No, Louisvillians don’t have a vested interest in tomorrow’s gridiron grudge match, but who won’t be tuning in?
Either for the commercials, the halftime show, or the game itself, everyone has something to see in this Super Bowl. And both the Packers and Steelers have plenty of local support.
The Packers have long been a favorite in the Derby City, going back to the Golden Boy, Paul Hornung. Born and raised here, Hornung won the Heisman Trophy before a Hall of Fame career in Green Bay. The Louisville Sports Commission this year gave out the first Paul Hornung Award, to Stanford’s Owen Marecic. Perhaps only Muhammad Ali is a better-known local icon than Hornung.
Louisville’s love affair with the Packers continued in 2008, when Green Bay drafted quarterback Brian Brohm of U of L. Though Brohm never played a down for the Pack and finished this season with Buffalo, you can still see green-and-yellow Brohm jerseys around town. Center Jason Spitz is the only ex-Card on the current Packers roster, though he hasn’t played much this year. He played every offensive snap in 2008. Punter Tim Masthay, of Murray and UK, is the only other Kentucky connection for the Packers.
Packers fans looking for the most Lambeau-like environment should head to Dutch’s Tavern in St. Matthews. This dive bar, open since 1929, is known city-wide as the place to go for faithful cheeseheads. If you’re going on Sunday, arrive early.
The Louisville Chapter of Steeler Nation meets regularly at R Place Pub in Lyndon. The Steeler regulars are known to tailgate before the game in the bar’s parking lot, and one fan even sells Steeler gear at the games. Former defensive standout William Gay is the only former Card who will line up with Pittsburgh tomorrow. Gay started just four times this season.
This Super Bowl is a great match-up of traditional powers and I expect an absolute shootout. As usual, the broadcast will feature some funny commercials. The Black Eyed Peas are a breath of fresh air for the halftime show, ending the NFL’s tradition of borrowing classic rock bands from nursing homes to perform.
The game may come down to how well Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers does in his first SB start, facing the intimidating Pittsburgh defense led by Troy Polamalu. Rodgers has enjoyed a standout post-season, but the Steelers’ defense may be the league’s best.
I’ll take the Steelers over the Packers, 32-21.