Here I am again, that “newbie” guy who wrote, "Florida Football: What's It Like Not To Know Football?"
That was about my first 2009 college season; 2010 was my first NFL season, leading to this Super Bowl XLV. I couldn't fail to give credit to hosts of the palace in which it was held in Arlington, TX. The Cowboys' Stadium is certainly a human feat to behold and is brilliantly stunning.
Moving from college football to professional football wasn’t a transition; it was an extension of it. The last NFL game I saw was the Seattle Seahawks vs. the defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints, I commented on that game here: "Seattle Seahawks-New Orleans Saints: Seahawks Really the Underdogs?".
I pegged that one right to the dismay of my AFC Division friends. Likewise, I also called this one correctly, with the Green Bay Packers taking the Super Bowl Trophy (31-25).
Do I care if a team is in the AFC or the NFC? Um, Nope.
Reason being, I’m new to this, so I have no rivals (other than those who play my Gators in the SEC). I have no preconceived favorites and as I stated in a previous article, “What some haven’t realized is that a game is a matter of logic and luck of the draw. One mistake or one great play can make a game and in some cases, the Super Bowl.” By the way, I wrote that before the Super Bowl.
Guess I was right.
Why did I choose the Packers? I liked their colors; is there a better reason? I hadn’t thought much about it until the teams came out, but there was something about Aaron Rodgers that I liked (perhaps determination in his eyes), even though Ben Roethlisberger in his second season took the Steelers to a win in Super Bowl XL over my Seahawks (21-10).
That wouldn’t matter, since I didn’t know any team way back then, and he would deserve all credit due since he took his team to victory yet again against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, (27–23).
In being new to this, my first Super Bowl, I was determined to tell what I saw as someone fresh and without any outside interference. I’m not like those who know the game well; I wanted to write about how I saw this very, very exciting game.
I’m not a sports writer, and no further from one could I be. However, I do know how to write a story about what I see. I took notes and a lot of them, but it is hard to watch and write at the same time.
Later in the game, my notes became fewer because I was really enjoying watching the game. I take the liberty of telling you what I saw, because I don't read others' editorials and twist it in my favor, or yours.
Guess who I wanted to win the toss? Yes, Green Bay did. I didn’t know a team could defer to the second half, so Green Bay lead with a punt. I learn new things all the time. Turns out, that was a good move.
So I see a kick by Green Bay’s Manson Crosby, and I think it was 38 yards later, there was a pileup. No points on this side of things. Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall later got a first down and repeated the same exact play again, just short of a second down. When Green Bay got the ball again, Jordy Nelson intercepted and went 29 yards for the touchdown and Crosby got the extra point. 7-0 Green Bay.
Steelers lost half of their 44-yard return run due to penalty. What was the penalty? I have no idea, since I don't understand all of this. Later, Green Bay’s safety Nick Collins received Rodger’s pass and took that for a second touchdown. 14-0 Green Bay.
Steelers ended up settling for a three-point field goal in the beginning of the second quarter. The game is still early, but Roethlisberger’s 10-2 postseason wasn’t looking up to par. He is second only to Bart Starr (9-1) for Pete’s sake. Bart Starr was at the game by the way.
Now, why is Starr important? Because the first book I ever got as a kid was about him. Maybe I was 10 years old and didn’t know what I was reading about, but I have always remembered his name.
Green Bay’s cornerback Jarrett Bush intercepted a turnover in the second with 4:28 left. Nelson took 17 yards on the next play. Jennings accepted Rodger’s 21-yard pass for yet another touchdown by the Packers. Green Bay had lost their defensive guys Woodson and Shields. I don’t know what happened to Shields, but Woodson fell hard on his shoulder.
Then the Steelers' Hines Ward caught Roethlisberger’s pass for a touchdown with only 39 seconds on the clock, and they secured the extra point. (21-10).
Less than five minutes into the third quarter, Pittsburgh’s Roethlisberger sends Mendenhall into the end zone and makes their second touchdown; the extra point follows. (21-17).
Green Bay, by this time, was getting a little worried (and so was I), and the Steelers were getting pumped up.
The first sack of the game came in the third from Steelers linebacker James Harrison, when he tackled Aaron Rodgers. Steelers were only four points down still, but a far cry from the 18-point difference in the second.
If Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey hadn’t been out with an ankle injury, things might have been different at this point. It’s unfortunate that after all of the 18 games he played, he couldn’t participate in this one.
With less than five minutes in the third, Green Bay’s linebacker Frank Zombo sacked Pittsburgh’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, only the second sack of the game. Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson picked up 18 yards on the first down. Later, Green Bay declined a 57 yard field goal and punts instead.
There was a challenge called, the clock was set back five seconds to 31 and Green Bay got a second punt. The third quarter ended with five seconds on the clock.
Steelers missed their chance for a three-point field goal attempt, which went way left; however they dominated the third quarter of the game.
In the beginning of the fourth quarter, 2nd-and-two, Green Bay’s linebacker Desmond Bishop stole the third turnover of the game. Good thing, since Jordy Nelson suffered four dropped passes from Rodgers previously. But at 1st-and-goal, Rogers was sacked again. Would you guys stop sacking my quarterback please?
Coming back again, Green Bay’s second attempt was successful, thanks to wide receiver Greg Jennings, and with the field goal brought the score to 28-17. This was the third touchdown Green Bay used a turnover to score.
Soon after that, the Steelers' wide receiver Mike Wallace took his turn at making a touchdown. The Steelers bet on a conversion rather than a field goal, and they were successful by wide receiver Antwaan Rondell EL, with about seven-and-a-half minutes to go. (28-25)
With seven minutes to go, Green Bay’s quarterback Rodgers gets sacked yet again; the third sack by the Steelers. But the Packers reached 1st-and-goal, 2nd-and-goal and 3rd-and-goal and then took a field goal with 2:17 minutes to go. (31-25).
The Steelers were hit with a personal foul after the punt and had half of their yardage taken from them. Green Bay took another turnover from Pittsburgh with 49 seconds on the clock. Green Bay made the snap but held the ball and the game was over.
After the game, Green Bay’s Greg Jennings was interviewed and asked for a comment. He said, “It feels great to be great”. Great response Mr. Jennings, and I concur.
So comes and goes my first Super Bowl and this is how a guy calls it who never saw one before. The only thing that could have made this game better would have been with friends, such as my buddy who took me to my first football game ever at the Swamp in Gainesville in 2009 against Kentucky.
I wouldn’t have been able to take notes as I did, had I not been by myself, but I’d trade these notes and this entire article for a great time with friends and cutting up with them at a favorite sports bar. It’s kind of emotional in a way to discover football is not really a single spectator sport, but one to get excited about with others, like my friend Michael, who taught me everything I know about this sport. Might have been just as well since in AFC territory, I would have been the only one standing and cheering for the winning NFC team; the one I picked just because of their uniform colors, although Aaron Rodgers is easy on the eyes.
I’ve read other articles about games and players over these two years and comments people leave other fans regarding them; some not very complementary to say the least. As I see it, football is just a game after all, although I understand the passion people have for it; I have that too. I learned that all to well when my Gators lost that one championship game to Alabama two years ago; the first and last year I'd see Tim Tebow play in college.
I also learned a great lesson then, albeit a harsh one to accept at the time. Enjoy the game; no team is invincible, as I found out. Congratulate the winners, embrace the opposing team and never take anything too seriously that you can’t enjoy the experience itself. I am committed to treating this game as new every year. This game brings us together and every game is a good one, no matter who prevails.
Here’s my pregame opinion. I thought, “Oh good, Christina Aguilera—finally someone who can sing.” I was wrong. If they give Grammy Awards to performers (and I use that term loosely) to singers like this, then I'm waiting for mine. Heads up to the NFL talent scouts: If you need someone to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" with humble devotion to our country, I'll sing it for you myself.
Is there anyone out there who can sing our National Anthem without destroying it? Aguilera's screeching beyond the limits of her vocal chords, excessive vibrato, crackling falsetto and needless pausing was self-serving as though it was “a concert” in her honor. She, among countless others, just can’t get the words right. I have known the words to that since I was 8 years old.
Then, there are these people who put their hands (or caps) over their heart while it is sung, something our president was criticized by not doing. Folks, the hand over the heart is for the Pledge of Allegiance, not the National Anthem or “America the Beautiful;" certainly not frowned upon, but not necessary as a point of historical custom.
Here’s my halftime report: What were they thinking? I’m not sure if I have more mercy for those that saw the performer’s front or those that saw only the back of them. Maybe a revolving stage or perhaps performers facing the opposite direction for a few minutes might be fair?
Is it a rule that you have to be a very old act or is it just a coincidence? I suppose live talent wasn’t a prerequisite to this event. I thought the reviving of KISS’s outdated outfits from decades ago were a novel idea, at least they used batteries and LED lights this time around. The guy on the right must have shared Gene Simmons' hairdresser. Only thing lacking was face paint (Update: I found this guy's name is John Russell, whoever that is).
I will say, Slash plays a great guitar, but that act could have been "slashed", as I didn't see the point. "Sweet Child of Mine?" Sung by a woman? There must be something I'm not getting about the association with that song and football. Help me out here...
There is a difference between a, “Wardrobe malfunction” (Timberlake and Jackson), and a “Wardrobe catastrophe.” How would I know? I’m new to football, but I've been a musician for decades. I know the difference between performing for one's own gratification, and one who performs for the audience. It was clear to me which way this was going.
Before the game, I had grabbed some lunch to bring home. I just happened to have been wearing a Broncos sweat shirt. This woman in line said, “Why are you wearing that; the Broncos aren’t even playing today?”
I said, “Well, they haven’t retired.”
She said, “That’s not how it works.”
"Really?" I replied.
She said she lived in Denver for years and used to be a Broncos fan, but now lives in Jacksonville, so she supports the Jaguars. I said, “The Jaguars aren’t playing either. So you abandoned your team, I asked?”
She said, “I don’t live there anymore.”
I said, “I don’t live in Pittsburgh or in Green Bay either, nor do I have 32 teams' sweat shirts.”
I told her (to end this silly conversation), “I followed my college quarterback, and he’s in Denver now, so I’ll look forward to him leading his team to the Super Bowl next year. I’m just wearing this one to get a head start.”