With two of the NFL's most storied franchises squaring off on the gridiron Sunday, SI.com's Peter King says we could be in for one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time.
Super Bowl XLV has the potential to be historic for a number of reasons. It pits the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers against one another, the NFL's two longest-running single-city franchises and the two teams that are tied for the most NFL titles over the last 50 years with six apiece.
Sunday's game in Dallas also brings together two of the most fervent fan bases in all of pro football. King writes that Pittsburgh's and Green Bay's fans are as loyal, loud and dedicated as any fans he's seen since he began covering the NFL in 1984. They also travel to games unlike many others, and King expects both groups to be in full force with such a legendary matchup in store Sunday.
"The game could end up as one of the best Super Bowls ever," King writes. "That guarantees nothing, of course. But look at what will be on display Sunday: two of the top seven quarterbacks in football, two of the best young coaches, two of the best defensive coordinators (one who's in the Hall of Fame) of the generation, big defensive stars who may be bronzed in Canton one day. It's 60 hours before the game as I write this, and I can legitimately say I can't wait for kickoff."
King notes that both teams have an appreciation for the history of their franchises and realize what's at stake. Both teams have a chance to cement legacies, with the Steelers gunning for their third Super Bowl title in seven years and the Packers attempting to make the Brett Favre-to-Aaron Rodgers transition official by winning their first NFL title since 1996.
While we are still a few days away from the NFL's biggest game of the year, King writes fans should appreciate the buildup while there still is one.
"We might not see another (game) for a long time," he writes. "Savor what should be a great Super Bowl."
Here's what to watch Friday (all times Eastern):
Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics (8 p.m., ESPN)
Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks take their six-game winning streak to Boston to face the Celtics, who are 16-0 against the East at home, but just 6-3 vs. Western Conference opponents.
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Jazz have lost six straight road games and look to avoid their sixth consecutive loss without Deron Williams when they take on the Nuggets, winners of nine of their last 13.
By the numbers
3 – Separate fights in the first four seconds of the Boston Bruins' 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
4 – Boston Celtics named reserves to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. The quartet of All-Stars (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo) ties the record for most representatives from one team.
11 – Consecutive shots LeBron James hit to start Miami's 104-100 win over Orlando on Thursday. James finished with an NBA season-high 51 points, 23 of which came in the first quarter, tying a franchise record.