By Steve Kallas
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The “inexperienced” (in the Super Bowl, anyway) Packers spread the Steelers out, just like the Patriots did in their 39-26 victory over the Steelers during the regular season. But for a few key drops, the Packers easily could have scored 45 points.
2 – Turnovers (as often happens) were the key to the game.
With a 3-0 Packer edge in turnovers (two Roethlisberger picks, one Mendenhall fumble, which led to 21 Packer points), the Packers won the all-important turnover battle. Before the game, teams with three or more turnovers were 30-4 in the Super Bowl. After the game, they were 31-4. Great credit to the Steelers for even having a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter.
3 – The best Fox catch of the day was showing (on tape) Kevin Greene, former Steelers great and now Packers outside linebackers coach, telling Clay Matthews III, present Packers outside linebacker great (who should have been the NFL Defensive Player of the Year), “it’s time, it is time” to make a play.
This was as the teams were switching sides for the fourth quarter. On the next play, Matthews caused Rashard Mendenhall to fumble the ball, which led to the game-clinching Super Bowl touchdown. The Matthews family (father Clay, Jr., uncle Bruce and, now, Clay III) have a combined 40 years in the NFL. And, now, one Super Bowl victory.
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4 – Some receivers have no feel for the game. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Packers driving and trying to run out (or, at least, run down) the clock with a three-point lead, MVP Aaron Rodgers threw a sideline completion to James Jones for a first down.
If James falls down, the clock keeps ticking. If he lets himself get knocked out of bounds, the clock stops. He tries to gain an extra yard and gets knocked out of bounds. Not-very-smart football. When Tom Crabtree makes a diving one-yard catch on the next play, the clock keeps ticking (nobody in the booth understood how important that catch was, because (of course), if Crabtree doesn’t catch it, the clock stops).
Conversely, when the Steelers, down six with less than two minutes left and only one timeout remaining, have QB Ben Roethlisberger, left with no other choice, throw a five-yard pass to Hines Ward and Ward has to leave his feet to make a nice catch in the field of play, what’s the point of catching that ball? Refusing to use their final timeout, the clock ran down from 1:33 to 1:08, a colossal waste of time late in the game.
In this case, Hines should have dropped the pass and saved his team a precious 25 seconds. Nobody in the Fox booth (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman) understood the importance of any of these plays.
5 – Antwaan Randle El, returning to the Steelers this season but unable to win a starting job, got his chance after an injury to rookie Emmanuel Sanders and made the most of it. A pretty good NFL wide receiver, with only 22 catches in 16 games this season, Randle El caught two passes for 50 yards (including a 37-yarder that set up the Steelers first touchdown right before the half) and took an option pitch from Ben Roethlisberger to score an important two-point conversion. At 31, he can still play effectively in the NFL.
6 – The Dumbest Play of the Game Award goes to #57 on Green Bay, Keyaron Fox, who got an incredibly stupid personal foul penalty (half the distance to the goal line) on Pittsburgh’s final possession.
Aggravated that he got pushed, Fox, in front of an official, committed the foul that moved the starting position of the Steelers final drive from their 26 back to their 13. Earlier, Tramon Williams of Green Bay got a similarly stupid penalty after he failed to catch a punt and then got pushed around and retaliated. But, since the Packers won, Fox gets the dumbest play award. What are these guys thinking? Probably, they are not thinking at all.
7 – Did Maurice Jones-Drew, or any other NFL player, tweet about the lack of courage of either Charles Woodson or Donald Driver (both excellent players and team leaders), both of whom were unable to finish the Super Bowl due to injury? Just asking.
8 – While the Vince Lombardi Trophy, emblematic of a Super Bowl victory, was “returned” to Green Bay, it wasn’t called the Vince Lombardi Trophy until after Vince Lombardi died in 1970.
9 – The biggest hero at the Super Bowl, by far, was Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, who got the greatest ovation when introduced at the Super Bowl. Giunta is the first living Medal of Honor recipient (for saving the lives of members of his squad in Afghanistan in 2007) since the Vietnam War.
10 – If you are keeping score at home, it’s Super Bowls Won:
Aaron Rodgers 1, Brett Favre, 1;
Super Bowl MVPs Won: Aaron Rodgers 1, Brett Favre 0.
What observations did you have of Super Bowl XLV? Sound off in the comments below!