Continuity, Consistency Are Staples Of Super Bowl Squads
What does it take to make it to the Super Bowl? This year's teams have more in common than you might think. Gritty, hard-working, history-laden, and adversity all mark the 2011 championship finalists. Here's some background on the teams of Super Bowl XLV.
DALLAS — Super Bowl XLV features two of America's small-town teams linked by unflinching resilience and patience.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers follow similar draft-first models, stockpiling young, cost-effective talent that allowed them to fend off potentially staggering injury blitzes this season.
Take that, big-market also-rans.
The Packers are led by the brain trust of general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy. Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin also used shrewd drafting and free agent restraint to reach Super Bowl Sunday.
Stocked deep to withstand inevitable tough times, the 13-6 Packers and 14-4 Steelers rose above at the drop of a dime or nickel back.
"Lombardi's teams were always adaptable, able to overcome adversity, and never used injuries as an excuse," David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY. "These Packers resemble the old Packers more than any Green Bay team since the 1960s.
"Lombardi would have loved coaching this team. Like Lombardi's Packers, they are primarily homegrown."
Though it sometimes seemed they were forced to change players as often as their shirts, Thompson and Colbert maintained championship expectations no matter the names on the jerseys. They're both built to last.
This is the fifth Super Bowl for the three-time champion Packers, the league's only community-owned franchise, founded in 1920 in Green Bay, Wis.
The Steelers were established in 1933 by "The Chief," Art Rooney. He passed the family business to son Dan Rooney, a Hall of Famer like his father, who was influential in four Super Bowl titles during the 1970s. The current U.S. Ambassador to Ireland anointed his son, Art II, as team president in 2002. The Rooneys run a model franchise beloved in the small city known as Da 'Burgh.
"Panic doesn't seem to work," Rooney II said. "Our feeling is that you pick good people and you try to stick with them. ... If you have the right people in place, you always have a chance to be successful."
The Steelers have collected a record six Lombardis and are chasing a third in six years