On Sunday, February 6, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas in the forty-fifth NFL Super Bowl.
The Packers triumphed by a score of 31-25 against the mistake-prone AFC Champion Steelers. The NFC Champions won on the biggest stage despite a regular-season record of 10-6 and a sixth playoff seeding,
Green Bay started hot, outscoring the Steelers 21-3 until just before halftime. Aaron Rodgers, star Packers quarterback, helped the team capitalize on two interceptions for 14 of those points. The third quarter brought another touchdown for the Pack after a Pittsburgh fumble turned over the ball yet again. Green Bay did not turn the ball over for the duration of the game.
Two Pittsburgh TDs, coming on long, efficient drives just before and after halftime, narrowed the margin to 21-17. The Steelers have a long-standing reputation for comebacks and slim victories, and looked to be still ‘in the game’.
With seven minutes remaining in the final quarter, the Packers led 28-25, having never relinquished the lead. But when a touchdown would put the game away for good, Green Bay could only settle for a field goal, opening the door for a classic Steelers’ victory drive with a mere 2:00 left.
Even given this golden opportunity — being down only six points with the score at 31-25 — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger failed to engineer the potentially game-winning drive, delivering the Lombardi Trophy to the Green Bay Packers.
The Lombardi Trophy bears the name of a legendary coach of the Packers, who now have claimed the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl championship. The Steelers have won six, including a Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 season.
A vital storyline of the Packers’ triumph is the emergence of Rodgers, now considered to be out of the shadow of former Green Bay QB Brett Favre, who ‘retired’ in 2008. According to ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski, “the monkey is off his back”.
Rodgers was selected as Super Bowl MVP and was 24 of 39 passing for 304 yds and 3 TDs. A fairly young quarterback, he has only started for the Packers since 2008, and has proven his worth as a pillar to build a team around. For this reason, coupled with up-and-coming youth and talent, many analysts are of the opinion that Green Bay is poised for multiple title runs in the coming decade.
In a season of abnormal parity in the NFL, the fact that a team seeded sixth — and barely made the playoffs in the first place — is leaving North Texas armed with football’s greatest prize seems appropriate.