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Packers and Steelers draw on their rich history

By Simon Evans

DALLAS (Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers bring rich histories with them to Sunday's Super Bowl and the players say they feel that past every day.

The Packers have won a record 12 NFL titles, nine before the first Super Bowl was played in 1967.

Under renowned coach Vince Lombardi, for whom the championship trophy is named, Green Bay won the first two Super Bowls, then won a third at the end of the 1996 season.

The Steelers have won the Super Bowl six times, more than any other franchise, claiming the title four times from 1974-79 with a revered defense known as the 'Steel Curtain'.

This Pittsburgh team is chasing its third win in six seasons and head coach Mike Tomlin, who was in charge for their last win two years ago, says he has learned a lot from looking back.

"Studying history is the window to the future, particularly when you talk about football and this organization that I happen to be a part of," he told Reuters on Tuesday.

"You can learn so many lessons formally and informally from the experiences of those that have come before us, particularly the 1970s Steelers.

"One of the things that I enjoy most about my job is that many of those guys live in town and I count them as friends.

"We get together informally and they educate me about their experiences and it always provides me with a little insight, things that I can apply to situations or circumstances that I face."

It is a similar story for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who says it is impossible to avoid the sense of history when training in Green Bay.

"Any time you walk into the hallways just to get to the locker room, we walk past our championship banners, you see it every day. I do appreciate the history," said Rodgers.

"The great thing about Green Bay is that it is a family, all the old players all come back and I have had the opportunity to meet a number of them.

"Bart Starr, the late Max McGee, Paul Hornung, 'Fuzzy' Thurston, Jerry Kramer and also the guys from the 1996 Super Bowl -- it's a big family," he said.

The Packers are owned by their fans and that, along with the glory years from the Lombardi era, have created a town with a particularly intense sense of pride.

Offensive tackle Chad Clifton said that pride is evident on a daily basis.

"I've been in Green Bay for eleven years," he said. "It's all around us. We have the trophies, we have the photos that are up in the hallways.

"So when you just look at the players that have come through, the talent and the tradition - it's something special".

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)

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