By Adam Ondo
The Pittsburgh Steelers took up Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” as their theme song this postseason, claiming to know that “what it is” related to their team’s night-like colors. More importantly, the song served as the Steelers’ soundtrack, as they mounted an unyielding charge through the playoffs en route to their eighth Super Bowl appearance — the most of any NFL franchise ever.
As the champions of Super Bowl XLV, however, it’s clear that the Green Bay Packers know what “it” is even more.
“It” is not just showing up. It’s showing up in style and getting done what needs to be done.
Thus, it was only fitting that the team stepped onto the stage of America’s most viewed televised program and played in front of over 100,000 fans. And even more so, and as everyone now knows, they didn’t just play — they won.
With their amazing performance, the Packers secured their fourth Lombardi Trophy, beating the Steelers in a Super Bowl that started off slow but grew more intense throughout the game.
The Packers dominated the first quarter with two touchdowns — one of which was an interception return — to open up a 14-point lead.
The team made it into the end zone again in the second quarter on a 21-yard pass to receiver Greg Jennings. This quarter also saw the beginning of the Steelers’ creeping attempt at a comeback, as Pittsburgh managed both a field goal and touchdown. The touchdown was receiver Hines Ward’s second on the Super Bowl stage, his first being in the 2006 game versus Seattle.
Up 21-10 at half time, the third quarter was largely quiet, with the exception of an eight-yard touchdown run by Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall, who claimed the title of the game’s top rusher with 63 yards and a touchdown on the day.
In the fourth quarter, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit Jennings for his second touchdown reception. Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby scored the last points of the game with a field goal, making the final score 31-25 Green Bay.
Before the game, analyst and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber went into the annals of football history and discovered an applicable piece of trivia — the G on the Packers’ helmet stands for greatness.
If only Barber knew how right his little tidbit of knowledge would end up being. The mere fact that Green Bay stayed ahead of a relentless Steelers offense for the entire game shows that it is a team that can handle any opponent, attesting to the greatness Barber noted.
Rodgers exploited the Steelers’ aggressive, blitz-crazy defense with an aerial assault, exploiting Pittsburgh’s only true weakness, and piled up 304 yards and three touchdowns.
Rodgers’ astonishing ability was not the only factor in Pittsburgh’s defeat, as he received help from his counterpart, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw two interceptions. Mendenhall was no help to the Steelers’ cause either, fumbling the ball once to hand the ball right back over to the Packers.
Rodgers’ terrific Super Bowl exhibition earned him MVP honors, something neither his predecessors Brett Favre, the last Packers quarterback who debated retirement for many months before signing with the New York Jets, nor Roethlisberger have never attained.
Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, a ferocious presence in recent Steelers history, was not present to make an awesome play in the last minutes of the game, as he has been in Super Bowls past, but this year’s edition still featured impressive performances by two of the more formidable teams in the NFL.
Rodgers proved he was the better of the two quarterbacks in a game that was played primarily in the air. With only one rushing touchdown between both teams, the Rodgers and Roethlisberger were heavily depended upon to connect with their receivers and make plays that counted, time after time. Rodgers used a wide array of weapons, hitting eight different receivers, and didn’t throw any interceptions.
With the victory, the Green Bay Packers hauled the Lombardi trophy back home to the legions of fans awaiting their return. The late Vince Lombardi, the great Packers’ coach for nearly a decade and the trophy’s namesake, would be proud.
Ondo is a member of the class of 2014.