Tag Archives: Super Bowl 45

Aaron Rodgers Stands Alone

For Aaron Rodgers, this was worth the wait.

Aaron Rodgers stood on a stage on the 50 yard line with confetti falling all around him like the snowflakes that littered the Dallas area the previous week.

He held the Vince Lombardi trophy in one hand and linebacker Clay Matthews rested a WWE Championship belt across his shoulder.

His smile was as wide as that gigantic HD TV that spans from one 20 yard line to another in Cowboys Stadium as he banged his chest and saluted the Packers faithful.

The moment was his, years and a ton of baggage in the making.

Ever since his senior high school year when Rodgers was offered not one scholarship he has had to prove his worth and has never complained. Not when Cal was passed up for Texas in the Rose Bowl, not when he had to wait in a green room for four and a half hours in the 2005 NFL Draft and saw Alex Smith, Matt Jones and Troy Williamson picked ahead of him, and not when he had to endure three seasons of the Brett Favre saga while he sat behind him ready for action.

If it wasn’t waiting it was the criticism of his game.

Some viewed him as cocky, some said his arm wasn’t strong enough to make him an NFL quarterback, some said he would wilt under the pressure of the legacy that Favre left behind. GM Ted Thompson knew better.

Thompson knew what he had in Rodgers ever since that long day in New York 6 years ago when he fell from a possible #1 to the 23rd player selected in the draft.

Ted Thompson ended Rodgers' draft day horrors and knew he could be the man in Green Bay.

He knew Rodgers m.o., that he was a hard worker, that he wanted to improve his game and did what it took to do it.

No school wanted him, he went to Butte Community College. Jeff Tedford found him and put him in his system than helped make Akili Smith and Joey Harrington NFL Draft pick and Rodgers excelled. Fast forward to the draft and while San Fran felt Alex Smith was a better fit (oops) Thompson knew better.

He scooped up Rodgers and picked him to succeed Favre much to his, and critics, disliking. Rodgers developed so well that after the 2008 NFC Championship game the Packers didn’t want to go through another Favre episode and pushed ahead with Rodgers. Even when Favre changed his mind the message was clear, Aaron Rodgers is our guy.

Thompson looks like a genius.

After an up and down first year Rodgers excelled in his second year and took the Packers to the playoffs behind a monster year where he became the game’s best passer when it comes to the deep ball (so much for him having a weak arm). However, after losing to the Arizona Cardinals new questions carried into this season as to whether or not he was capable of coming through in the clutch. Was he the kind of guy who could lead Green Bay to the top of the division and into the playoffs. All he did was answer the bell every single this year and in the process put himself into the same class of quarterback as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

Whenever the injuries mounted and key players like Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and others went down, Rodgers kept the troops moving. Even after suffering two concussions that knocked him out of a Sunday night match against New England Rodgers returned with a vengeance and led a masterful run to playoffs that saw Rodgers destroy defences like the Giants and Falcons and amaze everyone with his strong arm and fancy feet.

Not only did he win big games, he was dominant. Three scores versus the Eagles. A 31-36, 366 yard performance versus Atlanta that left us shaking our heads and dropping our jaws. In a dog fight against the Bears he wasn’t his best, but he steadied his offense against a very good defense and put the Packers in the the Super Bowl.

All he did there was turn the Steel Curtain into a pair of cotton drapes.

Rodgers has separated himself from Brett Favre for good.

Rodgers executed Mike McCarthy’s pass heavy game game plan to perfection as he caught the Steelers secondary out of position and never let their pass rushers become effective. His quick release and timing with his receivers made life hell for Troy Polamalu and James Harrison and they never were a factor.

Rodgers never lost his poise even when Donald Driver was lost to injury and his receivers let him down with more than a handful of drops (hi Jordy Nelson). He continued to stick with them and Nelson and others atoned for their sins. When Ben Roethlisberger’s final pass fell incomplete, Rodgers leapt in the air in jubilation and took the final snap to seal his victory.

He no longer had to prove anything to anyone or wait his turn, this is his time and his legacy that was being built.

This was the moment he and Thompson had envisioned and had come to pass. At 27, Rodgers has equaled his predecessor (favre) in titles and vanquished the bitterness he left in his departure. Though he claims there was no bitterness to be had trust me that Rodgers is happy that he never has to hear about Brett Favre again in regards to his name.
Favre is long gone, this is Rodgers team now. There are more 12’s than 4’s in the stands. There is no talk of the old man with young man’s enthusiasm or the old gunslinger, instead there is the precision passer with a cannon for an arm and an infectious swagger that can’t be knocked.

Aaron Rodgers rough road and triumph is reason for any player to smile. He has overcome doubts in his game and a legend that wouldn’t die to become a champion. He never once complained, showed anger, or frustration. He was patient and when the time came he let his game do the talking.

For Rodgers, patience has most certainly been a virtue. He’ got the hardware to prove it.


The Reason Why We Hate The Pittsburgh Steelers

Don't feel bad about hating the Pittsburgh Steelers. It happens when winning becomes a habit

Back in the 90’s when I was a San Francisco 49ers fan I remembered their rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. It dated back to “The Catch” in 1981 (even though other than that game you couldn’t name me one big 49ers-Cowboys game from 81-92) and ran from their NFC title in 1992 until the end of the decade.

 

To be honest with you I couldn’t understand what the big deal was with the rivalry. I never really hated the Cowboys up until they beat the niners in 92 and then again in 93. Its not like they were in the same division like they are now with the Giants, they just beat my favorite team and then they continued winning.

 

That’s how most of these “most hated” teams in each sport become so hated, they win too much and we as fans become so sickened by them that we don’t care who beats them as long as they lose.

 

How do you think teams like the Yankees, Red Wings and Lakers became so hated? They always win.

 

I went to a Capitals game a while ago and I kept overhearing a bunch of fans screaming about how much they hated the Red Wings and I wondered why? The Caps and Wings have no history against each other (except that little sweep in the 98 Stanley Cup Final.). There are no classic games like there has been between the Caps and Pens. They just hate the Wings because the Wings always win.

 

I hate the Lakers. No reason in particular, I just do.

 

They’ve never killed the Knicks like Reggie Miller and the Pacers or Jordan and the Bulls, they just win a lot and I they always do it with ease.

This is why you hate the Red Wings... admit it.

When the Detroit Pistons played them in the NBA Finals in 2002 I remembered praying to God that the Pistons would kill the Lakers. Keep in mind, I’m also a Bulls fan… remember the Detroit Bad Boys of the 80’s and how they bullied Jordan and the Bulls? Yeah… I was hoping they beat the Lakers. I didn’t want the Lakers to win because they just won three straight titles. They didn’t need another ring. They cost Reggie Miller a title, and Jason Kidd and Allen Iverson, three of this generation’s best players. Winning another one would just be rubbing it in. its not fair I thought too myself, let someone else win who deserves it.

 

That’s why I kind of understand everyone’s hatred of the Yankees. The Yankees win and win a lot and they do it by spending lots of money (not that we should care because if you had 2 billion dollars wouldn’t you get the best players for your team?).

 

Every year we (the Yankees) shell out hundreds of millions to bring in Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia and others to put on the pinstripes and create a bigger gap between them and the competition. That’s why fans of the Royals, Rangers, Braves and Orioles hate us. There are no classic game seven’s like we had against the Pirates, or battles like we have with the Red Sox, it’s just you get tired of going to the ballpark and watching a team of triple A players and maybe one or two really good major leaguers to take on a bunch of guys who got paid a ton of money to wear the same jerseys as Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson.

 

The flip side of this is how people take their hatred of a team and somehow try to turn it into a rivalry. Living in Maryland I saw this with most of their fans mostly fans of the Orioles and the Terrapins.

 

People in Maryland hate New York for some odd reason that I’ll never understand. When the Ravens beat the Giants in Super Bowl 35 the entire city almost creamed on themselves they were so happy that they beat New York in something. It’s silly to hate an entire city because you can’t beat them and try to tell people that they are your most hated rival.

 

True hatred that isn’t intra-divisional occur when another team costs you a shot at a title or beats you too often you develop a clear hatred for them. Rivalries start when you actually beat the other team in a big time situation.

 

I have a reason to hate the Anaheim Angels. They beat the Yankees in the playoffs twice in the 2000’s and owned us in the regular season. However, it wasn’t a rivalry until two years ago when we finally beat them in the playoffs and went on to win the World Series. We beat our bully and got over the hump.

 

What makes the Orioles a rival? Nothing. Going to Orioles games is annoying because the fans chant Yankees suck, boo Derek Jeter and start fights in the crowd due to the fact that they feel we are their rivals. Um… it’s kind of hard to be rivals with a team who is terrible every year and allows Yankees fans to take over their stadium 9 times a year and turn it into Yankees Stadium South.

Orioles fans have one reason to hate the Yankees. Unfortunarly that doesn't make them the Yankees rival.

(What really annoys me is that the Red Sox do the exact same thing but the fans are ok with it. Boston owns Camden Yards 9 times a year and people in Baltimore walk around in Red Sox gear cheer for them and call themselves Orioles fans. They walk around the city and pledge allegiance to two teams, ONE IN THEIR OWN DIVISION! They say if they play each other I’m an O’s fan but other than that I cheer for the Red Sox. NO! YOU CAN’T DO THAT! WHO TEACHES YOU THIS ETTIQUETTE!!

 

You don’t cheer for a team with in your own division. Redskins fans don’t like the Giants, Braves fans don’t like the Mets, Twins and ChiSox fans don’t like each other because that’s just how it is. That’s why Baltimore is the most fair-weather town in America and only supports its teams when they’re good.

 

Sorry about that rant. Just annoys me that’s all. Ok back to the blog.)

 

Same thing for the Terps and their beef with Duke. I still don’t consider their battles rivalries because Maryland still hasn’t cost Duke anything yet.

The fighting Testudos have had better luck against the Devils in recent years but its not Duke-UNC nor is it even Duke-UCONN. Its just Maryland, who has no rival, starting a beef with a team that they hate just because of their name and pedigree.

 

Maryland can through insults, chant obscenities and wear F*** Duke tees all they want, but they still aren’t really a rival. They’re just a team trying to get under Duke’s skin and start a war that they really have no reason starting.

 

However, that’s how hate works.

 

That’s you and I take a disliking to certain teams. It’s a matter of the success of the team and the players on the team.

 

That’s why no one likes the Yankees, Lakers, Duke, the Red Wings and the Cowboys.

 

Funny thing is that I came up with this thought after looking at media day at the Super Bowl and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Actually it was a thought that lingered before the Super Bowl as far back as last season.

 

Like I said, I have no reason to hate Pittsburgh. They’ve done nothing to the Giants, they don’t play in the NFC, and they haven’t beaten un in the playoffs or in any big time situation. So why in God’s name do I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers?

 

In the beginning of the playoffs I remember looking at the AFC playoffs and saying how I hoped Baltimore, the Jets and the Steelers all lost.

 

I have reason to be mad at Baltimore (Super Bowl 35) and the Jets (intercity rival, plus the Jets act like they own the city when their only great player had more all-time interceptions than touchdowns.). Yet Pittsburgh I really have no reason to hate.

 

The Steelers just annoy me for some reason. Their fans travel in packs no matter where the Steelers are playing that week, the whole Steeler toughness thing gets overdone with their defense (I don’t think they know tough until Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Joe Greene get a load of LT, Harry Carson and Leonard Marshall) and it doesn’t help that their QB is an accused rapist yet the town acts like nothing happens. Not to mention those stupid freaking “Terrible Towels.”

 

More than anything they just win. They have 6 Super Bowls, they do physically beat up teams, they have their own theme song (Wiz Khalifa’s “Black & Yellow”)… their more successful than the Giants or your team and it gets on your nerves and mine because we feel like we can beat them.

More than enough reason to hate the Steelers.

They’re actually more annoying than the Cowboys or Red Wings or any other successful, except the Sox of course, because it’s the whole package of annoyance; legacy, winning and loads of fans. You can’t dis the Steelers because you have know reason to. So instead you sit around and hope they fail in the comfort of your own home and amongst friends. Its jealousy, its envy, its natural.

 

I should hope the Steelers tar & feather the Packers after what they did to the Giants in week 16 at Lambeau Field. The Packers cost the Giants a playoff spot by beating us 45-17, and it wasn’t that close. I should want James Harrison and company to beat Aaron Rodgers to a bloody pulp, yet I don’t.

 

I want to see Aaron Rodgers fully exercise the Favre demon once and for all, I want Charles Woodson to add a Super Bowl ring to his hall of fame resume especially after “The Tuck Rule” game, above anything else I just don’t want the Steelers to win another Super Bowl.

 

I cant take “Six-burgh” becoming “Seven-burgh.” I don’t want Roethlisberger to get another ring. Even though I like Mike Tomlin and the way he runs the Steelers I don’t like him enough to see him leading Pittsburgh to another title. It’s not his fault; he’s just wearing the wrong colors.

 

Call me a hater, call me whatever, but you feel the same way too. You sit at home as fans of the Bengals, Dolphins, Eagles or Jets and you don’t want to see it either. They’re not your rivals, you shouldn’t even care but you do. That’s the way it is. They’re not your team and they keep on winning while you have to settle for second place. Sucks I know but that’s the way it works.

 

About 80% of America will be cheering for the Green Bay Packers this Sunday in Dallas. 75% of us aren’t from Wisconsin. We have nothing in common except the fact that we hate the Pittsburgh Steelers 100%. Why? Because they win a lot and our teams don’t. That’s just the way hate works in sports. It’s not their fault.

 


Same Old Steelers

We should be used to this by now.

To steal a phrase from Rex Ryan… same old Steelers.

 

While Ryan and his New York Jets have set their status quo at just making the AFC title game, the Pittsburgh Steelers status quo is winning it. Lets just say that they follow through on that more times than not.

 

The Steelers defeated the Jets 24-19 to move on to their 8th Super Bowl, tied for the most appearances ever with the Dallas Cowboys. They did so in the way that the Steelers always do things, run the football and hit you in the mouth.

 

They jumped on the Jets from the get go with a 15 play, 66 yard drive that was capped off by Rashard Mendenhall who was a horse in the early going. The nearly nine minute drive set the tone for the Steelers who dominated the first 30 minutes of play. Despite an early Ben Roethlisberger interception the offense was a well-oiled machine. Mendenhall led a rushing attack that went for 131 yards in the first half, 95 from him and had the Jets defense gasping for air.

 

Even without star rookie center Mike Pouncey the Steelers controlled the line of scrimmage and outgained the Jets 210-55.

 

Defensively… well… it was the Steelers come on what do you expect? They held the Jets to three 3 & out and shut down any glimmer of a run game that the Jets thought that they had. They shut down former pal Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards and created 6 points for themselves thanks to an Ike Taylor sack and forced fumble that William Gay scooped up and ran in to give them a 24-0 lead. Total dominance.

 

It was so dominant that the Steelers sort of checked out of the game in the third quarter and gave the Jets life. After a field goal late in the half the Jets showed signs by cutting the lead to 24-10 on a Sanchez to Holmes connection. It lasted until midway through the fourth quarter where the Steelers showed their muscle and held for a goal line stand to eventually end Jets chances.

 

The Steelers now head to Dallas with a chance to add to their record number of Super Bowls (6) and for a little bit more.

 

This is now the era of the black & gold (or black & yellow thanks to Wiz Khalifa). The Steelers have moved past the Patriots for the title of the Superior franchise in the new millennium and past the Cowboys as the NFL’s number one franchise.

Big Ben has a chance to add to his legacy.

 

A win in Dallas at Super Bowl 45 would further cement their legacy and move them to a higher plateau on the NFL legends tower leaving the 49ers and Cowboys in a cloud of dust.

 

For Ben Roethlisberger another ring would equal him with Tom Brady and would give him a claim to the decades best quarterback. Despite his high profile off the field issues Roethlisberger is one of the game’s elite quarterbacks and has a chance to equal Brady in championships before the age of 30. It would put him in the rare company as being one of a handful of QB’s with three titles (Montana, Bradshaw, Aikman and Brady).  Not bad for a guy who at the beginning of the year didn’t know when he was going to get on the field.

 

For coach Mike Tomlin it would put him in a class all by himself as well.

 

He would be the only coach to win two Super Bowls before the age of 40 and you could make a case that he could be the Steelers best coach in their history.

 

Tomlin is one of only 3 coaches whom the Steelers have hired in the last 41 years (Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Tomlin), yet his rate of success has been much higher than his two compatriots.

 

Tomlin won his first Super Bowl in his second year on the job; it took Noll 6 years and Cowher 14. Tomlin has six postseason wins through 3+ years when it took Cowher 11 years to reach that total and Noll 7 years. What Tomlin has done is take the Steelers brand of football and made it better. In the process he can put himself in a class all by his lonesome as the league’s number one coach elevating past Bill Belichick.

 

This is what the Steelers are and have been for the last 40 years. They are a model of consistency who just keep on winning no matter if Dennis Dixon is under center, an unproven Mike Wallace is their number one receiver or their head coach was non-existent when Noll lead the Steelers to their first playoff win in 1972.

 

They do it with little flash and lots of hard work, resembling the town in which they play. The end result is a franchise that teams like the Jets strive to be like at the end of the day, because while the Jets reached their level of normalcy, the Steelers are only at a level beneath what they’re used to.

 

Dallas, Texas in two weeks on the game’s biggest stage with the Vince Lombardi trophy hanging in the balance and the Steelers will be right there. Just like its always been, same old Steelers.