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Super Bowl 2011 forecast: 60 minutes of chaos

Super Bowl 2011 features two defenses unrivaled at creating havoc and two quarterbacks uniquely equipped to handle it.

By / Staff writer / February 5, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Patrick Bailey (No. 55) tackles Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (No. 87) during a 2009 NFL football game. The teams meet again for Super Bowl XLV on Sunday.

Mike Fabus/AP/File

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In Super Bowl XLV, there will almost certainly come a moment when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks out over the Pittsburgh Steelers defense and is utterly bewildered.

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Equally certain, there will come a play when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger drops back to pass only to find that everything he had planned to do has gone completely and spectacularly wrong.

And that is when things will get fun.

Yes, Rodgers and Roethlisberger will have the customary numbers on their jerseys on Feb. 6 in Dallas. But in truth, what will really be on their backs are giant red X's, because they will be the targets of perhaps the two fiercest and most confusing defenses in pro football.

The Super Bowl forecast: 60 minutes of chaos.

Lining up against each other are two teams that are each the image of the other. The Packers and Steelers are franchises as storied as any in the National Football League, boasting defenses almost diabolical in their design – complex equations of hurtling men that quarterbacks must decipher in the space of a "Jeopardy!" click or risk a helmetful of snarling man flesh. For even the best quarterbacks, it can be duck-and-cover football.

Yet in Rodgers and Roethlisberger, the Packers and Steelers have the ideal antidotes to the very havoc that their defenses are so adept at creating. They are Houdinis in shoulder pads, masters of improvisation who are at their best when everything is at its worst.

It is a recipe for engrossing football, with most snaps of the ball poised between glory and catastrophe, and the small matter of a Super Bowl title at stake.

"Both teams are high risk, high reward," says Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News. "Sometimes we'll see a big loss; sometimes we'll see a great escape."

The parallels between the teams border on the eerie. The Packers have won the most NFL championships. The Steelers have won the most Super Bowls. The Packers were the team of the 1960s. The Steelers were the team of the 1970s. Both embody the character of the towns they represent in the Rust Belt – the cradle of pro football.

Indeed, both inspire almost unrivaled devotion among their fans, meaning that, for the first time in recent memory, the Super Bowl could have the feel of an actual football game – not just an excuse for expensive beer commercials and a half-time show.

"No two fan bases travel better than these two," says Eli Kaberon of Pro Football Weekly.

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