Packer nation will fill Jones’ billion-dollar house, they will fill the hotels, restaurants and bars. And while the “Boys won’t be playing in the game itself, the Cowboys will undoubtably be the hovering back-up talking point on radio and broadcast. After all, with the history the Cowboys share with both Pittsburgh and Green Bay, its only fitting the Cowboys host Super Bowl XLV.
Ryne Sulier is a senior news-editorial journalism and political science major from Plano.