Green Bay Packers football has never been merely a pastime in Wisconsin. Some refer to it as a religion, but the number of churches that schedule services around kickoff each Sunday indicates it's much more serious than that.
Still, some among us don't tune in live to Mike McCarthy's weekly press conferences, pore over Peter King's weekly Monday Morning Quarterback columns or rearrange our replica jerseys in numerical order.
Maybe you're one of these passive fans. You claim to love the Packers but couldn't name more than a few starters on the current team. You could fake your way through a Lambeau Leap but have no idea what Aaron Rodgers' championship-belt gesture looks like. You're more worried about what dish to prepare for a Super Bowl potluck than how the Packers defense is going to disrupt Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
This column is for you. It's an attempt to provide a few less-than-obvious talking points you can use when discussing the Super Bowl with the Packers fanatic in your life. Feel free to use these as crib notes over the weekend.
The zone-blitzing defenses
Much of the media attention is going to the game's two quarterbacks, but students of football strategy are excited about the two defensive units. Both employ the same strategy, developed by Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers and his Steelers counterpart, Dick LeBeau, when both were on Bill Cowher's staff in Pittsburgh in the early '90s.
The zone blitz is distinguished by rushing the quarterback with a defensive back (like Packers cornerback Charles Woodson) while dropping a defensive lineman (like tackle B.J. Raji) into pass coverage. The perfect result looks like Raji's fourth-quarter touchdown interception in the Packers win over Chicago in the NFC title game.
Keep your eye on B.J.
Raji's touchdown dance in Chicago got a lot of laughs a couple weeks ago, but don't let his portly 6'2", 340-pound frame deceive you. He's athletic and very quick. With Pittsburgh's starting center sidelined with an injury, expect Raji's #90 to show up in the Steelers backfield frequently on Sunday.
Packers postseason MVP: punter Tim Masthay
Masthay, who was born in Pittsburgh, was credited with helping limit Chicago's Devin Hester, one of the great returners of all time, to just 16 yards on three returns two weeks ago. Packers general manager Ted Thompson credited Masthay's performance for the win.
With both Super Bowl teams known for solid defense and efficient offense, field position will be a factor. Masthay's ability to pin the Steelers deep in their own territory could be the difference in a close game.
Ladies love Troy Polamalu
The Steelers safety, besides being named the NFL's defensive player of the year, was ranked in a recent CNBC report as number one in the sale of jerseys tailored for women. Polamalu is one of the game's most energetic players, often running sideline-to-sideline to make a tackle, his mane of black hair flying behind.
By the way, Aaron Rodgers ranks number four on the women's jersey list, a bump from seventh on the men's ranking.