Despite playing the majority of their games in the often frigid confines… (Tony Gutierrez / Associated…)
Reporting from Dallas — The thermometer-cracking cold of North Texas might feel familiar to the Green Bay Packers, but they're perfectly happy in the climate-controlled confines of Cowboys Stadium.
And for good reason.
The Packers undeniably feel at home in domes, becoming the first team in NFL history to score 45 points or more in consecutive indoor appearances in the postseason. They lost at Arizona, 51-45, in the first round last season, and this season crushed top-seeded Atlanta, 48-21, in a divisional game at the Georgia Dome.
It's strange to say, seeing as the "frozen tundra" is their decades-long hallmark, but the pass-happy Packers are a fantastic indoor team.
"Obviously, everyone saw the game down in Atlanta and saw how we could perform," Green Bay receiver Jordy Nelson said. "We just feel comfortable. I think Aaron [Rodgers] feels real comfortable in domes. … There's no problem with the weather and environment. It's just a fast track, and we enjoy playing on it."
Rodgers has started 12 indoor games in his three years at the helm, and has thrown 26 touchdown passes, with five interceptions and a nosebleed-high 111.1 passer rating.
"I love it, man," Rodgers said. "It's kind of sacrilegious to say when you play in Green Bay, but I love playing indoors. I like the fact we've got a lot of speed on offense. If I can just get the ball to those guys [his receivers] and let them work."
Ben Roethlisberger said he had too much success and fame too soon as a young quarterback in Pittsburgh, and that it went to his head, perhaps leading to some of his off-field problems.
Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians wouldn't necessarily quibble with that assessment.
"I think that happens to a lot of these guys, the young kids who come in and have success," Arians said. "There's a sense of entitlement. That catchphrase is kind of going around in a lot of sports now, and I think it happens to all of us. Whether it's someone who writes a bestseller, you look at yourself different. You feel pretty good about yourself.
"It's the same thing as a coach. You win some ballgames, you feel pretty good about yourself. It's different when that success kind of becomes who you are, and you stray away from your family and your roots and everything.
"It takes a punch in the nose to get you back."
Before Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu was named the NFL's defensive player of the year this week, there was an initial wave of reports that the award was going to Green Bay's Clay Matthews.
The Packers linebacker said he got some congratulatory texts from friends before the actual winner was named.
"It was pretty comical," he said. "I got about 15 texts saying, 'Congratulations,' and then the follow-up 15 saying, 'Sorry that you lost.' It is what it is, bad reporting, whatever you want to call it."
But he added, "We have a great opportunity Sunday to win a team award."
Matthews also was asked about his experience as an intern at NFL Network, and he took the opportunity to playfully rib lead anchor Rich Eisen.
"Rich actually was very mean to me and demanded me around," joked the former USC star. "I regret my time with him and wish I could have that time back. I really was kind of the messenger boy. I would organize the refrigerator for them.
"Rich would have me throw out his spoiled food, and yell at me a few times if the order wasn't correct. It was a tough time I don't really like to look back on."
Here's a kick
One Packers fan who will be watching the Super Bowl with a little extra interest is National Soccer Hall of Famer Eric Wynalda, who even at 41 has dreams of being an NFL kicker.
How serious Wynalda is remains to be seen — he's as much a longshot as a 70-yard field goal — but there's no question he has a powerful leg. He scored the first goal in Major League Soccer history, finished his career as the second-leading scorer in U.S. Soccer history, and was named the Honda U.S. player of the decade for the 1990s.
Wynalda has been working with a kicking coach, and you can see his progress Sunday at 10 a.m. PST on Fox Soccer Channel's "Super Sunday+" show before the Super Bowl. The network will work up to Super Bowl XLV by first airing live the Chelsea-Liverpool match at 8 a.m.