The Packer Fan Minute

Packers Win Super Bowl XLV, 31-25

We Are World Champs! We Are World Champs! And the Green Bay Packers are bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home.

The Green Bay Packers captured their fourth Super Bowl title and 13th world championship on Sunday night in front of 103,219 at Cowboys Stadium with a 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. This final triumph concludes a memorable playoff run that featured three road wins over the NFC’s top three seeds and now a down-to-the-wire victory against a Pittsburgh team that had won two of the previous five Super Bowls. the Packers become the only second No. 6 seed to win the championship. Coincidentally, the 2005 Steelers were the other.

Forget Lombardi on Broadway. Green Bay has the newest Super Bowl hit: Aaron Rodgers! Capping one of the greatest postseasons for any quarterback, Rodgers led the Packers to their first NFL championship in 14 years Sunday, 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers reclaimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named for their legendary coach who won the first two Super Bowls and is making his own star turn in New York these days in the play named after him. Rodgers, the game's MVP, thrilled his legion of Cheesehead fans with a spectacular six-game string that should finally erase the bitterness of the Brett Favre separation in Green Bay. He's now equal with Favre in Super Bowl wins, and extended the Packers' record of NFL titles to 13, nine before the Super Bowl era. Rodgers played superbly. He completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns and was not intercepted.

The Packers turned three Steelers turnovers into three touchdowns throughout the course of the game and never gave up the lead, despite multiple comeback attempts by Pittsburgh and a spate of injuries that knocked receiver Donald Driver and cornerback Charles Woodson out of the game late in the second quarter. A 29-yard TD to receiver Jordy Nelson, a 36-yard interception return for a score by Nick Collins, and a 21-yard dart to receiver Greg Jennings in a tight window staked the Packers to a 21-3 lead in the second quarter. The third TD was set up by an interception near midfield by backup cornerback Jarrett Bush. The Steelers rallied to get within 21-17 on a TD pass to Hines Ward just before halftime and a TD run by Rashard Mendenhall in the third quarter. Pittsburgh was close to scoring range again in the fourth quarter when Mendenhall fumbled, however, on a hit from linebacker Clay Matthews. LinebackerDesmond Bishop recovered and the Packers extended the advantage again on Jennings’ second TD catch of the game, from 8 yards out, to make it 28-17. Pittsburgh battled back with a 25-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace and added a 2-point conversion to make it 28-25 midway through the fourth. The Packers answered with a long drive for a field goal, the key play coming on a 31-yard pass to Jennings on third-and-10 from Green Bay territory that got the Packers across midfield. The ensuing field goal made it 31-25 with 2:07 left, and the defense needed to make one more stop. It did, as Roethlisberger threw incomplete to Wallace on fourth-and-5 in the final minute, sealing the win. Nelson finished with nine catches for 140 yards for the Packers, career highs in both categories. James Starks added 11 rushes for 52 yards.

"Vince Lombardi is coming back to Green Bay," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said as the silver prize was handed to the team. The biggest plays were left to Rodgers, Nick Collins with a 37-yard interception return for a TD, Jennings, Nelson, and the rest of the guys in green and gold. In the end, they gave coach Mike McCarthy his first Super Bowl victory against the team he rooted for while growing up in Pittsburgh. Besides Lombardi, Mike Holmgren won a title in 1997 with Favre. After sitting for three seasons, Rodgers took the Packers to two late-season victories just to make the playoffs as a wild card. Then he guided them to wins at Philadelphia, Atlanta and archrival Chicago before his biggest achievement -- against a Pittsburgh team ranked second in defense. And Aaron Rodgers becomes the first Super Bowl MVP since Bart Starr.

Boos: The game capped an interesting weather week in Dallas for the teams and fans alike. Snow and ice caused traffic snarls, canceled flights and caused injuries to six people when it fell from the roof of the stadium. Sunny skies and milder temperatures returned Sunday, but issues arose with seats at the game. A total of 1,250 temporary seats were considered unsafe hours before kickoff. Even while the teams were warming up on the field, workers were trying to fix the problems -- many involving seats carrying pricetags of $800 and up. About 400 people with tickets couldn't be seated inside the stadium and the league offered refunds of triple the ticket price. At least the Packers and Steelers put on a terrific show after Christina Aguilera botched the lyrics to the national anthem.

"You play to be world champions," Clay Matthews said, "and that's what we are today." YES WE ARE!!!

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