February 6, 2011: Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium was a matchup between two of the most storied teams in NFL history. The Green Bay Packers were back in the Super Bowl for the first time since Brett Favre, while the Steelers were going for a record 7 Super Bowl championships, and the third under quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But on this day, it would be Rodgers' and the Packers' time to shine brightest on the game's biggest stage.
The Packers (10-6) road to the Super Bowl was not an easy one. In fact, they became the first NFC No. 6 seed ever to make it to the Super Bowl. And they had to defeat the top 3 seeds in the NFC to get there. But this team was loaded, especially at receiver with Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, and tight end Jermichael Finley. And they boasted the second-ranked defense behind Clay Matthew and A.J. Hawk at linebacker, and 13-year veteran Charles Woodson in the secondary.
The Steelers (12-4) overcame the 4-game suspension of Roethlisberger to start the season when he violated the league's personal conduct policy. The No. 2 seed Steelers won hard fought battles with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets to advance to the Super Bowl. Roethlisberger had a pair of stud receivers in Mike Wallace and Hines Ward, the reliable tight end Heath Miller, and Rashard Mendenhall at running back. The Steelers had one of the league's top defenses, leading the NFL in sacks (48), and fewest points (14.5) and rushing yards (62.8) allowed per game, while ranking second in fewest total yards (276.8). They also had NFL Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu.
Everything indicated this was going to be a spectacular game. And it was. But it actually didn't start out that way, looking like Rodgers and the Packers were going to route the Steelers. Green Bay held a 21-3 lead after a Rodgers touchdown to Nelson, an interception returned for a TD, and another Rodgers strike to Jennings.
The Steelers then got it going on a Roethlisberger 8-yard touchdown to Ward right before half, making it 21-10. Both teams were banged up in a physical game, especially the Packers, who lost Driver, Woodson, and safety Sam Shields to injuries in the first half.
The Steelers would take advantage in the second half. Mendenhall finished off a long drive with an 8-yard touchdown, and suddenly it was a nail-bitter. The third Steelers turnover would lead to another Jennings touchdown reception to start the fourth quarter. giving Green Bay a 28-17 advantage. Roethlisberger, however, kept his foot on the gas and answered back, throwing a 25-yard TD to Wallace, and the team got the 2-point conversion, making it 28-25.
Green Bay would get the ball with 7 minutes left in the fourth, and put together a drive. The Steelers would hold them to a field goal, making it 31-25 with 2:07 remaining in the game. Big Ben and the Steelers had a chance to win it with a TD, but on the final drive the Packers D stiffened up and forced a turnover of downs, making the Packers Super Bowl champs.
Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP, completing 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns. Here's to you Aaron, and the rest of the 2010 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.