The history between these franchises goes back to their first matchup in 1933. The Steelers have won seven of their past nine meetings, including an epic 2009 37-36 victory at Heinz Field. In that affair, quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger combined for 886 passing yards. The Packers scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, but Roethlisberger's 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on the final play accounted for the Steelers' victory. We should all be so blessed to have a Super Bowl like that. For what it's worth, the Packers have opened as 2-point favorites.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy was born and raised in Greenfield, a Pittsburgh neighborhood close to downtown, and proudly carries its tough-guy persona. His father, Joe, was a longtime policeman and firefighter in the area and I'm guessing there will be at least a few extra Packers fans this week in Pittsburgh. McCarthy isn't the only Packers coach with deep Pittsburgh ties. Capers was the Steelers' defensive coordinator from 1992 to 1994, performing well enough to earn his first head-coaching job with Carolina in 1995. More than 15 years later, Capers is still one of the best defensive minds in the game. Much of Capers' philosophy stems from his days in Pittsburgh, and two of his assistants -- outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene and safeties coach Darren Perry -- played there. In Sunday's NFC Championship Game, Capers surprised the Bears by opening with a one-safety look that essentially allowed Charles Woodson to serve as a hybrid safety/cornerback. More on that Monday.
On a lighter note, as ESPN's Erin Andrews and others have already pointed out on Twitter, this game could be called the "Hair Bowl." When was the last haircut for Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, or Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk? Heck if I know. I sense a serious marketing campaign already in motion here.