Senior writer jclombardi highlights Packers Super Bowl victory.
Packers holds on to win fourth Super Bowl title: If these Green Bay Packers aren’t the most deserving champions of the Super Bowl era, they’re not far from it. At the moment of truth Sunday night in Super Bowl XLV, the Packers overcame the first-half departures of Charles Woodson and Donald Driver to vanquish the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, at Cowboys Stadium. “It’s how our season has been since Day 1,” linebacker Desmond Bishop said. “We don’t blink. We know somehow, some way, somebody will make a play.” Everything that made the Packers the startling success story that they became was evident against the Steelers. Aaron Rodgers, the most valuable player, was magnificent. Just when the Packers’ chances were starting to become bleak deep in the second half, his powerful arm and remarkable accuracy kept the team afloat. Despite five second-half drops, the Packers’ wide receivers also made play after play against Pittsburgh’s proud but overmatched secondary. Jordy Nelson had a career performance with nine catches for 140 yards. And then there was the defense, a unit buffeted by injury after injury all season long and again in the finale when Woodson went out with a broken collarbone late in the second quarter and nickel back Sam Shields sat out significant stretches with a shoulder injury. The Packers claimed their 13th championship, most in the National Football League. With four Super Bowls, they now trail only Pittsburgh (six), Dallas (five) and San Francisco (five). McCarthy relished the return of the Lombardi Trophy to Green Bay for the first time since the 1996 season. “The people of our organization who have been there for years know the true meaning of what the Lombardi Trophy means, not only to Green Bay but the NFL,” he said. “No disrespect to the Steelers. We respect their football team. We respect the way they play. But we fully expected to win this game. It is our time.” The Packers joined the New York Giants of 2007 and the San Francisco 49ers of 1988 as the only Super Bowl champs with a 10-6 record in the regular season.
Rodgers repays debt to Packer organization: Poised, unflappable and resilient on professional football’s biggest stage, Aaron Rodgers wrote his own legendary story Sunday and accomplished something Brett Favre never did: win a Super Bowl MVP. Rodgers was simply sensational, leading two crucial drives in the fourth quarter that maintained a fragile lead before handing it over to the Green Bay defense, which managed to shut down the Pittsburgh Steelers after five nerve-racking plays. Rodgers is the second Green Bay quarterback ever to be selected as the Super Bowl MVP. Bart Starr was the MVP of the Packers’ victories in Super Bowls I and II. “He played great,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We put everything on his shoulders. He did a lot at the line of scrimmage for us against a great defense. He did a hell of a job.” Afterward, Rodgers was humble in his remarks about winning the MVP, giving credit to his receivers and his offensive line and the defense. “This is a great group of men we’ve put together here. They have a lot of character and we do a lot together. It’s just great to share it with them,” Rodgers said. Asked the expected question about carving his own legacy in the post-Brett Favre era, Rodgers instead praised the organization for standing by him. “I’ve never felt like there’s a monkey on my back,” he said. “The organization stood by me, believed in me, and that’s what I did on the podium. I thanked Ted (Thompson), Mark (Murphy, the president and CEO) and Mike for really believing in me and giving me the opportunity. I told Ted in 2005 that he wouldn’t be sorry with his pick. I told them in 2008 I would repay their trust and give them this opportunity.” That he did. Rodgers was 24 of 39 for 304 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. And all of it came against a Pittsburgh defense that had only allowed an average of 14.5 points per game all season. Rodgers finished the game with a QB rating of 111.5; his career postseason passer rating is now 112.6. Rodgers also set a mark held by Starr. Having surpassed the NFL’s minimum of 150 pass attempts to be considered a postseason record, Rodgers has moved ahead of Starr’s longstanding NFL passer rating mark of 104.8.
Offense took a fancy to passing: From their first offensive play, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers lined up in the shotgun formation and threw incomplete to Greg Jennings, the Green Bay Packers made a statement. They were not going to waste their time, or precious downs, trying to run the ball in Super Bowl XLV. The Pittsburgh Steelers were going to have to stop Rodgers and the Packers’ multifaceted passing game. “It wasn’t so much disrespect for their secondary as it was respect for their front seven,” said receiver Jordy Nelson. The Packers called only 11 running plays, all carries by James Starks – Rodgers also ran twice – but took advantage of mismatches in the secondary and neutralized one of the Steelers’ biggest weapons by keeping safety Troy Polamalu off the line of scrimmage and forcing him into coverage. The Packers made enough plays in the passing game to leave Cowboys Stadium with an immensely satisfying 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV. “We wanted to put them in vulnerable positions and get them outside their comfort zone,” said receiver Greg Jennings. “We knew it was going to be hard to run the ball. But on the back end and in the middle of the field we were able to expose them and make plays.” The Packers’ offense overcame the loss of receiver Donald Driver (sprained ankle) in the first half, and Rodgers earned most valuable player honors by completing 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns. With Driver sidelined, Nelson and Jennings came up big, with Nelson catching nine passes for 140 yards – both career highs – and one touchdown and Jennings catching four for 64 and two touchdowns. “We feel there are hardly any defensive backs who can match up with us one-on-one, let alone four-on-four or five-on-five,” Nelson said. “Defenses just aren’t built that way.”