Super Bowl: Green Bay Packers hold on to beat Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25; Aaron Rodgers is MVP
Monday, February 7, 2011; 12:34 AM
ARLINGTON, TEX. - The Green Bay Packers recaptured their glorious past and returned to the top of the football world here Sunday evening. They sprinted to a first-half lead, withstood a comeback bid by the Pittsburgh Steelers and held on to win, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, two of them to wide receiver Greg Jennings, as the Packers captured their fourth Super Bowl title and 13th NFL championship including the pre-Super Bowl era. They handed the Steelers only their second Super Bowl defeat in eight appearances.
"It was a special night tonight," said Rodgers, who completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and was named the game's most valuable player. "We've been through a lot this year. To be able to finish it like this was really something special."
Rodgers threw first-half touchdown passes to wide receiver Jordy Nelson and Jennings as the Packers crafted a 21-3 advantage. Safety Nick Collins added a touchdown on an interception return. The Steelers got to 21-17 on a touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Hines Ward in the final minute of the first half and a third-quarter touchdown run by tailback Rashard Mendenhall.
The Packers briefly got some fourth-quarter breathing room on Jennings's second touchdown catch, but Roethlisberger's 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace and a two-point conversion run by wideout Antwaan Randle El on an option play got the Steelers to 28-25 with about 7 1/2 minutes to play.
A 23-yard field goal by place kicker Mason Crosby with 2 minutes 7 seconds left upped Green Bay's lead to six points. The Steelers' final attempt for a record-setting comeback ended on Roethlisberger's fourth-down incompletion with 49 seconds to go.
"It's very disappointing," Steelers linebacker James Farrior said. "We didn't play as well as we should have - way too many mistakes. When you're playing in the Super Bowl, you're playing against a good team and you can't make that many mistakes. They created three turnovers with their defense and we didn't create any."
The Steelers couldn't overcome their three turnovers, two first-half interceptions thrown by Roethlisberger and a fourth-quarter fumble lost by Mendenhall.
The game was played before 91,060 paid customers, including those standing outside on a plaza. The NFL announced that, including those with credentials, there were 103,219 on hand to watch, just shy of the Super Bowl attendance record.
The Steelers were playing in the Super Bowl for the third time in the past six years. The Packers were back on the sport's biggest stage for the first time since losing to the Denver Broncos on Jan. 25, 1998, in the second of consecutive Super Bowl appearances under former coach Mike Holmgren and then-quarterback Brett Favre. To get here, the sixth-seeded Packers beat the top three seeds in the NFC playoffs, all on the road.
Packers Coach Mike McCarthy had his players fitted for their prospective Super Bowl rings Saturday night as a motivational ploy.