Super Bowl XLV is over.
The NFL season is over.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in one of the best Super Bowls in history.
With two storied franchises on deck, the game lived up to its hype.
It had everything. You name it, we got it.
It was an epic game.
What it all comes down to, as always, are the winners and losers.
We saw fantastic plays, injured players, a great location host with a terrific halftime performance, superstars and breakout stars. Some may hurt their stock. Some proved to be less valuable then we thought.
Here are the five biggest winners and losers from Super Bowl XLV.
Jones could have had a big game had he not suffered from a severe case of the dropsies…again.
Jones is a solid receiver with good speed and toughness, but the one knock on him continues to be his inconsistency catching the rock.
Jones is scheduled to become a free agent. He had a fantastic opportunity to redeem himself from the NFC Championship, in which he also suffered from the dropsies.
Aaron Rodgers gave him opportunities to come up big and show teams that he is a very good No. 2 option.
Now, though, they may not think so.
It seemed like Ben Roethlisberger was going to rely on the rookie Sanders, who caught two passes but was then injured in the first half.
He could not return to the biggest game of his life in the second half with the foot injury.
Who knows if Sanders will ever be back to a Super Bowl?
The fact that he not only lost, but lost his opportunity to help his team mount a comeback, hurts even more.
I’m not going to back down from my word. I still believe Ben Roethlisberger is already a Hall of Famer, despite the loss.
There will be a lot of people who will put this game on Big Ben.
Simply put, he wasn’t good in the first half except for the last couple of minutes.
In the face of pressure, Big Ben threw an errant pass down the field, which landed right in the hands of Nick Collins, who proceeded to weave and vault his way into the end zone.
This costly pick-six ultimately cost the Steelers the game, as they lost 31-25.
People will criticize him for throwing two picks. For that, he has to be considered a loser in this one, but he still helped keep the Steelers in the game. He made some great throws and scrambles against a tough Packers defense.
So, I guess I was wrong.
All postseason I boasted about how important Charles Woodson is to the defense.
Apparently, he isn't as important as I thought.
Donald Driver (left ankle injury) and Charles Woodson (broken collarbone) were hurt in the first half and just could not contribute to this epic win.
In the biggest game of the season, two of the Packers' leading veterans were delegated to cheerleader roles.
I don’t care if you’re a diehard Steelers fan; it’s not amusing to see that in the Super Bowl. These men live their lives to reach this stage, and then they are forced out of it due to injury. Any time that happens, you have to feel for them as individuals, regardless of your allegiance.
At least they were up providing life to their teammates, Jay Cutler…
Can’t win ‘em all.
I know, I know, at least you got to the Super Bowl.
Still, this one hurts.
The Steelers did not come out with their A-game.
Even worse, the Packers suffered injuries throughout the game, and the Steelers just could not take the lead at all in this one.
I don’t even want to hear about Maurkice Pouncey. His absence did not contribute to this loss. The Steelers could have won this game, but they made too many mistakes.
This is one loss that is going to really hurt Steelers Nation. The Steelers had a chance to do something special and they failed.
Gonna be tough to sleep on that.
The Green Bay Packers linebackers, led by Clay Matthews, did exactly what they were supposed to do in this game.
They got after the ball and, more importantly, put the pressure on Ben Roethlisberger all game.
Usually, Roethlisberger does a great job avoiding the pressure from opposing defenses, but not on this day.
The Green Bay Packers defense continued its fantastic postseason stretch.
Sacks, interceptions, touchdowns, forced fumbles and recoveries: You name it, the Packers defense did it.
This time, it was led by the pressure from the Packers linebackers.
Frank Zombo started and contributed the only sack on Ben Roethlisberger.
Clay Matthews Jr. made a fantastic pass deflection right in front of Big Ben, and almost came up with the interception on the way down, displaying his excellent athleticism.
Tramon Williams rarely seemed to be out of place this postseason.
The defense was everywhere this postseason, and showed up front and center in Super Bowl XLV.
Nick Collins was very good this postseason, but saved his best for last.
Collins’ pick-six on Ben Roethlisberger was my personal favorite moment of this year’s spectacular Super Bowl.
Collins made a great read and positioned himself perfectly below an underthrown ball.
He proceeded to display excellent vision as he weaved in between everyone and leaped his way into the end zone, owning three Pittsburgh Steelers defenders on his way.
Ultimately, this was the clincher.
Nick Collins, you are the man.
Greg Jennings was one of the top wide receivers in the league this year. As usual, though, Jennings is often overlooked.
On the biggest stage in front of the entire world, Jennings exploded. He caught four passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
Teammate Jordy Nelson may have caught nine passes for 140 yards and a score, but he dropped several passes. Still, he made big plays and his first quarter touchdown provided the Packers with a lead they never looked back from.
Jennings, on the other hand, proved once again that he deserves to be recognized as one of the best in the NFL for his consistency, which includes great hands and route-running.
Green Bay fans—yes, you too Lil’ Wayne—are definitely going ballistic right now.
The Packers are back on top of the NFL.
Aaron Rodgers is the new poster boy for the NFL.
Cheeseheads around the world are going to be boasting for the entire year.
Everything is right in the world.
The Green Bay Packers were able to melt the Steel Curtain with their red-hot cheese.
It was all about Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger heading into Super Bowl XLV, and they didn’t disappoint.
Aaron Rodgers, snubbed by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 NFL Draft, had the daunting task of being Brett Favre’s successor in Green Bay.
Not only did Aaron Rodgers become one of the best pure passers in the NFL over the past three seasons, he is now officially an elite quarterback in the league.
In my eyes, he already was.
Now it is official. He has the hardware to prove it: a Super Bowl ring.
It took just three seasons as a full-time starter and one shot in the big game, and he did it.
With 304 yards and three touchdowns against a stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense, Rodgers was the MVP of Super Bowl XLV.
Rodgers is the man in Green Bay. He’s the man in the NFL. Nobody can touch him right now. Throw that championship belt over your shoulder, Mr. Rodgers, and wear it proud. You earned it.
This was an excellent Super Bowl.
The NFL and fans all over should be extremely happy and proud to have been treated to such a great display of football action on the culmination of the 2010-2011 NFL season.
This had it all.
Big plays on both ends of the ball, turnovers, a close game in the final minutes, star power and a great halftime performance by the Black Eyed Peas.
I don’t know, it just feels like if you name it, we got it in Super Bowl XLV.
What else do you want?
It was one of the best games this season and one of the best Super Bowls as well. We’ve been treated to some of the best Super Bowls over the past decade.
The Steelers and Packers provided another.
When does football start again!?