They did it!! In case you haven’t heard, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday by a score of 31 – 25 to become Super Bowl champions. In doing so, the Lombardi Trophy returns to Green Bay with the Packers’ fourth Super Bowl win since the professional football leagues merged in 1966. If one takes a more historic perspective, this is the thirteenth NFL championship that the Packers have earned dating back to their inception in 1921.
The Packers jumped out to an early lead in this game and never trailed. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers on a 9-play 80-yard drive capped by a 29-yard touchdown strike to Jordy Nelson to start the scoring. Howard Green then deflected a pass which was intercepted by Nick Collins and returned for a touchdown, and the Packers were up 14 – 0. Things tightened up a bit in the second quarter when Donald Driver went down with an ankle injury and Charles Woodson broke his collarbone. At halftime the Packers led 21 -10 but a late touchdown by the Steelers shifted the momentum in their favor.
The Packers had a bad third quarter. James Jones dropped a sure touchdown pass and penalties started piling up. Missing Woodson, the Packers’ defense was knocked around a bit and the Steelers closed the score to 21 – 17. But in the final quarter the resilient Packers forced the Steelers into a turnover which Rodgers quickly converted into a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. On the day, the Packers converted three Pittsburgh turnovers into 21 points.
The drama continued as the Steelers responded with a touchdown, and with a 2-point conversion the Packers led by just 28 – 25 with seven minutes left. Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers responded with a huge drive that culminated with a Field Goal and with just over 2 minutes left, the Packers were up 31-25. There was still plenty of time for the Steelers to score and pull off a win, but the Packer defense stiffened and the game ended as a thriller.
What a fantastic run it has been for the Green Bay Packers this past season. Plagued by all sorts of injuries that landed 15 players on the Injured Reserve list, it sure looked like this team would have to “wait ‘til next year,” but not so. Mike McCarthy did a superb job of coaching his team down the stretch. Mega kudos are also due General Manager Ted Thompson who somehow found the players to fill in the holes when the injury bug bit. Look for the Packers to extend the contracts of those gentlemen shortly.
And so the season ends on the highest of all high notes. The Land of Cheese will no doubt be celebrating for quite some time and so they should. There will be discussions of the collegiate draft and other issues in the coming months, but for now it is time for Cheeseheads to reflect on a great season and savor the memories of Super Bowl XLV.