As this is the first column after the Super Bowl I just had to devote it to all the events that took place at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday evening. I apologize to any Steelers fans if I’m reminding them of the loss, but the game was an interesting one and remained captivating until the last minutes of the fourth quarter. Here are a couple of thoughts on Super Bowl XLV:
Even before the game started, this Super Bowl was set up by a string of unfortunate events. Earlier in the week, snow storms kept many planes from coming into Dallas. Not only that, but ice fell off the roof of the stadium and injured six people. Lastly, some seats in the upper part of the stadium were not installed completely and four hundred fans who paid for those seats had to watch the game outside in the cold. Although choosing Cowboys Stadium seemed like a great idea before the season started, the Super Bowl may not return here for a while.
Another miscue took place during the national anthem. I unfortunately missed Christina Aguilera’s version, but from what I’ve heard it seems that she decided to improvise on some of the lyrics. Her mistake was not a very huge one but it still definitely is embarrassing to sing the national anthem incorrectly in front of a national audience.
The beginning of the game also featured a couple mistakes by the players. Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson had a ball go right through his hands on an early play, and Steelers tight end Heath Miller tipped the ball only moments afterwards. The defenses came out strong, but it seemed as though both offenses looked a bit nervous.
An alarming amount of these players ended up getting injured during the game, including the notoriously tough Packers stars Donald Driver and Charles Woodson, who went down and did not return. It just goes to show how hard these guys are playing and it was good to see everyone put it all out there and risk everything, since after all it is the Super Bowl.
I can’t really judge the halftime show, but the entrance the Black Eyed Peas made was pretty cool. Especially in Cowboys Stadium — entering from the ceiling deserves some respect. If professors entered class like that, I would be excited to go to class every day.
I felt very bad for a particular cameraman on the sidelines after Rashard Mendenhall had a great run near the sideline and a Packers defender pushed the sprinting 225-pound, 5-10 Mendenhall into the cameraman. That guy didn’t stand a chance and although Mendenhall seemed bothered after colliding into the camera he continued to run hard throughout the game and even scored a touchdown soon after.
With the Steelers down four and the momentum completely in their favor, Shaun Suisham gave a bit back with a 52-yard field goal attempt that went completely off — and I mean completely off. I know Suisham is a good kicker and he also became the team’s punter recently but being that wide left during the Super Bowl is pretty unforgivable.
I was pretty disappointed by Troy Polamalu’s virtual absence in the game. Sure he had three tackles, but he wasn’t the dynamic playmaker that the Steelers and many fans expected. He even made some key mistakes that led to a few of the Green Bay touchdowns.
Conversely, the other long haired defensive freak Clay Matthews showed up big time. His defining moment — and perhaps the game’s defining moment — was when he forced a fumble on Mendenhall, which was recovered by Green Bay and led to an eventual Greg Jennings touchdown. That forced a lot of pressure on Pittsburgh to score (which they did) and set up the dramatic late game finish.
Sure Aaron Rodgers deserved the MVP especially with the great stats that resulted from spreading the offense to eight receivers for over 300 yards and three touchdowns; however, I did not think he was the most clutch performer on the field. One can just look at his poor third down efficiency, which came out to less than 50 percent. In terms of being clutch and deciding the game, Greg Jennings came through in multiple ways. Not only did Jennings compile two end zone catches, he also had the 31-yard reception that decided the game as it resulted in a Mason Crosby field goal. In the end I felt that it was Jennings who put the team on his back and led the Packers to their fourth Super Bowl victory.