Very rarely in any sport can you not watch a game, but know one stat, and based off that one stat, correctly guess who won the game 99 percent of the time. That game is football, and that stat is, you guessed it, turnovers. More importantly, the turnover battle.
As our good friend Jim Mora once said, "I don't care who you play, whether it is a high school team, a junior college team, a college team...when you turn the ball over five times, four interceptions, one fumble, one for a touchdown, three while in scoring position, you ain't gonna beat anybody I just talked about, anybody."
This couldn't be more true about today's Super Bowl XLV game that pitted the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mike Tomlin summed it up perfectly; the Steelers were simply shooting themselves in the foot. Two interceptions, one lost fumble, one of those turnovers for a touchdown. You just can't do that, especially against a team like the Green Bay Packers.
The Green Bay Packers are a team that will capitalize on your mistakes and make you pay for them. The Steelers committed three turnovers, the Packers got three touchdowns off those turnovers.
Now, the Steelers were pretty much hot on the Packers' heels the whole game, but what if just one of those turnovers didn't happen?
Sure, the Green Bay Packers' Nick Collins's pick-six was a big play in the game that changed the momentum. But in my opinion, the biggest play in the game came later in the game.
That play was the Rashard Mendenhall fumble, stripped by Clay Matthews. At that time, the score was 21-17, and the Packers took the ball all the way for a touchdown, a beautiful pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings.
But think for a second if that play didn't happen. The score was 21-17, and the Steelers were more than in the game. They were in Green Bay territory and were driving. Then one play, boom, you go from being down four points while driving in their territory to 11 points down way back in your own territory, all in a matter of minutes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had three turnovers, the Packers had zero. It doesn't take much to figure out who won.
Coaches preach all the time to their players. Don't fumble the ball, don't force throws.
I remember the first thing my running back coach said to my group, "Do not fumble the ball, do not fumble the ball, whatever you do, do not fumble the ball."
Oh no, it wasn't, "let's have some fun this year", or, "Are you guys excited?" It was "don't fumble the ball". And I'm pretty sure we only fumbled around four times.
This is a picture-perfect example of what interceptions and fumbles can do to a team. And Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers lost a lot more than just a silly game.
Of course, I am taking absolutely nothing from the Green Bay Packers, they came to play, and they got the job done. "The Lombardi trophy is coming back to Green Bay!" as Jennings said following the game. "Today is a great day to be great."
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