Packers win classic Super Bowl over Steelers

Green Bay 31 Pittsburgh 25

The Green Bay Packers reclaimed the greatest prize in North American sport when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 yesterday to win the 45th Super Bowl.

Inspired by their dynamic young quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers gave a masterclass demonstration, opening up a 21-3 lead in the second quarter and then showing amazing courage to survive a ferocious late comeback from the Steelers.

It was game that lived up to all the hype as two of the most successful franchises in the NFL slugged it out in front of a crowd of more than 100,000 at Cowboys Stadium.

They scored seven touchdowns between them but it was game characterised by hard-hitting defense as both teams lost key players, including Packers receiver Donald Driver and his team mate cornerback Charles Woodson, to injuries.

"We just kept battling. We had some adversity, we lost some guys to injuries and we had some rough plays out there," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said.

"We knew it was going to be a heavyweight slug match. We knew it was going to come down to the wire."

Rodgers, who emerged from the shadows of his predecessor Brett Favre, was named MVP after completing 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and throwing three touchdown passes but there were plenty of other worthy contenders for the award.

Greg Jennings scored two touchdowns, Jordy Nelson scored one (among his nine receptions) and Nick Collins intercepted a wayward pass from Ben Roethlisberger and raced 37 yards for a TD in the first quarter that gave the Packers a 14-0 lead.

"Wow, wow, wow," shrieked Jennings. "It's a great day to be great, baby."

The Steelers, who were chasing a record seventh Super Bowl win, were brave in defeat.

They never led but pulled to within 28-25 midway through the fourth quarter when a costly turnover, their third of the night, handed the momentum back to Green Bay.

"We're not into moral victories," Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin growled.

"We came here to win the football game and of course we didn't do that."

For the Packers, it was their fourth Super Bowl win. Only the Steelers (six), Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers (five each) have won more.

With a population of 102,000 Green Bay is the smallest city in the U.S. with an NFL team but few franchises have a more sentimental attachment to the Super Bowl than the residents of Wisconsin.

The Packers won the first two Super Bowls, in 1967 and 1968, and the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is presented to the winning team, is named after their legendary coach.

"The Vince Lombardi Trophy is finally going back home," McCarthy said.

Although the Packers were the slight favourites to win Sunday's game, they overcame some incredible obstacles just to get to the big one as the casualties starting mounting up during the season.

They needed to win their last two regular season games to secure a wildcard berth into the postseason and then win three playoff games on the road to win the NFC championship.

Green Bay threatened to turn the game into a rout when Rodgers picked out Jennings in the end zone with a superb 21-yard pass to give the Packers a 21-3 second-quarter lead.

The Steelers began to claw their way back with Roethlisberger hitting Hines Ward on an eight-yard TD pass before Rashard Mendenhall scored on an eight-yard run.

A second Jennings touchdown gave the Packers some breathing room at 28-17 but the Steelers set up a grandstand finish when Mike Wallace collected a 25-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger and Antwaan Randle El completed a two-point conversion.

However, a 23-yard field goal from Mason Crosby with just over two minutes left gave the Packers the six-point lead they maintained until the end as the Steelers failed to mount one last challenge.

"What a great football game with two classic teams," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

"The smallest city in the league has won the biggest game."

While the game did live up to all expectations, there was some embarrassment for the NFL when more than 400 fans were unable to get in to the $1.2 billion stadium because they ran out of temporary seats.

The NFL paid them each three times the face value of their tickets and ordered an investigation into the mix-up.

Grammy winner Christina Aguilera also fumbled a line of the national anthem during the pre-game presentation but the Black Eyed Peas performed a dazzling half-time show watched by an estimated television audience of more than 100 million.

newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003