Since everyone else in the entire known universe is making a 2011 Super Bowl prediction, I figured, "Why not me?" For much of this season, I picked NFL scores by random number. OK, that didn't do too well. Then I tried picking playoff weekends with, you know, actual analysis, and would have done quite well if I hadn't actually forgotten to pick one of the wild card dates (seriously: I would have gone 3-1 that day, missing only the obvious choice; I picked the Saints over the Seahawks, like everyone else).
Then I picked the Bears to beat the Packers. Well, what Bears fan didn't? (Yeah, I know. A realistic one.)
So instead of any of the above, let's take a look at the cities of Green Bay and Pittsburgh themselves. Which has things that are better than the other? Will that have anything to do with who wins the game? Of course it won't. But it's a fun thing to do -- and then I'll make my pick based on ... well, at least some sort of football reality.
POPULATION: Despite the fact that the 2010 Census was completed a year ago, there doesn't seem to be any published information on the web. The 2006 estimate of Green Bay's population was 100,353. Pittsburgh had 311,647 people in the city itself as of 2009 -- not that much larger than Green Bay -- but the entire Pittsburgh metro area had approximately 2,354,957 people that year. Even if you added the population of metro Milwaukee (1,739,497, a lot of them Packers fans) to Green Bay's total, it wouldn't eclipse Pittsburgh. ADVANTAGE: Pittsburgh.
FOOD AND DRINK: Green Bay and Wisconsin are known for excellent cheese. But it's beer that defines both cities. The brew of choice in Pittsburgh is Iron City. That beer is given largely awful reviews by readers of beeradvocate.com. Meanwhile, Green Bay is home to a large number of microbrews that generally get excellent reviews. In addition, one of those beers was chosen to be the beer at the Super Bowl party at the White House. ADVANTAGE: Green Bay (and no comments, please, on the relative inebriation of the two teams' fans).
SKYLINE: Green Bay's tallest building -- no joke -- is the pumping station for the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District; it's 15 stories tall. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has one of the most scenic skylines in America (Chicago's, of course, is still better). ADVANTAGE: Pittsburgh
STADIUM: Pittsburgh has a stadium with yellow seats named after a ketchup. Green Bay has a stadium with yellow seats that's named after a Hall of Fame football coach. ADVANTAGE: Green Bay
QUARTERBACK BEARD: Both Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers have gone the NHL route and grown impressive playoff beards. ADVANTAGE: Even
STATE: Pennsylvania is one of the original 13 states, home to two major cities, scenic forests and mountains, and much industry. Wisconsin is... north of Illinois (and its residents have a colorful acronym for those of us from Illinois, despite the fact that we drop millions of tourist dollars in Wisconsin every year). ADVANTAGE: Pennsylvania, and thus, Pittsburgh
BUSINESS: Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune 500 companies: PNC Financial Services, PPG Industries, U.S. Steel, H. J. Heinz Company, Mylan Laboratories, WESCO International, CONSOL Energy, and Dick's Sporting Goods. According to Wikipedia, the ninth-largest employer in Green Bay is... the Packers. ADVANTAGE: Pittsburgh
WEATHER: It snows a lot in Green Bay. But then, it snows a lot in Pittsburgh, too. Average seasonal snowfall in Green Bay is 55.4 inches. Average seasonal snowfall in Pittsburgh: 43 inches. ADVANTAGE: Well, that depends on whether you like a lot of snow or not. Me, I'd rather do without it, especially after this week's blizzard in Chicago. Thus, advantage Pittsburgh.
And with all that, the bottom line is: no self-respecting Bears fan could pick the Packers to win a Super Bowl. Both teams are solid and the Packers have won four straight elimination games -- but I'm going with Pittsburgh. Steelers 28, Packers 27