Let's understand this up front: The Super Bowl is its own reward.
If your team gets there, you don't complain about the location (Detroit, 2005) or the anonymous opponent (Seattle, also 2005).
Anyone who would dismiss a Super Bowl appearance has no memory of the long, dark stretch from 1980-1994 when the Steelers were on the outside looking in.
People got spoiled in the 1970s and started to act like the Super Bowl was on the Steelers' schedule.
A few years of Cliff Stoudt and Tim Worley should have cured them of that, but you never know.
Every Super Bowl appearance should be savored.
That said, there's a minor flaw in this year's big game.
How can anyone be expected to work up a good hatred for the Green Bay Packers?
The Steelers were lucky enough to play the Dallas Cowboys in three of their seven Super Bowls.
Nothing stokes competitive fires like those silver helmets and the self-proclaimed label of "America's Team."
Owner Jerry Jones is a preening villain you could root against.
It was even fun to disparage their famous cheerleaders, with their frozen-in-time 1977 "Charlie's Angels" look. (Did you know that some airlines charge them extra fees because their hair is so big?)
The Philadelphia Eagles would have worked because of the cross-state thing. The New York Giants would have been fine, too, just because people like to hate New York.
But Green Bay?
It's a nice town in a nice state. Nice people there name their babies Clem and Myrtle.
Oakland Raiders fans dress like bikers; Packers fans wear plastic representations of cheese on their heads.
Cheese, glorious cheese. Except for the lactose intolerant, who doesn't love it? People will scrape it off the lid of the pizza box.
It has its own section in the supermarket. You can get it sliced, shredded or in chunks.
What is ham without swiss? How can you make a decent Italian hoagie without provolone? What's better after shoveling the snow than a grilled American cheese sandwich?
Speaking of shoveling, did you know Packers fans volunteer to clear out the stands at Lambeau Field after a big snow? They get a nominal $8 an hour, but it's not about the money. It's for the Packers.
If the Steelers weren't in this game, a lot of people would be rooting for the Packers. They're traditional in a league that isn't. The uniforms don't change, they play in the same stadium and they're owned by the community.
It's rarely warm in Green Bay, but it's always fuzzy. Fred "Fuzzy" Thurston, a lineman on the storied teams is still in Green Bay and owns a restaurant called - what else? - Fuzzy's.
Packers' games have been sold out since 1960. There's a legendary waiting list for season tickets. If you apply today, your great-grandchildren may someday get a call.
They love their team in Green Bay, just like we do here.
You want to win the Super Bowl, but you can't hate Green Bay.
Clem and Myrtle would be so hurt.
Mehno can be reached at: email@example.com