The Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the Packers’ Hall of Fame coach after winning Super Bowls I and II, is going home. After a phenomenal postseason, Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to a 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first championship in 14 seasons and fourth Super Bowl win.
The Packers exploded to an early 14-0 lead after scoring twice in 24 seconds and held a 21-3 lead in the second quarter thanks to two Rodgers’ touchdown passes and a pick-six by safety Nick Collins, one of two interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger in the first half. The Steelers drew closer with a touchdown to close out the half, leaving them behind 21-10.
By halftime, Packers’ veterans, wide receiver Donald Driver and cornerback Charles Woodson, last year’s defensive player of the year, were ruled out for the game with injuries. Steelers’ receiver Emmanuel Sanders was also ruled out with a foot injury at the half.
After forcing the Packers to punt on the opening drive of the second half, the Steelers scored another quick touchdown to bring themselves within four points early in the third quarter. After being forced to punt four times in the third quarter, the Packers would force Steelers’ running back Rashard Mendenhall to fumble the ball on the first play of the fourth quarter. Eight plays later, Rodgers threw an eight-yard pass to Greg Jennings for his second touchdown catch of the night.
Pittsburgh would answer quickly once again. The Steelers drove 66 yards and would cap the drive-off with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace. The Steelers would convert on a two-point conversion, narrowing the gap at 28-25. The Packers killed more than five minutes on the next drive and would put up three more points. The Steelers were given one last chance with about two minutes left in the game, down six points. After two completions, Roethlisberger would throw three straight incomplete passes, clinching the game for the Packers.
The Steelers gave the game away right from the start. The Packers scored 21 of their 31 points off of turnovers, answering on all three of Pittsburgh’s giveaways. The Packers did not turn the ball over once. Aaron Rodgers earned his MVP award with three touchdown passes and a very impressive 111.5 quarterback rating. Defensive player of the year Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison were almost invisible after standout seasons for the Steelers.
The Packers became just the second team to ever win the Super Bowl as the sixth seed in the playoffs. The 2005 Steelers were the last to do so after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
The Packers won two straight must-win games in the final weeks of the season to earn the sixth seed with a 10-6 record. They went on to win road playoff games in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago to earn themselves the chance to take on the Steelers for the ultimate goal.
This Super Bowl set a record for American television viewing for a second straight year. An estimated 111 million viewers watched as Green Bay took home the Lombardi Trophy. This Super Bowl will be one to remember after two of the most storied franchises in NFL history competed for the championship.