Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Return to Titletown

A ticketing snafu overshadowed the game action at Super Bowl XLV: because a section of temporary seats in Cowboys Stadium was not finished in time, about 400 fans were forced to watch the game from monitors inside a stadium bar, leading to days of outrage against the NFL and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. That's too bad, because the battle between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers was a memorable one.

The accuracy of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, especially in key third-down situations in a tense fourth quarter, was the difference. Green Bay had taken an early 21-3 lead, but Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger started to heat up in the second half. Pittsburgh cut the lead to 21-17 going into the fourth quarter. On a third down and seven from the Green Bay 48, Rodgers hit James Jones near the sideline for a first down. After Green Bay receiver Jordy Nelson dropped an easy ball over the middle, Rodgers went back to him on a third-and-10 play; Nelson snared it and ran to the 1-yard line, setting up a touchdown that put Green Bay up 28-17 and stalled Pittsburgh's momentum. Roethlisberger then threw his second TD pass, and a two-point conversation made it 28-25 with 7:30 remaining. With six minutes left and Green Bay deep in its own territory, Rodgers faced a huge third and 10. Punt the ball away, and there's a good chance that the Steelers would score and steal the Super Bowl. Rodgers, however, zipped a pass to Greg Jennings, who was surrounded by three Pittsburgh defenders. Jennings caught it, giving Green Bay a 31-yard gain and extending the drive. A field goal with just over two minutes left made it 31-25 Green Bay, and the Packers stopped Pittsburgh's last-gasp drive. Thanks to Rodgers, Packers fans have forgotten Brett Favre. The QB won the Super Bowl MVP award, and this year he's been even better. The Packers started 2011 a perfect 12-0 and looking like potential, if not probable, repeat champions.