Packers top sloppy Steelers to take home 45th Lombardi Trophy

Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson carries the Vince Lombardi championship trophy off the field after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL’s Super Bowl XLV football game in Arlington, Texas, February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Here are five quick-hit observations from the Packers’ 31-25 victory over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

1. Aaron Rodgers, welcome to history.
I distinctly remember a few years ago when some Green Bay fans said that it was a mistake for GM Ted Thompson to choose Rodgers over Brett Favre. Hopefully those fans will happily eat a serving of crow after Sunday night because they were dead wrong. In a game where mistakes were aplenty, Rodgers made very few. He misfired on a few throws, but that’s just being nitpicky. For the most part, he was great and he would have been even better had guys like Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Brett Swain bothered to hang onto the ball. Mike McCarthy barely ran the ball in the second half, instead relying on Rodgers to win the game. After the Steelers took all the momentum in the third quarter, Rodgers stepped up and led the Packers on two huge scoring drives. On a night when he threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, I wonder how much better his numbers would have been had his receivers not dropped so many passes. He didn’t have the game of his career, but he was excellent nonetheless. He now joins exclusive company as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and MVP. As many football fans know, that now makes him virtually untouchable.

2. Once again, Green Bay battles through adversity.
How fitting was it that in a year when the Packers lost so many starters during the season that they would have to battle through more injury issues to win the Super Bowl. They lost two of their three defensive backs on consecutive plays near the end of the second quarter, including Pro Bowler and team leader Charles Woodson. Yet once again, they pushed through and overcame the hurdles that were placed in front of them. Let’s stop for a second and think about what this team was able to accomplish this year. They lost starters Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett. They needed to win two games in Week 16 and Week 17 just to qualify for the playoffs. They had to win three straight games on the road in the postseason and then they suffered a couple of more key injuries in the Super Bowl and still won it all. Talk about a team of destiny. After they lost Woodson in the second quarter, it looked like they were headed for disaster in the second half. Yet they never trailed, which is a testament to the team that Ted Thompson built off the field and the team Mike McCarthy ran on it.

3. So much for experience.
Earlier this week I wrote about how experience doesn’t matter much after the ball is kicked off the tee in the first quarter. For two weeks people talked about how the Steelers’ experience would play a role in this game and yet, who was the team that made most of the mistakes? Who was the team that turned the ball over three times? About the only time the Steelers showed their experience was when they didn’t panic down 21-3. They scored a touchdown right before half to cut the lead to 21-10 and then scored in the third to make it 21-17. But after that, they were the ones that made the crucial mistakes – not the Packers, whose roster was filled with guys that weren’t even in high school the last time the team played in the Super Bowl. The Steelers were the ones that fell behind by 18 in the first half. It was the Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall whose fumble set up a Green Bay touchdown. It was the Steelers’ Keyaron Fox who committed a stupid penalty right before Pittsburgh’s final offensive drive when they were only down six points. These are all things a team that played in two recent Super Bowls shouldn’t have done and yet Pittsburgh was guilty of them all. In the end, the team that made fewer mistakes and executed when they had their opportunities won the game. That’s what football is all about. Experience meant very little in the end.

4. Once again, the Steelers didn’t play a complete game.
Even though they beat the Ravens and Jets to make the Super Bowl, the Steelers didn’t play one complete game throughout the postseason. They had a brutal first half against the Ravens and managed to win, and had a lackluster second half against the Jets but managed to hang on. Against the Packers, they fell behind early but this time they couldn’t fix the mess they made. The turnovers were huge. Ben Roethlisberger’s two interceptions led to 14 points and there were a couple of penalties that slowed the Steelers’ momentum on offense. Even when Mendenhall was carving up the Packers’ defense in the first half, the Steelers never seemed to get into a good flow. And the Maurkice Pouncey injury turned out to be much ado about nothing. Doug Legursky more than held his own against B.J. Raji – he dominated the Green Bay nose tackle. Seriously, did you hear Raji’s name called all night? One of the players that many thought would be the difference-maker did nothing. The Steelers’ O-line took a massive beating in the media during the two weeks prior to the game and yet, it wasn’t their play that lost Pittsburgh the game. It’s hard to beat a team like the Packers when you make as many mistakes as the Steelers did and quite frankly, if it weren’t for three huge drops by Green Bay’s receivers, this game wouldn’t have been as close as it was.

The Black Eyed Peas perform during halftime of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. UPI/Ian Halpern

5. What a lousy Super Bowl.
Sorry Green Bay fans, I don’t mean to burst your bubble. But as a general NFL fan that was thrilled about the matchup, this was a crap game. There was no rhythm to it at all and even though things got interesting in the third quarter, I was never really on the edge of my seat. I thought for sure Pittsburgh would drive down the field on its final drive and yet they went five-and-out. Rodgers was the most impressive player on the field for both teams and as previously noted, he was royally screwed by his receivers on a handful of occasions. Jordy Nelson made a couple of huge plays but his two drops were absolutely brutal. Jones caught the pea-rocket from Rodgers to set up a GB field goal late in the fourth, but his drop midway through the third quarter nearly allowed Pittsburgh to take its first lead of the game. (Had he caught that pass, he may have gone all the way. Instead, he dropped a perfectly thrown ball and gave all the momentum back to the Steelers.) And can we talk about the pre-game and halftime performances for a second? Jimminy f’n Cricket. First Christina Aguilera skips an entire verse of the National Anthem (you had months to practice the National Anthem and you freaking forget a verse?!) and also changes one of the words, then the Black Eyed Peas give one of the worst halftime shows I’ve ever seen. When will the Super Bowl committee learn to pick bands or singers that perform well live? If a band only sounds good because of studio magic, it’s probably not a good idea to put them on stage at the Super Bowl. I swear FOX pumped in noise throughout that show to make it sound like the crowd was cheering because there’s no way anyone at that stadium enjoyed that performance. After the first two quarters, the commercials were rather lousy, too. As for the whole night, I feel like somebody just talked up this great movie for two weeks and after watching it all I can think is: “That was it?”

I want to give a special shout out to this guy at Bleacher Report who ranked me No. 9 out of 10 for his article on, “Which Experts’ Preseason Picks Look Most Idiotic.” For those unaware, I picked the Packers to beat the Ravens in the Super Bowl in our 2010 NFL Season Preview. Granted, the Ravens didn’t make the SB but I correctly predicted the Packers.

So suck it, Bleacher Report. Maybe they should do a “Which one of our Writers comes up with the Most Idiotic Topics” top 10. (And who doesn’t know what a White Russian is?)

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts