Forty-eight hours later... and I'm still grinning about the Packers' victory over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. I'm sure a lot of people will disagree, but the fact is... this was the best Super Bowl I've seen in awhile.
Simply put... the game was an emotional roller coaster from the coin toss until Rodgers was announced the MVP of the game.
Emotion #1: Confident
When Green Bay won the coin toss and decided to kick off... I was pumped. McCarthy's decision showed how confident he was in his defense... and that he believed in them. It also boosted my confidence in the Packers chances of winning too. A few minutes into the game... the Packers defense forced a three and out on Pittsburgh's first possession. What a great way to start this game.
Emotion #2: Angry
On the next play... Tramon Williams muffs the punt after Sam Shields runs into him. I was not a happy camper.
Emotion #3: Relief
Luckily... the Packers recovered the fumble.
Emotion #4: Amazed
On Green Bay's second possession of the game, Aaron Rodgers and James Starks marched the Packers down the field. The last play of the drive was a perfect pass thrown by Rodgers to Jordy Nelson that resulted in a touchdown. I was in awe by how accurate NFL QB's have to be. That throw was amazing.
Emotion #5: Lucky
On the ensuing kickoff, Antonio Brown ran the ball across the forty. Unfortunately for Steelers fans, there was an illegal block to the back resulting in penalty. The Packers (and their fans) were lucky... because the special teams almost gave the Steelers great field position.
Emotion #6: Energized
The next play... Nick Collins had a pick 6 to give the Packers a 14-0 lead. At this point... the blood was pumping and the heart was racing... as I jumped up and down with fellow Packer fans at the Super Bowl party I was at. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty didn't even faze me.
Emotion #7: Frustrated
On the Steeler's next possession, the Packers had the Steeler right where they wanted them. Big Ben just got up limping and it was third down with 9 yards to go. What happened next? Flippin' Roethlisberger takes off running and picks up 18 yards. It's amazing how your emotions can change within a few moments. The Steelers ended up settling for a field goal at the end of that drive.
Emotion #8: Nervous
The Packers were forced to punt on their next possession... and I started to get nervous. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking... this is it. Big Ben is going to take over the game. It didn't help that marched the Steelers across the 50 yard line.
Emotion #9: Relief #2
Just when I was going to transition from "nervous" to "stressed"... Jarrett Bush picks off Roethlisberger... and stops the drive.
Emotion #10: Confident
Rodgers then heads the other way and leads the Packers on another great drive. This one ends in a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. Green Bay 21 - Pittsburgh 3
Emotion #11: Nervous #2
The next drive was devastating to the Packers. First... they lost Sam Shields. Then... Charles Woodson leaves the game. The Steelers took advantage of this situation and scored a few plays later to close the gap. Green Bay 21 - Pittsburgh 10
Emotion #12: Bummed
When Pam Oliver delivered the news that Charles Woodson wouldn't return... there's no other way to describe the way I felt. I was bummed. What a huge loss for the Packers. Woodson has been the defensive leader for a few years now and his presence on the field was obviously going to be missed.
Emotion #13: Irritated
A few plays after finding out about Woodson... James Jones (one of my favorite players on the Packers) dropped a ball that could have possibly been taken to the house for 6 points. Instead... the Packers were forced to punt.
Things don't get much better during the third quarter. It's easily the quarter I'd like to forget. Dropped Passes + Silly Penalties + A Stagnant Offense = One Frustrated Football Fan
Luckily... the Packers defense brought their "A" game that quarter and only allowed one touchdown that quarter.
Emotion #14: Relief #3
Then things turned around (again). On the first play of the fourth quarter... with the Steelers on the Packers 33 yard line... Rashard Mendenhall fumbled after getting hit by Clay Matthews Jr. and Ryan Pickett. Desmond Bishop recovered the ball for the Packers. Several plays later Rodgers found Jennings in the end zone for the second time in the game to bring the Packers lead back to 11.
Emotion #15: Disappointed
The following drive... Big Ben led the Steelers down the field 66 yards for a touchdown. After a 2pt conversion... the Packers lead was down to 3. Now... I'm not sure if people are going to understand why I was disappointed. I wasn't disappointed in the Packers defense. Heck... they had played one helluva game and were the reason the Packers still had the lead. I think I was just disappointed that the Packers blew a 21 to 3 lead. Since then... they were outscored by the Steelers 22 to 7. With a little over 7 minutes left to play... Green Bay 28 - Pittsburgh 25
Emotion #16: Angry #2
The next drive... on a third down and five... Daryn Colledge gets called for a false start. Third down and ten. One ticked off Packers fan.
Emotion #17: Excited
My anger issues didn't last long. The next play Rodgers found Jennings for 31 yards and a first down. And with less than four minutes to play... the Packers had a first and goal on the 8 yard line.
Emotion #18: Disappointed #2
Unfortunately... the Packers offense couldn't find a way into the end zone and had to settle for a field goal... giving them a 6 point lead... in other words... a one possession game. Green Bay 31 - Pittsburgh 25
Emotion #19: Giddy #3
Personal foul... #57 of the receiving team (Pittsburgh)... half the distance to goal. Couldn't help but smile... gotta love stupid penalties... especially when they help your team out.
Emotion #20: Nervous #3
Big Ben... under 2 minutes to play... Packers lead by 6. If you've read my posts on this blog... or in some of the forums... you know that I predicted that the game winning score would be on the final drive of the game. And anyone who knows Big Ben... knows that he's the king of "final drives". So... when I say was nervous... I'm putting that mildly. It didn't help that on the first play of the drive he connected with Heath Miller for 15 yards. Then... he connected with Hines Ward for 4 more yards the play after that.
Emotion #21: Proud
But then... the Packers defense did what they've been doing all night long. They stopped Big Ben when it counted the most. Three incompletions later... and the Packers took over and sealed the Super Bowl victory.
Emotion #22: Happy
After the game... I was so happy to hear that Aaron Rodgers won the Super Bowl MVP award. Some of my friends thought that Jennings deserved it more... but I think they're crazy. Rodgers accuracy was second to none. Did he have a couple of bad passes? Sure... but did his receiver drop a few nicely thrown passes? Umm... definitely. The best part of this win was that it was a team effort. Rodgers didn't win it on his own. Without the superior play of their defense... the Steelers would have walked away with this game. Thankfully... the Packers defense shined.
The Packers season could easily be turned into a movie... with all of the ups and downs they've experienced. It started with them losing key players to injuries early in the season and going 3-3 their first six games. Then they won 4 straight games against the Vikings, the Jets, and the Cowboys (and of course the Vikings... AGAIN).
Feeling confident with a 7 and 3 record... they lose 3 out of their next 4 games. All of these games were close... they lost to the Falcons by 3... the Lions by 4... and the Patriots by 4. In fact... as crazy as it sounds... they never lost by more than four points all season long.
With two games to go... they would need to beat both the Giants and the Bears just to sneak into the last Wild Card spot. So... what did they do? They annihilated the Giants at Lambeau... 45 to 17... and then went into Soldier Field and beat the Bears in their house.
At this point... it's safe to say that the Packers were on a lot of peoples' radars. They might have been the #6 seed... but a newly found running game had caught the attention of fans.
But... the road to Cowboys Stadium would be long and tough. They would need to win out on the road against Vick & the Eagles, Ryan & the Falcons, and finally Urlacher & the Bears. And... that's exactly what they did.
Sunday's win was the perfect ending... to an amazing season. The Packers showed their fans that they were willing to persevere and fight to the end. When the final seconds clicked off the clock... they had 16 players on injured reserved... their 2nd best receiver knocked out of the game... and their defensive captain on the sidelines with him.
Next year should be very interesting... as it stands the Packers are the second youngest team in the league... and they won the Super Bowl without some of their key players. Next year... Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley will be back. The future definitely looks bright in Title Town.
Congratulations Green Bay! You put me on one helluva roller coaster ride of emotions this past Sunday... but it was well worth it. I've already watched the game two more times since... and plan to watch it at least a couple of more times before the next season. Thank goodness for DVR's.
Have a great week everyone!