ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 06: Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after a first down catch in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Take nothing away from Aaron Rodgers' efforts on Sunday, the guy placed his reputation on the line in front of millions. Better yet, he also silenced the doubters that continually referred to Green Bay's NFC Wild Card loss to the Arizona Cardinals in 2009 as "Rodgers shining mistake".
But where would a good quarterback be without his trusty wide receiver?
Joe Montana may wound up another garden variety passer without Jerry Rice. And you know that guy who is often referred to as Steve Largent? Well the Seattle Seahawks may have gone the way of the Supersonics if it wasn't for him.
Then again, the same set of circumstances could have struck the Green Bay Packers yesterday. Rodgers was unlucky not to throw a "Roy Halladay" against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but if No.12 isn't secretly cursing Jordy Nelson and James Jones, he is surely praising the footwork of Greg Jennings right about now.
And not for the first time.
If the Steelers defense were once known as dominant, Dick LeBeau's strategies fell on deaf ears Sunday. Green Bay piled on the points against Pittsburgh in the first half, and with the experience factor acting as the so called "difference maker", safety Troy Polamalu found himself on a lone island during all four quarters
Maybe that's why Jennings scored two touchdowns and placed 64 yards next to his name.
According to Green Bay's go-to receiver who had to take total control in the second half with Donald Driver unable to continue, Polamalu allowed Jennings to slip right by him. When asked on his first touchdown catch, Jennings told reporters:
"The first touchdown was just a bee line. It was pretty much like the 31-yard catch at the end of the game. They played cover two and I was able to slip LaMarr Woodley and get in between Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark. The second was a corner route, and Polamalu kind of dropped me. He was looking at the backfield for something else and let me just run right by him".
Perhaps the Steelers inexperience with the Packers cost them in the long run.
Realistically, though, Jennings has been doing that very same thing all year long. In the regular season he was a force up the middle of the field, a target that Rodgers has highly recognized with Driver showing telltale signs of age and fatigue.
Yet aside from the routine 16 week span, the real story comes from the postseason. Sustaining 101 yards against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional Round, and 130 against the Chicago Bears the next week, the formidable road test was made that much easier for the Packers whilst maintaining a reliable wide receiver.
A sturdy defense also lent a helping hand.
Still, it is within reason that I sit here and contemplate why Jennings failed to become the games most valuable player. When Roger Goodell was preparing to hand out the award, I mentioned to my friend that it should go to Jennings. Of course the cliche thought of the quarterback winning the award seemed to come win in the end.
No, don't go throwing Rodgers under the bus here, because he deserves it -- after all, silencing the buzzing bee of Brett Favre is no easy task. But would the Packers be basking in the glow of their fourth Super Bowl trophy if it wasn't for Jennings in the long run?
Probably not. Although Rashard Mendenhall's fourth quarter fumble had something to do with it also.
I guess it is easy to say that any of the Packers four touchdowns could be accredited to Green Bay's close win. If we are to seriously analyze it, though, Jennings' second score was the game changing moment for the Packers.
"I saw Troy, but it was more I was looking to the left and coming back to the right side, and had a good idea from a couple of plays before that Greg was going to be open on a corner route," Rodgers stated. "He made a good catch. I almost threw it too far."
Seems as though Rodgers threw it just far enough to give the Packers a 28-17 lead with under 12 minutes remaining in the final quarter, Jennings' play on a slant route during 3rd down was also labeled as play of the game.
Jennings was humble in victory, and rather brief in interviews too. When Pam Oliver rounded him up as the confetti fell, Jennings recorded his own Kevin Garnett moment, stating "To God be the glory!". Expect many soundbites to come soon.
As far as Rodgers winning the MVP award goes, no sleep will be lost. Not that much downtime is expected this week anyway.
"He's at the helm for a reason. He gives us an outstanding opportunity to win ballgames just when he straps his helmet up and puts his pads on. The way he throws the ball, with his timing, the way he is able to extend plays with his feet, his preparation. I can go on and on about the intangibles he brings to the table that allows us to be in the situation we're in right now".