Fourth and Won: Youth, Perseverance Lifts Packers to Super Bowl XLV Win

ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 06: MVP Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium on February 6 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The folks in Dallas weren't quite so loud on Sunday, nor were they very appreciative of Jerry Jones' hospitality either.  Turns out a heap of fans were left seat-less after sustaining a ticket to the big game, this along with lousy acoustics left Jones with egg on his face, which is more than we can say for Alex Rodriguez.

But for the Green Bay Packers, the cozy confines of Cowboys Stadium proved to be the site of their fourth Super Bowl ring -- even though it came with a few hiccups, chewed fingernails and heart murmur's at the same time.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers were gunning down their seventh ring in Dallas, but fell five cents short of a dollar on Sunday night sending Big Ben into a world of blame following the game, stating that he has let the city of Pittsburgh down.

With 293 yards and two touchdowns to his name, that may not be entirely true.

What was case and point for Roethlisberger, though, was turnovers.  Two interceptions cost the Steelers valuable points against an unshaken Green Bay team, which has recorded an interception in every postseason game the past four weeks.

Roethlisberger threw the first of two mishaps to safety Nick Collins, who ran the ball to the house for a pick six to earn his own Tracy Porter like moment.  Clay Matthews rushed in to congratulate Collins on receiving the first defensive kill of the evening, shouting in his usual manner.

Then, the man every Packer fan once criticized stepped up to the calling.  Yes, Jarrett Bush had an immediate impact, claiming his own slice of the pie by recording an easy interception, which seemed to make up for his unforgivable 2009 woes in December.  This set up the Packers with decent field position, a recurring theme on the day.

Go ahead and quietly applaud Dom Capers if you will.

Yet as exciting as this all was, these two plays were one the few happy moments relished on the defensive side.

With Injuries popping up like pesky garden weeds, a disheartening loss left every Green Bay fan saddened as the second half wound down.  Unfortunately cornerback Charles Woodson injured his collar bone, sending him to the sidelines to accompany linebacker Erik Walden as onlookers.

When Jennings scored his second touchdown of the day and Woodson attempted a fist pump only to receive excruciating pain, it was clear how severe the injury was.

As for the Steelers, they too were bitten by the same depleting bug.  Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was forced out of the game in the second half, leaving veteran Hines Ward and go-to playmaker Mike Wallace to go to work.

That combination certainly payed off.

Ward and Wallace burned the Packer secondary for 167 yards and two touchdowns, although this statistic may never have occurred should Woodson and Sam Shields had stayed healthy. 

Running back Rashard Mendenhall also had a bright performance gashing Kevin Greene's linebackers for 63 yards and a score.  Roethlisberger was nursing a tweaked knee after slipping in the first half, but Mendenhall took over when the Steelers needed him most.

When Rendenhall lost the handle in the fourth quarter and granted the Packers the ball, all of that hard work looked to be erased.

Other than that, the experience of the Steelers everyone spoke about never really shone through.

Roethlisberger had a decent game, yes, but many other players were missing.  Troy Polamalu was nearly silent against Green Bay, a rare sight especially in the Super Bowl.  The Steelers linebackers were also mildly quiet, as Aaron Rodgers was only sacked three times, an area most felt was going to be exposed entirely.

As long as you have your hands warm, spare a thought for Rodgers too.  Green Bay's precision king had another near perfect game on Sunday night, but was cut short due to poor receiving play on the Jordy Nelson/James Jones front.  Losing Donald Driver in the first half didn't help things mind you.

At least one man managed to keep his wits about him, Greg Jennings.  Two touchdown catches and 64 yards to his name, Rodgers looked almost Bart Starr like during the first hook-up, hitting 85 right in the breadbasket for a score.

Consequently that resemblance of a Packer legend won Rodgers his first ever Super Bowl MVP trophy, not to mention a Green Bay record after throwing nine touchdown passes in the postseason.  Something that was never accomplished by Brett Favre.

Speaking of Favre, don't ever expect to hear the same boring comparisons ever again.  Rodgers has tied Favre in terms of trophy accomplishments, and with such a promising future ahead, who is to say that he won't outdo Dan Marino himself in due time?

We'll wait and see.

At least now Rodgers can justify his championship belt celebration.

In the mean time, this win is for every Packer player that has poured their hearts into this team, them and the fans also deserve this victory.  Driver was injured, so was Woodson.  But the tears in their eyes at the end of the game told the full 1000 words.

Last but not least, here's a scary thought: Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant and Nick Barnett return next year.  Not to mention a few new draft picks.  If there's anything we learned it was that the Packers do need to focus on some depth at cornerback.  Don't make me speculate about Nnamdi Asomugha again, though.

This may not be the next Dallas Cowboys or New England Patriots dynasty.  However, there is something unique about this team, and if winning on the road hasn't convinced you enough, then surely the perseverance and determination to overcome injuries has won you over.

Congratulations Packers.  The Lombardi Trophy is back where it belongs.  Needless to say, McCarthy also goes down with Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren in the list of coaching legends.

The Packers are like the 2007 New York Giants, only better.  Jennings isn't likely to shoot himself in the leg anytime soon, and Finley isn't likely to leave for the New Orleans Saints either.  The next destination is unknown, but with a lockout looming, it would be a shame to see Lambeau Field go to waste next year with this much energy buzzing.

 

Follow Ryan Cook on   Twitter.

Ryan Cook is an Australian author for Acme Packing Company, and a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also a guest writer on PackerChatters, and a contributing writer for Gack Sports.

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