Going into the Super Bowl, we always expect the Peyton Manning’s, Drew Brees’s, and Ben Roethlisberger’s of the football world to deliver moments to remember.But it doesn’t always work out that way. In recent years players like David Tyree, Kevin Dyson, and Adam Vinatieri have been involved in the most exciting plays of football’s biggest game.
There’s plenty of star power on both the Steelers and Packers, but we think these eight guys could prove to be game changers for their respective clubs, and just might produce the moments we’ll remember from Super Bowl XLV.
- Heath Miller, Steelers – To Steelers fans, “Heeeeeeeeeath” is an irreplaceable piece of the Pittsburgh offence. But nationwide, Miller doesn’t even enter into most conversations about the league’s best tight ends. His scoring is sporadic, but Roethlisberger trusts Miller as much as anyone. He’s the type of guy that could easily end up with a couple touchdowns on Sunday.
- Mike Wallace, Steelers – The speed demon is un-coverable at times, and with this game likely to be filled with passing, Wallace could rack up yards quickly. Hines Ward is more visible, but Wallace is the guy that makes the Steelers’ passing game so dangerous.
- LaMarr Woodley, Steelers – He’s overshadowed by James Harrison, Casey Hampton, and Troy Polamalu, but Woodley racked up 10 sacks this season and is a nightmare to block coming off the edge. The Steelers will need to find a way to rattle Aaron Rodgers, and Woodley is the guy that can make that happen.
- Ryan Clark, Steelers – Like Tracy Porter last year, Dexter Jackson in 2003, and Larry Brown in 1996, Clark is a defensive back that could alter momentum when it counts in Super Bowl XLV. If Rodgers is smart, he’ll stay far away from Polamalu. That should put Clark, who’s a ferocious hitter, in position to make some plays. Defensive backs frequently seem to steal the spotlight in the Super Bowl, and a monster Clark hit or interception could change the game on Sunday.
- John Kuhn, Packers – James Starks has drawn attention for reviving the Packers’ running game during the playoffs, but Kuhn is Green Bay’s most punishing back. You can’t run around the Steelers D, you have to run at them, and Kuhn isn’t afraid to do just that.
- Jordy Nelson, Packers – Green Bay has an embarrassment of weapons in the passing game, and on any given Sunday one of them could go off. Pittsburgh will work hard to take Greg Jennings and Donald Driver away, but the Steelers won’t be able to defend everyone. Nelson has drawn more looks from Rodgers in recent weeks and could be a big target Sunday.
- Tramon Williams, Packers – As we mentioned with Clark, defensive backs often have a huge impact on the Super Bowl. Williams has already come up with three huge interceptions during the playoffs and will likely be targeted early and often by Roethlisberger, who’ll be trying to avoid Charles Woodson. Williams seems to have big play ability in his blood.
- Tim Masthay, Packers – Rarely does a punter draw so much attention, but Masthay has been a big-time performer during the playoffs and could prove to be a game changer during Super Bowl XLV. The game could be a shootout like the last time these teams met in 2009, but their improved defenses suggest this might be more of a defensive struggle than many think. The field position battle could be huge, and Masthay has been a big weapon for Green Bay in that area during the playoffs.
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