Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named MVP as he led his side to a 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium.
It is the first time that Green Bay have won the showpiece event since 1996 and this victory makes it the fourth time in their history that they have lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after their legendary coach.
The Packers raced to a 14-0 lead early on as Rodgers drove his side 80 yards up the pitch before he threw a 29 yard pass to Jordy Nelson for the opening score in Arlington. Less than a minute later the Pack doubled their lead in the first quarter as Safety Nick Collins intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass and returned it for a 37 yard touchdown.
The Steelers came out firing in the second quarter but the Packer’s defence restricted Roethlisberger’s side to a 33 yard field goal attempt that Shaun Suisham slotted following a 49 yard, 13 play drive.
With Pittsburgh on the score sheet, their fans will have wanted for them to build on this, however it was the Green and Yellow that added to the board as, with just over two minutes left in the half, Rodgers instigated a 53 yard drive that took just four plays as Greg Jennings received a 21 yard touchdown reception to extend their lead to 21-3.
The match looked as though it was creeping away from the Steelers who had already won an unprecedented six Super Bowl titles, however, with just 39 seconds left before the half time show kicked into action Roethlisberger did what he does best. In just a minute and 45 seconds he took his side 77 yards down field as he threw to Hines Ward, the MVP from Super Bowl XL, for eight yards to cut the deficit to 11 at the break.
In a turgid third quarter there was just the one score as Pittsburgh reduced the deficit even more. Roethlisberger drove his side, in their change kit of white shirts and gold trousers, 50 yards in five plays before throwing to Rashard Mendenhall for another eight yard touchdown, leaving the score balanced at 21-17 going into the last 15 minutes of play.
The Packers’, having seen the Steelers put on 14 unanswered points since the end of the second period, knew they had to respond if they were going to see the Steelers beaten in a Super Bowl for just the second time. Rodgers, sensing the time was right, threw to Jennings for his second touchdown of the night and Rodgers’ third touchdown pass, thus giving the Wisconsin side some breathing space at 28-17 with just under 12 minutes remaining.
Roethlisberger, aware that his side had to score twice to go ahead for the first time in the match, drove for 66 yards before throwing to Mike Wallace for a 25 yard touchdown reception. He then threw a lateral pass to Antwaan Randle El for a two-point conversion that reduced the Packers’ lead to just three, with the score at 28-23.
The Steelers needed only a field goal to draw level but they first had to stop the Packers and retrieved the ball. They could not do so, and although the Steelers’ defence was able to stop another touchdown, they were unable to impede Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby, who had not missed a single kick on the night, from successfully kicking a 23 yard field goal as the score was extended to 31-25 with less than two minutes remaining.
Although Roethlisberger used all his experience and time management skills to attempt to get his side up the pitch as quickly as possible, with only one time-out remaining it was always going to be difficult, and when his pass was intercepted with 40 seconds to go Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy was able to receive the customary Gatorade shower from his players to signify the victory.
As McCarthy was wiping the Gatorade from his eyes his quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, was being named Super Bowl XLV MVP for his three touchdown passes and 304 yards thrown without an interception as the Packers’ fans were finally able to forget about the legend that was Brett Favre.