>Tuesday Lunch: Super Bowl XLV Recap, Its Biggest Play, and More

Posted: February 8, 2011 in nfl, super bowl
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By Will Robinson

So. That happened. We may not have watched the greatest or the most entertaining Super Bowl, but the game was pretty damn good; the game also became the highest rated TV show in American history. The Super Bowl broke the record for the last three, maybe even four Super Bowls. The NFL is as hot as ever, and if a collective bargaining agreement is not figured out, then it will be one of the worst business decisions OF ALL TIME! Enron status, people. I’ll save all of this depressing, billionaire mumbo-jumbo for later when we are closer to the deadline. Until then, let’s talk about the big game.

Ultimately, the Packers obviously won and played very well the whole game. They were a trendy pick to represent the NFC, but one blog writer picked them to win the whole thing before the season started(THIS GUY! Yes, I will be Harkes/Uruguay-ing this – aka plugging this as much as possible). There were many great plays in the game, including this great interception for touchdown by Packer safety Nick Collins, but there was a far more crucial turnover in this game that completely turned the tides of the game.

 

At the tail end of the third quarter, Pittsburgh was trailing 21-17. Green Bay punter and fellow brother of the ginger clan Tim Masthay punted the ball a mediocre 32 yards, so the Steelers began their drive on the Packer 41. The Steelers were dominant throughout the whole quarter, and were on an offensive and defensive roll. The first play of the drive was a solid eight yard rush to the right by Rashard Mendenhall, who was pushed out of bounds by Desmond Bishop. The very next play, after a very entertaining commercial featuring the Fonz, the Steelers line up with an offset I formation to the left, and Mike Wallace to the right. Ben Roethlisberger took the handoff, and gave it to Mendenhall. Beastly linebacker Clay Matthews made first contact on the right side of the line, while defensive tackle Ryan Pickett sandwiched Mendenhall on the left. Matthews tackled exactly where Mendenhall held the ball, and sure enough, it popped loose. The ball popped out back and to the right, as two dumbfounded Pittsburgh linemen had their backs to the ball. Bishop flew to the ball and stumbled down to the Green Bay 45 following the third Steeler turnover of the game; the Packers reclaimed the game.

Eight drop backs later, quarterback Aaron Rodgers found stud receiver Greg Jennings in the right corner of the endzone for Rodgers’ third touchdown through the air of the night and Jennings’ second touchdown catch. Jennings lined up in the slot, a position he is known to be in when running a seam, but cut right and confused defensive player of the year Troy Polamalu. The Packers relentlessly capitalized on Pittsburgh’s wrongdoings, scoring a touchdown directly following all three of the Burgh’s turnovers.

 

The fumble was the momentum changer of the game. The Collins interception occurred early, and while it visibly loomed on the Pittsburgh offense throughout most of the game, the Packers were reeling for most of the third quarter. Pittsburgh moved the ball at will and was given great field position by dumb Green Bay penalties and poor punts. I had full confidence in Pittsburgh to score a touchdown on their drive – and then the fumble happened. I even believed that Green Bay left too much time at the end of the game, and Roethlisberger could steal a close one as the time ticked to 00:00. Alas, that was not the case, and as many pundits have already stated, the Lombardi trophy has come home.

 

As I alluded to earlier, this game was not THE best of the last few years; but that is at no fault of this game. We have been lucky enough to see a bunch of great Super Bowls over the last four years. I would like to quickly rank the last ten Super Bowls based on a few factors: the importance of the game in history, overall excitement of the game, closeness, and storylines.

 

10. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, 2006

· This is a bit of an upset, as there is another game that wasn’t nearly as close. This game was one of the most BORING games I have ever seen. It wasn’t 3-2 game, but it will be marred in history by the HORRENDOUS officiating against Seattle. This did spark Pittsburgh on winning another Super Bowl, and making another. The only compelling thing about this game was that it was Jerome Bettis’ last game, and he finished his career on top in his home town.

 

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Oakland Raiders, 48-21, 2003

· The only blowout of the last ten big games didn’t fall in the last spot for a few reasons: the storylines. Jon Gruden got to stick it to his former boss and team in Al Davis and the Raiders. The Bucs finally ended their pain as one of the worst franchises in the NFL, but there was another spectacular storyline: Barret Robbins. I don’t want to insult or talk about Robbins’ problems in a poor light, but in case you don’t know what happened, long story short, he forgot to take his depression medication and ended up in Tijuana. By the time he was found, Raider Coach Bill Callahan could not play him. I doubt a Pro Bowl center could make up 27, the Robbins’ story was fascinating. Nothing can go wrong with a ton of big defensive plays, too!

 

8. Indianapolis Colts vs. prince460Chicago Bears, 29-17, 2007

· This game was terrible. The highlight of this game was Prince playing “Purple Rain” at halftime. That’s not true, as Devin Hester returned the opening kick for a touchdown, but the rest of the game wasn’t spectacular. Peyton Manning won the MVP with a 247 yard, one touchdown one pick performance. Not his best game, but he was gonna win no matter what.

 

7. New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, 2005

· This matchup was surprising because so many people HAD expected it in the pre-season. Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb led the Eagles offense, and New England was trying to establish a dynasty. It was a three point win, but it was the only championship where New England did not Vinatieri as time expired. Owens gave an inspiring performance, as he played on a bum leg, with nine catches and 122 yards. In the end, it was all about the three rings in four years for the Pats.

 

6. New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers, 32-29, 2004

· As far as Super Bowls go, this wasn’t a particularly compelling game, but it was an exciting one. Tom Brady was trying for his second Super Bowl win in three years, and the Panthers rolled through the NFC playoffs. It came down to some more Vinatieri magic at the end, which added to the explosive fourth quarter.

 

5. New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, 2010

· This game was similar to the Bucs game, in the sense that it removed the tag of “losing franchise” from the Saints. The game was very good, and the score doesn’t represent how close this game was, mainly because of Tracy Porter’s perfect interception touchdown. Drew Brees had a great game, but this was all about the city of New Orleans having something to cheer about and come together with after Hurricane Katrina. The win uplifted the whole region.

 

4. Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, 2011

 

3. New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams, 20-17, 2002

· This was a changing of the guard, as the Rams were the high-powered offense led by MVP Kurt Warner. The Patriots were the young guns, led by second year quarterback Tom Brady, trying to dethrone the great offense. This was the first Super Bowl after 9/11, and U2’s halftime performance was the greatest of all time. It was very touching and emotional, and when I found the clip, the opening still gave me chills. And, of course, the PATRIOTS were the first Super Bowl champion after our country’s largest attack on our soil. Perfect. It could have been number one if the game were as intense as my number one game.

 

2. New York Giants vs. New England Patriots, 17-14, 2008

a. Pretty obvious here. 19-0 on the line, and the Patriots could not get it done. An all-time highlight, which was the LAST catch of David Tyree’s career, defined this game, hands down. The Patriots missed their chance at immortality, and who knows when we will see this again.

 

1. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, 2009image

· This game was phenomenal on so many levels. It featured one of the all-time great plays in Super Bowl history (Harrison), the greatest Super Bowl touchdown catch of all time (Santonio Holmes), and a receiver with a post-season performance of the ages (Fitzgerald had 30+ catches, 500+ yards, and seven touchdowns in four games. Yeah.) Roethlisberger’s and Holmes’ pitch and catch with less than three minutes left was one of the best two-minute drives I have seen conducted. Also, Kurt Warner now owns the top three passing yard performances in Super Bowl history. I re-watched this game a few days ago, and it was still exciting.

 

As always, this NFL season was great and even more unpredictable than usual, and I will be very depressed if the CBA is not figured out sometime soon. Please, owners. Do not do this to the fans. I am not sure when I will be writing next, but I will definitely write about the CBA at the deadline, whether the problem is resolved or not, and NFL Draft stuff. Have a nice off-season, everyone.

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