DALLAS, February 7 – Aaron Rodgers completed 24-of-39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns to lead Green Bay to a 31-25 victory over Pittsburgh Sunday, claiming the Packers' first Super Bowl title in 14 years.
Quarterback Rodgers, playing in his maiden Super Bowl, helped secure the victory with an eight-yard touchdown pass to receiver Greg Jennings with just under 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
"It is a dream come true," Rodgers said. "It is what I dreamed about as a little kid watching Joe Montana and Steve Young and we just won the Super Bowl."
The eventual winning drive started with a Steelers’ fumble on the first play of the final quarter as Green Bay was able to convert three Pittsburgh turnovers into touchdowns at Cowboys Stadium.
"It feels awesome," said Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy, who won his first Super Bowl in his fifth season as head coach. "It is great to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay."
Rodgers, who was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl 45, connected with Jennings in the end zone to make it 28-17.
Not only did Rodgers win the MVP in his first try but he earned 83,000 dollars in bonus money that goes to each member of the winning team.
Jennings finished with four catches for 64 yards and two touchdowns while teammate Jordy Nelson had a game-high 140 yards receiving for the Packers who captured their fourth Super Bowl title and first since Super Bowl 32 when they beat the New England Patriots 35-21.
"Wow, wow, wow. It’s a great day to be great, baby," Jennings said. "It was a corner route. They dropped me and let me run free the play before. They dropped me on another corner route and we came back to it and scored on that play."
Kicker Mason Crosby put the finishing touches on the win for Green Bay with a 23-yard field goal with 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The game between two of the league’s most storied franchises lived up to its billing. Rodgers won the battle of the star quarterbacks as Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger got off to a shaky start. Roethlisberger threw two interceptions in the first half that the Packers converted into touchdowns.
Rodgers threaded the needle on a couple of game-changing plays, including a touchdown strike to open the scoring in the first quarter when he and Nelson hooked up for a 29-yard score.
Roethlisberger was no slouch, completing 25-of-40 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. But he couldn’t escape the damage caused by the early interceptions.
Packers safety Nick Collins intercepted a soft pass from Roethlisberger and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to give Green Bay a 14-0 lead with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
Roethlisberger regrouped after the second one and tried to rally the troops.
He engineered a seven-play, 77-yard drive down the field before hitting receiver Hines Ward for the touchdown to cut the Packers lead to 21-10 with 47 seconds left in the first half.
"We are not into moral victories," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "It (turnovers) was a factor in the game. We came here to win a football game and we didn’t do that and Green Bay did and we congratulate them."
The game was expected to be the most watched event in US television history. Even US President Barack Obama got into the spirit by hosting a lavish Super Bowl party for about a 100 VIPs and dignitaries at the White House.
The Steelers were missing injured rookie centre Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey was helped off the field during Pittsburgh’s opening drive against the New York Jets in the AFC championship game with a fractured bone in his foot and a sprained ankle.
The Packers were not without injury problems. Star cornerback Charles Woodson injured his collarbone in the first half and did not return and Green Bay veteran receiver Donald Driver, who caught a 46-yard pass early in the game, injured his ankle.
"We’ve been a team that has overcome adversity all year," Jennings said. "Now our captain goes down. It was emotional in the locker room. Our No. 1 receiver goes down and more emotions are flying in the locker room but we find a way to bottle it up and exert it on the field."