Super Bowl XLV was the 45th annual edition of the Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the modern-era National Football League (NFL) to determine the 91st team to become NFL World Champions. The Green Bay Packers (2010 NFC champions) defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers (the AFC champions) to become the undisputed NFL world champions of the 2010 season, winning 31-25. The game was held before 103,219 fans at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the game's Most Valuable Player after throwing three touchdown passes.
This marked the fourth Super Bowl championship (in five games) for the Packers and NFL-leading 13th overall NFL championship. It was the eighth appearance in the Super Bowl for the Steelers (who hold the record with 6 Super Bowl wins).
Green Bay PackersEdit
The Green Bay Packers finished the season with a 10–6 record and became only the second #6 seeded team to reach the Super Bowl. They defeated the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field and will be playing in their fifth Super Bowl. The only other #6 seed to reach the Super Bowl was the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won Super Bowl XL following the 2005 season. Green Bay also joined the 2005 Steelers as the only teams ever to defeat the top three seeded teams on the road in the playoffs.
The offense was led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was in his third year as a starter after taking over for the team's all time leading passer Brett Favre. Rodgers finished the season completing 65.7% of his passes for 3,912 yards and 28 touchdowns, with only ten interceptions, giving him his second consecutive season with a triple digit passer rating (101.2). He was also a good rusher, adding 356 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. His top target was Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings, who caught 76 passes for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns, giving him a 16.6 yards per catch average while also ranking him fourth in the NFL in yards and second in touchdown catches. Other reliable targets included receivers James Jones (50 receptions, 676 yards, 5 TDs), Donald Driver (51 receptions, 565 yards, 4 TDs), and Jordy Nelson (45 receptions, 582 yards, 496 kick return yards). The Packers lost star tight end Jermichael Finley (21 receptions 301 yards, 1 td) to injury in week five who was then their leading receiver at the time.
The Packers ground game was crippled by the injury of Ryan Grant, who had rushed for over 1,200 yards in each of the last two years. In his absence, the team relied on prominently on Brandon Jackson, who rushed for 703 yards and caught 43 passes for 342, along with fullback John Kuhn, who added 281 yards on the ground. In the playoffs, the Packers switched to rookie James Starks, who rushed for 263 yards in three road games on 70 carries. The team's offensive line was anchored Pro Bowl tackle Chad Clifton, an 11-year veteran.
The Packers defensive ranked second in the league in fewest points allowed per game (15). The line was led by Cullen Jenkins, who racked up 7 sacks in just 11 games, and 338-pound defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who had 6.5. Behind them, Green Bay had two superb linebackers in Pro Bowler Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk. Matthews ranked fourth in the NFL with 13.5 sacks, while Hawk led the team in combined tackles (111) and intercepted three passes. Three of the Packers starters in the secondary had made the Pro Bowl. Tramon Williams led the team with a career high 6 interceptions, while adding 326 punt return yards. Other Pro Bowl selections included safety Nick Collins (4 interceptions and 70 combined tackles) and hard hitting 13-year veteran cornerback Charles Woodson, who recorded 92 total tackles and forced five fumbles, while also intercepting two passes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2010 season with a 12–4 record. They earned the AFC North division title, and the second seed in the AFC and advanced to their 8th Super Bowl, tying the Dallas Cowboys' record of most Super Bowl appearances.
This was the third Super Bowl appearance for the Steelers since Ben Roethlisberger became the team's starter in 2004. However, Roethlisberger was hindered by off-field problems before the season began. For the second time since 2008, he was accused of misconduct and sexual assault, this time accused of raping a 20-year old college student. No charges were ever filed, but in response, the NFL suspended him for the first four games of the year due to a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. Still, the team managed to win three of those four games, and after Roethlisberger returned following a Week 5 bye, he led them to a 11–3 finish over the rest of the year.
Roethlisberger finished the season with 3,200 yards and 17 touchdowns, with just 5 interceptions, giving him a 97.0 passer rating. He also rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns. The team's top receiver was Mike Wallace who caught 60 passes for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns, giving him a 21 yards per catch average. Other reliable options included 13-year veteran Hines Ward (59 receptions for 755 yards and 5 TDs), the Steelers all-time leading receiver, and tight end Heath Miller who caught 42 passes for 512 yards. Halfback Rashard Mendenhall was the team's leading rusher, gaining 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns while also catching 23 passes. The line was led by rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers only Pro Bowl selection on offense. However, Pouncey was injured in the AFC Championship Game and is doubtful for Super Bowl XLV.
The Steelers had a superb defense, 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). The line was anchored by Pro Bowl tackle Brett Keisel. The Steelers also had four excellent linebackers: LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, James Farrior, and Lawrence Timmons. For the third year in a row, Woodley and Harrison both recorded at least 10 sacks each. Woodley also forced three fumbles and Harrison forced six. Farrior had 109 total tackles and six sacks. Timmons led the team with 135 total tackles, while also recording three sacks and two interceptions. The secondary was led by NFL Defensive Player of the Year safety Troy Polamalu, who intercepted seven passes and returned them for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Coach Mike Tomlin, already the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl, became the youngest coach ever to make it to the Super Bowl twice (age 38).
1st Qtr: Packers take 14-0 leadEdit
After the first three drives of the game ended with punts, the Green Bay Packers opened up the scoring with an Aaron Rodgers' 29-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, who managed to make a leaping catch and fall into the end zone. Then on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was hit by the Packers' Howard Green as he threw a pass, causing the ball to go well short of his intended target near the left sideline where it was intercepted by Nick Collins and returned 37 yards for a touchdown, giving Green Bay a 14-0 lead.
2nd Qtr: Packers suffer injuriesEdit
During the second quarter, Pittsburgh managed to respond, driving 49 yards in 13 plays including Roethlisberger's 18-yard run on 3rd down and 9. Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham finished the drive with a 33-yard field goal to cut the score to 14-3. Then after Donald Driver suffered an ankle injury and were forced to punt, the Steelers drove to midfield, but turned the ball over again when Roethlisberger's pass was intercepted by defensive back Jarrett Bush at the 47.
Rodgers led the Packers to another score, completing two passes for 20 yards before James Starks' 12-yard run moved the ball to the 21-yard line. On the next play, Green Bay increased their lead to 21-3 with Rodgers' 21-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings.
Taking the ball back with 2:24 left in the second quarter, Pittburgh stormed back, starting with Roethlisberger's 37-yard completion to Antwaan Randle El on their first play. On the play, cornerbacks Sam Shields suffered an injury and then captain Charles Woodson had to leave the game. With two of the Packers top corners out, receiver Hines Ward caught 3 passes for 39 yards on the drive, the last reception coming on an 8-yard touchdown catch with just 37 seconds left in the half, making the score 21-10 at halftime.
At halftime, Woodson was informed he had a broken collarbone and would not be physically able to return. As the 13-year NFL veteran who had never won the Super Bowl, Woodson tried to give a motivational speech to win the game without him, but couldn't get far in his message before breaking down crying. The gesture however, motivated the team through the second half.
3rd Qtr: Steelers charge backEdit
Pittsburgh's defense forced Green Bay to punt on the first drive of the second half, and got the ball at midfield thanks to a questionable facemask call on Tom Crabtree while tackling Antonio Brown on the punt return. The Steelers stormed down the field, scoring with just five plays (all runs). First, Rashard Mendenhall broke free along with right sideline for a 17-yard run. Then, Isaac Redman crashed through the middle for 3 yards, and Roethlisberger ran for 6, bringing up third down and 1. On the next play, Redman tried to run up the middle, but was held up at the line, so he backed away and ran to the outside for a 16-yard gain to the 8-yard line. Then Mendenhall scored an 8-yard touchdown run on the next play, making the score 21-17.
After forcing a punt, Pittsburgh mounted a drive to the Packers 29-yard line, but Green Bay's defense made a key stand. First, Roethlisberger's pass was batted down behind the line by blitzing linebacker Clay Matthews. Then Roethlisberger tried a screen pass to tight end Heath Miller, but Desmond Bishop tackled him for a 3-yard loss. On third down, Frank Zombo sacked Roethlisberger on the 34, and Suisham's ensuing 52-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
4th Qtr: Packers clinch Super Bowl XLVEdit
On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Steelers lost their third turnover of the game when Mendenhall fumbled the ball while being tackled behind the line by Matthews. Bishop recovered the ball and returned it 7 yards to the Packers 45. Five plays later on third down and 10, Rodgers completed a 38-yard pass to Nelson at the Steelers 2-yard line. Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley sacked him for a 6-yard loss on the next play, but he made up for it with a 8-yard touchdown pass to Jennings after that, increasing the Packers lead to 28-17.
Roethlisberger led the Steelers right back with 6 of 7 completions. After a 9-yard pass to tight end Matt Spaeth, he threw three completions to receiver Mike Wallace for 27 yards to the Green Bay 40-yard line. Then after a 15-yard completion to Ward, he finished the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Wallace. The Steelers went for a two-point conversion play, where Roethlisberger faked a handoff to Mendenhall and ran up to the line before pitching the ball to Randle El, who scored on an outside sweep, cutting the Steelers deficit to 3 points at 28-25.
Green Bay took the ball back with just over 7 minutes left, and found themselves facing third down and 10 after three plays. But Rodgers kept the drive going with a 31-yard completion to Jennings over the middle. Then Starks ran 14 yards to the Steelers 30. Two plays later, James Jones caught a 21-yard pass at the 8. The Steelers defense managed to keep Green Bay out of the end zone, but Mason Crosby's 23-yard field goal gave them a 31-25 lead with 2:07 left in regulation.
Pittsburgh got the ball back on their own 13-yard line following a penalty on the kickoff. On their first play, Roethlisberger completed a 15-yard pass to Miller. But after a 5-yard reception by Ward, his next three passes were incomplete, turning the ball over and allowing the Packers to run out the rest of the clock.
MVP: Aaron RodgersEdit
Aaron Rodgers completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdown passes. He was selected as the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player of the game, joining Bart Starr and Desmond Howard as the only Packers to be awarded such an honor. The following day, he was given the Pete Rozelle Award and given a brand new car in addition to a free trip to Disneyland.
Green Bay's Jordy Nelson was the top receiver of the game with 9 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown, while also gaining 19 more yards on a kick return. Greg Jennings added 64 yards on 4 receptions and 2 touchdowns. James Starks was the only running back to rush the ball for the Packers, rushing for 52 yards on 11 carries.
For Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger completed 25 of 40 passes for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions, and ran for 31 yards. His top target was Mike Wallace, who caught 9 passes for 89 yards and a score. Rashard Mendenhall was the top rusher of the game with 64 yards and a touchdown, but a costly fumble.
Pittsburgh defense vs. Green Bay offenseEdit
Green Bay defense vs. Pittsburgh offenseEdit