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Eight Off-the-Wall Super Bowl XLV Predictions

Neon Tommy Sports Staff |
February 4, 2011 | 2:14 a.m. PST

Steelers fans will trump the Cheeseheads on Sunday. (Creative Commons)
Steelers fans will trump the Cheeseheads on Sunday. (Creative Commons)
With Super Bowl Sunday right around the corner, everyone's talking about who's going to win: Steelers or Packers? But the Super Bowl is about more than that. It's a spectacle, and with the spectacle comes a lot of speculation.

Who's going to be MVP? Who's going to score the first touchdown? Which coach will stuff the challenge flag furthest up his pant leg?

It's endless fun, and we like talking about it.

So, without further ado, here are eight off-the-wall Super Bowl predictions from the Neon Tommy sports staff.

Best fan accessory (a.k.a. which fans will show up loudest and proudest?):

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. On Sunday, two iconic football entities will go head to head. I give you: The Super Fan Accessory Bowl. 

No Steelers fans can truly claim devotion unless they’ve swaddled their newborn baby in a Terrible Towel.  At Packers games, Cheesehead Hats are as ubiquitous as Reggie White jerseys.  The Towel and the Hat have become the most recognizable fan “props” in professional sport (with apologies to the vuvuzela). But in this showdown of accessories, Terrible Towels and the fans who wave them will triumph. 

Steeler Nation is, well, a nation, and should surpass Packer Faithful in sheer number. While Green Bay aficionados have a whole lotta heart, they’ll lack the loud, confident cheers that come with being fans of the winningest team in Super Bowl history. 

Don’t be the surprised if all that towel waving creates a tornado and carries Cowboys Stadium away. 

Final Score: Terrible Towel 1, Cheeseheads 0.

- Kate Rooney

Best defensive player:

On a field that will showcase the last three NFL Defensive Players of the Year, 2009 DPOY Charles Woodson will be the best of the best.  Woodson, a Heisman Trophy winner while at the University of Michigan, has veteran savvy and the instincts to make big plays in critical moments (look at the 2002 AFC Divisional Playoff game, now known as the “Tuck Rule game,” for further proof). 

Whether it’s locking down Hines Ward or pressuring Ben Roethlisberger on a corner blitz, Woodson will be a key factor if the Packers win.

- Eric Watkins

Best hair:

When you think of long, luscious and golden, only one name comes to mind: Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers. Matthews’ hair looks as though it has been kissed by a ray of sunshine and at any given moment a sugar plum fairy can be seen cascading down it. In a word: breathtaking.

Troy Polamalu brings something else to the table. His hair is fierce, intense, powerful. Just like Pittsburgh’s steel curtain defense, Polamalu’s hair is in your face. It commands attention.

His helmet is no match for the long, dark curls often seen flowing in the wind as he runs to sack a quarterback.

Based on sheer volume alone, Polamalu’s mane will undoubtedly be the main event during the Super Bowl telecast.

- Sara Ramsey

Which star will be shut down?:

It happens every Super Bowl.  There is one star player whose shine is dulled, a guy who may as well not have showed up to the game in the first place. 

The last time the Packers and Steelers met, in 2009, the Steelers won with a lot of offense, a lot of defense and a dramatic last-second Mike Wallace touchdown.  All the Steelers stars made key contributions that day, save one: Rashard Mendenhall.  The Packers defense held the tailback to a mere 38 yards.

Not much has changed since then.

The names on the jerseys of the Packer defensive line?  Almost all the same.  Mendenhall’s stats on the season?  Practically identical.

What is different is the way those same ol' Packers are coming together to play. B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Howard Greene have combined this postseason to create an impenetrable wall.  Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews have proved time and again they can tackle anyone.  All told, the Packers have allowed just six rushing touchdowns this year. 

Add to the mix the fact that Mendenhall is far less effective indoors and on artificial grass, the conditions in which he'll be playing at Cowboys Stadium, and you’ve got a recipe for a shutdown. 

- Kate Rooney

Worst musical performance:

Christina Aguilera’s version of the National Anthem is sure to drag out an extra hour simply because of her runs and a 35-minute note hold on the word, “brave." Lea Michele will finally perform as a 24-year-old instead of a Gleeked-out high school student with her rendition of “America the Beautiful." And then there’s the Black Eyed Peas...

After last year's embarrassing performance by The Who, Super Bowl XLV is clearly going as far in the other direction as possible. Unfortunately, that other direction consists of repetitive over-played Top 40 beats that 75 percent of the viewers won’t know. 
No matter how long Christina and Lea drag out their notes, nothing can compete with a halftime show consisting of the hyper-techno version of Dirty Dancing's “Time of My Life."  Somehow, I don’t think the majority of the viewers will find “The Time: Dirty Bit” quite as catchy as the original that was accompanied by Patrick Swayze’s dance moves. I gotta feelin’ this performance is destined to fail…mazel tov.

- Jessica Benson

Best (and worst) Super Bowl commercial:

As much anticipation as there is for the Super Bowl, there's just as much speculation about the commercial that's going to top the rest.

My prediction is that the best Super Bowl ad will come from Doritos. They always come out strong, and with their Crash the Super Bowl contest, the fans are in control. Other companies are doing contests where viewers create and submit ads, but Doritos surpasses the competition with almost 2 million views already. Whatever ad they pick will be a winner on Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s difficult to choose the best Super Bowl commercial, but picking the worst one isn’t much of a challenge.

The worst commercial will definitely be Kim Kardashian’s Skechers Shape-Up ad -- one of those $3 million dollar ads in a 30-second spot. Kim revealed earlier this week that the ad will be provocative and she will have to break someone’s heart again.

For her sake let’s hope this commercial is more successful than her love life.

- Devin Altschul

Over/under on Brett Favre references: 2.5

The best Super Bowl prop bet this season has to be the over/under on Brett Favre references. The most referenced player in the league over the last three years, Favre's name is as synonomous with pro football as the term pigskin. Whether it be retiring and un-retiring or sending sweet picture messages and stammering voice mails, Favre has done everything possible to stay in the spotlight.

Despite a terrible season this year, Favre will be the most referenced quarterback not to be playing in Sunday's game. But will he get mentioned more than 2.5 times by the TV announcers?

Bet on it. That's what I would do at least. Favre's name is mentioned 45 times in South African net ball. Well that's what I figure at least. I had to stop watching this past summer while I was in South Africa, particularly for fear of hearing Favre's name.

With the Packers and Favre's successor playing, you know the FOX announcers are just salivating about using the word "Favre."

- Shotgun Spratling

And, of course...

Official prediction: Pittsburgh 20, Green Bay 17

For all of the talk about the two solid quarterbacks in this game, the fact that the Steelers and Packers had the top two scoring defenses and sacking defenses in the NFL shouldn’t be overlooked.

Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu won the Defensive Player of the Year Award by just two votes over Green Bay’s Clay Matthews. Both teams feature a top 10 pass defense in yards per attempt and takeaways. Even in the ideal conditions of Cowboys Stadium, it will still be a defensive game on both sides.

The difference in the game will be the Steelers’ ability to exploit the Packers’ below-average run defense. Despite an injury-plagued Pittsburgh offensive line, Rashard Mendenhall has been dependable on the ground and Ben Roethlisberger has displayed a tremendous ability to make plays scrambling and on the run. His big-game experience will guide the Steelers to their seventh Super Bowl victory.

- James Santelli



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