Ten things I think I think unless Roger Goodell tells me not to think them:
1. For all the nonsense surrounding the Super Bowl, here’s the really great thing about it these days: There is no clear-cut favorite to win. I remember in 1995 being the lone sole trying to explain to anybody who would listen why the Chargers had a shot against the 49ers, if only because that might mean hope for a good game. 49-26. But as you’ll see in the predictions below, there is no clear-cut favorite between the Steelers and Packers. What’s the last stinker of a Super Bowl we had? Bears-Colts? By my count, five of the last seven have been competitive.
2. From the Huffington Post: “The guest list for President Barack Obama’s White House Super Bowl party includes entertainers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony as well as elected leaders from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.” It’s comforting J. Lo will have somewhere to watch. I was getting worried.
3. [Thought omitted by the commissioner.]
4. Just did a Google news search for “Super Bowl,” and had to scroll to the 10th result to find a story not related to the commercials. Sports fans and alternative hats live in harmony on Super Bowl Sunday.
5. On that note, clearly, no commercial will top Volkswagen’s entry.
6. No cheerleaders in the Super Bowl for the first time ever. There’s a Ben Roethlisberger witness protection remark in there somewhere.
7. Can you imagine the amount of Spygate history we’d be revising had the Patriots actually made the game? I think it’s literally beginning to make my ears bleed.
8. The Black Eyed Peas. Good lord. Puppy Bowl is going to have record-shattering ratings this year.
9. “Just stepped on Peter King by accident, he’s still under my desk.” – @TalesOfGoodell
10. Agreed. Let ’em play.
Super Bowl pick roundup
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Steelers 33, Packers 27. “With two of the smartest defensive minds in football and two of the best defenses in the game facing off Sunday in Texas, logic says this should be a 17-13 pitchers duel. I am not logical.”
Cold, Hard Football Facts: Steelers 24, Packers 21. “Simply put, we can’t bring ourselves to pick against Big Ben in a big game, and Pittsburgh’s top-ranked Defensive Hogs have been helping the Steelers win big games for a long time now. And, as we’ve pointed out many times in the past, teams who’ve topped our Defensive Hog Index since it was first established in 2007 have compiled a pretty impressive collection of Lombardi Trophies to date (the 2009 Saints were the one anomaly, but their outstanding pass defense made up for their mediocre showing on the Defensive Hog Index). In the end, we think the deadly combo of Roethlisberger and the big, bad Pittsburgh Defensive Hogs will be just a little too much for Rodgers and the Packers to overcome.”
ESPN.com staff: Thirty-one go with the Packers, 14 take the Steelers.
Ed Ryan, Globe staff: Packers. “We’re hearing a lot of talk about Super Bowl experience this week; in recent years, Pittsburgh has it and Green Bay does not. If a useless story line like this mattered, then why did the Saints win last year’s game over a more experienced Colts squad? And why did the Giants beat the Patriots three years ago? The experience that matters for Pittsburgh, and has to be worrisome for Green Bay, is the Steelers’ emergence from the more powerful AFC.”
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Packers 30, Steelers 24. “These are the top two scoring defenses in the league. Why do I think that it’s going to be a high-scoring game then? I just think these are two defenses that will do a good job against the run, which will put more on the quarterbacks. Look for Aaron Rodgers to have more success against the Steelers defense than Ben Roethlisberger does against the Packers defense. The difference in this game will be the offensive lines. The Packers play better than the Steelers up front. The Steelers line is likely without three projected starters from opening day. That shows up. Aaron Rodgers wins MVP with a 300-yard, two-touchdown game.”
CBS Sports.com staff: Three out of five pick the Packers.
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Steelers 27, Packers 24. ” The Packers have the better team. The Steelers have the better organization. Sometimes, it’s that simple. Talent has carried the Packers far, even though at almost too many times this year the talent hasn’t been able to deliver.”
Gregg Rosenthal, ProFootballTalk.com: Packers 35, Steelers 27. “This won’t be a defensive game, but the Packers defense should make enough plays in the fourth quarter to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.”
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Steelers 24, Packers 20. “Pittsburgh has 28 players who have appeared in a Super Bowl. Green Bay has two. I don’t know if that kind of disparity in experience means much, but it has to mean something. That alone made me predisposed to ignore the point spread and like an upset, but it wasn’t only that. I truly think the Steelers are a better all-around team, with better balance offensively and a slight edge on defense.”
USA Today staff: Seven out of eight pick the Packers.
Yahoo! sports staff: Two out of three pick the Packers.
Joe Namath: Steelers…I think.
Celebrities I’ve never heard of: Varies.
Terry Bradshaw: You have to ask?
We like: Packers 28, Steelers 24. . The head is saying, “Steelers” more and more as Sunday approaches, but we’ll stick with our preseason pick to win the Super Bowl.