One of the reasons I was so glad that Ed Sabol was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is that Sabol’s creation, NFL Films, is always what I think about after the Super Bowl.
I always think to myself, Which of these plays are we going to remember most, decades from now, when we’re watching an NFL Films show about this Super Bowl? These are the five plays I’ll think of, when I think about why the Packers won this Super Bowl:
1. Clay Matthews’ fumble-forcing hit on Rashard Mendenhall: To me, this was the play of the game. The Steelers had all the momentum at the start of the fourth quarter, and in an instant, Matthews changed that.
2. Aaron Rodgers hitting Jordy Nelson for the game’s first score: That one was thrown into the corner of the end zone where I was sitting, and when Rodgers let the ball go I thought he might have overthrown it. But no: Rodgers lofted it perfectly and Nelson ran under it and hauled it in. Gregg Rosenthal has more on Rodgers’ big throws.
3. Rodgers to Nelson for 38 yards in the fourth quarter: It would have been easy for Rodgers to lose confidence in Nelson, who had just dropped a pass on second-and-10. Instead, Rodgers went right back to him on third-and-10, picked up 38 yards and set up an eight-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings two plays later.
4. Nick Collins’ interception return for a touchdown. Green Bay’s Howard Green got pressure up the middle and hit Ben Roethlisberger as he was releasing the ball, forcing and underthrown pass. Collins saw it coming and picked it off, and then dodged Steelers as he made a winding return that ended with a dive into the end zone.
5. Rodgers kneeling down on the game’s final play, celebrating with teammates and basking in the chants of “MVP!” from Packers fans. He earned this.