Filed under: NFL | Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Sports, Super Bowl
Well, at least I got the “close game” part right.
What a wildly entertaining Super Bowl XLV it was. After a week which didn’t give the media much to work with, Sunday took America by storm, reeling in the football masses.
What unfolded after a botched National Anthem by the aging Christina Aguilera was a football game which could only be defined as a “classic.” What transpired between 90 second blocks of horrendous commercials could only be described as the two toughest football teams left with trading blows for a full 60 minutes.
While the Steelers bid for a comeback ultimately fell short, they made a quite a game out of it. Pittsburgh was able to persevere through multiple Ben Roethlisberger gaffes early in the game to give the first half some semblance and nearly pulled off a patented Steelers comeback.
But it was not to be. Why, you may ask?
Aaron Rodgers grew up. And he grew up with the entire city of Green Bay on his back.
I’ve been especially critical of Rodgers, noting his inability to play a full 60 minutes when it matters most. And while by no means was his game perfect on Sunday,(the 3rd Quarter had the Packer faithful trembling)Rodgers didn’t allow himself to become flustered.
He didn’t allow Philadelphia to happen. He didn’t allow Chicago to happen.
What we saw was a quarterback who witnessed all of the pressure, criticism, and expectations from the Titletown USA faithful, pass him by.
What we saw was a quarterback who relished in the glory the Super Bowl brought, and would not let his Packers team return to the frozen tundra without a trophy which endures the utmost respect in Green Bay.From Vince Lombardi, to Bart Starr, to Brett Favre, the Packers are built with franchise names as their cornerstone. Someone needs to make room for Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers undoubtedly faced adversity which would be difficult for many QB’s to overcome. His security blanket Donald Driver, done after 1 quarter. The best cornerback in the league Charles Woodson(sorry Mr. Revis) left after one half with a broken collarbone. Sam Shields and Nick Collins went down as well, decimating the Packers defense and morale. Rodgers was the victim of 4 drops, 1 in the end zone, and 3 by Jordy Nelson.
He had to stare across the field during the third quarter as the Steelers captured momentum and looked to complete a comeback. The pressure of a true “winner” in Ben Roethlisberger looming over him.
And he didn’t budge.
Instead, Rodgers commanded a 4th quarter which attacked the best defense in the league, beating them through the air on two separate drives. Rodgers made the AP Defensive Player of the Year, Troy Polamalu, look absolutely abysmal in coverage. He negated his playmaking ability by shaking him off on multiple occasions, including the instrumental 8 yard TD pass to Greg Jennings.
Rodgers created magic again later in the quarter, when Green Bay needed to kill roughly 7 minutes. He completed passes of 31 and 21 yards to Jennings and James Jones respectively, moving Green Bay into field goal territory. By the time Pittsburgh got the ball back, they had 1 timeout and 119 seconds to go 87 yards, a task Roethlisberger was not fit to achieve.
What Rodgers and the Packers did was essentially spit in the face of critics, disprove the claim adversity kills. The team fought through key injuries from preseason to the final half of the game. They fought through the twittergate of Super Bowl XLV. Rodgers had to deal with the universal truth that he could simply not win the Super Bowl against Roethlisberger because of “experience.”
Well Rodgers and the rest of Green Bay gave experience the cold shoulder Sunday night. While Pittsburgh may own 6 rings, and Roethlisberger may “know how to win,” he didn’t “experience” a win Sunday. He can’t add a Super Bowl MVP trophy to his arsenal.
Rodgers did, and Rodgers has.
And something tells me that this won’t be his last time on the grandest stage either.
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