Steelers' defensive stars have quiet nights

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ARLINGTON, Texas --- Troy Polamalu whiffed on a tackle. James Harrison was nearly invisible.

Not the way the Pittsburgh Steelers drew this up.

Pittsburgh's big-play, hard-hitting defensive leaders were nowhere to be found when the Steelers needed them most as Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay's offense led the Packers to a 31-25 victory Sunday night.

Polamalu was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but was anything but the impact player who helped get the Steelers to this point. He had a chance to make a big play early, but delivered only a glancing blow on James Starks.

Polamalu delivered his biggest hit the very next play -- as Greg Jennings caught a 21-yard touchdown pass.

Harrison had a sack, but made most of his noise with his mouth during the week while criticizing the NFL. He might not have much to say after this performance, though.

Dick LeBeau 's defense was one of the strengths all season for the Steelers, who have a long legacy of punishers -- The Steel Curtain among them -- who helped bring six previous titles to Pittsburgh. This team expected to do the same, with Polamalu and Harrison leading the way, as they so often have during the last few seasons.

But Polamalu finished with three not-so-memorable tackles, while Harrison had only the sack of Rodgers in the third quarter and a few quarterback hits.

MEET THE TEAMS: A few hours before the Super Bowl inside cavernous Cowboys Stadium, actor Owen Wilson displayed a few nifty moves, eluding a "defender" and catching a pass in the end zone, then spiking the ball over his shoulder.

Asked who he was picking, Wilson said he liked the Steelers: "I have the Steelers in my pool," he said to cheers, followed by some boos from the sparse crowd beginning to filled the stadium. "But I can see the Packers winning, too."

Singer Sheila E was mostly booed for picking the Packers.

TOWELS OR CHEESE: Brothers Charles and Steven Friedman had a bit of a social experiment going on outside Cowboys Stadium before kickoff. The souvenir sellers were hawking Terrible Towels at one side of the table, foam cheeseheads on the other.

Which are the hotter items?

"Terrible Towels, by far," Charles said. "I stopped counting the cases a while ago."

But maybe this wasn't a fair fight.

The towels -- easy to carry, fold into a suitcase and wave in the stands -- were going for $15 a piece. The cheeseheads -- bulky foam that must be worn on the head for best effect -- were double that price.

The brothers were donating part of the proceeds to charity.

NO HARD FEELINGS: Former Patriots and Jets running back Curtis Martin was among the nominees who were not elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He praised those who were selected Saturday night.

"If I were a part of the (voting) committee, I can't say that I would have voted any differently. I'm not being modest at all, but I truly don't feel that there's anyone in this year's class that I should have bested in the voting process," Martin said.


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