DALLAS -- Speed kills, unless, of course, you're talking about playing football on artificial turf. We asked our experts which team in Super Bowl XLV they thought was better equipped to take advantage of the fast track in Cowboys Stadium. We haven't seen this big of a rout since, well, the first half of Sunday's Pro Bowl:
Gil Brandt: Steelers built for power
The Packers are better equipped because they have a faster team; Pittsburgh is built more for power. Green Bay gets a slight edge because of its speed. It's interesting, however, to note that each team has one of the fastest five guys in the league in Mike Wallace (Steelers) and Sam Shields (Packers). Both young players ran 4.32-second pre-draft 40-yard dashes in the last two years.
Vic Carucci: Rodgers at best indoors
The Packers have demonstrated time and again that their offense is more explosive and effective indoors or in ideal weather conditions. That is mostly because Aaron Rodgers is a quarterback who clearly is at his best when he doesn't have to deal with the elements, which sounds strange when you're talking about someone who plays for Green Bay. But he is a California guy, and the Packers, with their highly talented group of receivers and attack-every-spot-of-the-field passing game, are built as more of a team that functions best when it doesn't have to deal with Mother Nature's wrath.
Elliot Harrison: Steelers struggle on turf
Speed is a funny thing ... sometimes it's a little overrated. How else can you explain Hines Ward, Jason Witten or Tony Gonzalez's production? That said, Greg Jennings and James Jones will have a decided speed advantage on this field vs. the weakest link of the Steelers defense, the corners. Clay Matthews has a great first step off the edge, so that could come into play as well. Although Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace will be the fastest guy on the field, the Steelers played four games on turf this year and struggled in all of them. Slight advantage: Green Bay.
Torry Holt: Advantage goes to Packers
The Packers are built for speed at all of the skill positions. The artificial turf gives their undersized defensive players an advantage in using their speed to get after the quarterback, as well as run man-for-man with receivers. Offensively, the Packers use five-receiver sets and also have multiple packages they can beat you with. The Packers already scare you with their speed; the fast track allows them to be that much faster.
Jason La Canfora: What happened in Atlanta?
The Packers have the best receiver group and secondary in the NFL, and there is no shortage of speed on either side of the ball. We all saw what this team did the last time it was in a dome situation -- it thrashed the Falcons in Atlanta -- and had the provocation been there they could have put up 50 that night. That won't happen to the Steelers, but this surface and environment bodes very well for Green Bay. The Steelers have guys who can run, too -- receivers Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders in particular -- but Wallace has been held in check in the postseason and Pittsburgh by and large wants to slow the pace some on Sunday.
Michael Lombardi: Fast track favors Packers
A fast track in football always favors the biggest team that can combine speed with quickness, which is exactly how the Packers have been built and why they played their best in perfect conditions in the Georgia Dome. On both sides of the ball, the Packers have players who can run fast, explode quickly and wear down their opponent. They should excel in Cowboys Stadium.
Steve Wyche: Green Bay gets slight edge
The Packers are built better offensively for playing indoors; the lack of weather should allow Aaron Rodgers and his receivers to take advantage of their athleticism. Tailback James Starks also is a cutback runner and playing indoors on turf always favors that style. That said, the Steelers' defense, especially the pass rushers, will also have a faster track to get after Rodgers and to close cutback lanes on Starks. Still, after seeing how Rodgers dissected Atlanta's speed-based, dome-friendly defense in the Georgia Dome, the Packers get the edge here -- a much slighter edge than it would appear at first glance.
Charles Davis: Packers are strong on this surface
I'm not a big believer that a certain "track" favors either team as they both have to play on the same surface. The team's speed will either increase or decrease at the same rate, marginalizing any difference. That being said, I like Green Bay on this surface. The Packers are built to throw the ball, featuring 3-4 receivers on most plays with an elusive Aaron Rodgers in the pocket. Defensively, the Packers are more predicated on speed with the pass rush of Clay Matthews and the coverage skills of the secondary.
Solomon Wilcots: Packers win track meet
The Packers will be able to take greater advantage of the fast track, but not simply because of the speed of their receivers. The Steelers' young receivers are equally swift and fast. It's because of the age of the Steelers' defense, which has six starters who are at least 30 years old. The youth of the Packers' defense is much faster and much more capable of keeping pace with the Steelers' speedy wide receivers, and will only be helped by the surface.