Five plays that won the Super Bowl

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.

20 responses to “Five plays that won the Super Bowl

  1. “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.”

    Oh, this is one of the 5 plays that won the Superbowl?

  2. Why does Clay Matthew’s keep getting credit for forcing that fumble, when it was the guy coming in from behind who knocked the ball out with his helmet?

  3. As a diehard Steeler fan, hats off to Green Bay, they truly made the plays…

    I can only dream what would have been the outcome if Ben had not thrown 2 interceptions and Mendenhall not fumbled (though GB truly forced them)… subtract 21 points and I feel good about the Steelers.

    I don’t mind Green Bay the winner either… I will support an NFC team, especially GB since the coach is from Pittsburgh and Kevin Green is a coach there too along with Dom Capers… all with roots to the Steelers…

    So.. we could not have lost to a BETTER team.

    Congrats GB…

    The next 6 years or so should be real good (with Rodgers as QB)

  4. what about the missed 52 yd fg? A punt who have pinned the Packers inside the 15 and not the 40 yard line. Field position would have changed the game and Steelers had the momentum.

  5. YOU DID GOOD KID! The D pulled it out but you did good. Thank you. Sincerely THE STATE OF WISCONSIN!

  6. Oh, this is one of the 5 plays that won the Superbowl?
    Actually, it was THE play that won the game. Without that last kneeldown, the packers get a delay of game. The clock stops. The packers continue to get delay of game penalties moving them all the way back to their own goal line and then it becomes a half the distance to the goal penalty. Several hours later the ball is moving ever so close to a safety – since half the distance to the goal is now a fraction of a fraction of an inch.

    So yeah, that play counts as one of the top 5 🙂

  7. 5 people that lost the Super Bowl:

    1. Owner Dan Roony…classless shill who lobbied to keep Ed Sabol out of the HoF, when more Steelers are in than any other team. Shame on you.

    2. James Harrison…2 tackles. Way to go, tough guy…Satin Curtain?

    3. Mike Tomlin…outcoached, period. You let one fumble make you completely abandon the only thing that was working…Mendy was a beast aside from the fumble. Go back to it and you win this game. This idiot should be fired.

    4. Troy Polamalu…two bonked coverages and two TDs given up…one solo tackle. Defensive player of the year needs to learn how to stay home and cover your zone…as in Zone Blitz. Letting him freelance will kill you as often as it helps you (see Seau, Junior and Lewis, Ray).

    5. Ben Rothelisberger…two picks, a 77 QB rating…he got a schooling on how the position is played. He showed everyone how good the Steelers’ defense has been…his mediocre play finally did them in.

  8. Congrats to Green Bay that played a great game, but can someone please comment on the fact that it was the defense and not Aaron Rodgers that won the game. On the Packers’ last drive, rather than scoring a touch down that would have put the game out of reach, they had to settle for a field goal which gave the Steelers an opening to come back on their two minute offense (remember Super Bowl 43 anyone?). Take away Keyaron Fox being an idiot and the Steelers have much better field position at which point maybe Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to Disneyworld. Rodgers is a fine QB but a great QB would have won the game. He didn’t plain and simple. I think he at least owes the defense a nice dinner.

  9. polamalusboyfriend says:
    Feb 7, 2011 12:30 PM
    5 people that lost the Super Bowl:


    you lack ‘class’ in your posting, you should learn from Rodgers… stay classy

    Steelers came with a field goal of tying it, scared alot of people I’m sure considering the Steelers came to the SuperBowl by beating the Ravens and the Jets

    relax.. enjoy your win, its OK…

  10. I think you are mistaking forced turnovers with errors.

    An error would be the missed field goal, not a forced fumble or interception.

    Without Howard Green hitting Ben’s arm their would be no interception. Without Matthew’s hit on Rashard’s elbow there would be no fumble.

  11. I think this should go down as the greatest Packer season ever.
    Sweeping Minnesota
    Beating Dallas so bad they fired there coach
    Beating Philly to erase the 4th and 26 memory
    Beating Chicago in NFC Championship in Chicago
    Beating a 2 time Super Bowl winning team in the Super Bowl in Dallas no less.
    Dont know how it can get better.

  12. @ jarhead46…….Yep, you are complete now. Time for your franchise to fade into sunset,never to be heard from again!

  13. This could go down as the greatest season in Packers history. All the injuries, having to win two just to get a six seed, winning three playoff games on the road against the top three seeds in the conference, and winning the Super Bowl against a two time winning QB?


    The ’96 team may have been more talented in all three phases than this one, but for an overall season, this could be the best ever.

  14. In general, I agree with the five plays.

    Not much Ben could do about the Nick Collins interception (except tackle him short of the end zone), but perhaps the Bush pick could have been avoided. Bush jumped the route, but it seemed like Ben forced that pass in. Looking Bush off, or going to another receiver, might have avoided the pick.

    Simply a great Super Bowl game.

  15. As a diehard Steeler fan lemme say this:

    1) HATS OFF TO GREEN BAY. Their defense made big plays. That was the ballgame. Steelers offense looked good, looked bad… so did GB. Steelers defense played great all game… so did GB. But GB made big plays, the one ingrident that got them the game, and the one missing ingridient that could’ve gotten the game for the Steelers.

    2) Cementing the Favre decision was icing on the cake. Him and his antics can stick it.

    3) Hurts to have a chance to win and not. But you know what? Steelers have 6 rings, played in 3rd SB in 5 years, more to come in the next 5, and the next 5 after that… we are a fortunate bunch. No complaints.

    4) The real MVP was Clay Matthews. As usual, SB MVP voters are clueless.

    5) Anyone else pumped for Charles Woodson? He was the one ROBBED by the refs in New England and the “Tuck Rule”, then lost the SB the following year. Good for you, Wolverine. Enjoy the win.

    6) Again… props to GB. Not a bad franchise to lose to at all.

  16. No, the kneel down on the final play did NOT win the game. Jeez! What were you thinking, to write that?

    The 3rd interception (by Bush) should be the 5th reason the Pack won. Without that pick, maybe GB doesn’t score and maybe the Steelers do.

    Here’s all you need to know (from the NFL on Fox):
    “After winning MVP honors, Rodgers said that he’s looking forward to leading his team to another NFL title; i.e. ‘we’ not ‘me’.

    “Rodgers completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards, three TDs and no interceptions, giving GB its first NFL championship since Favre’s in 1997. ”

    The 49er’s could have had this guy… their loss is GB’s win. But that was good luck for Aaron.

  17. The key play in the game was the non holding call on the Packers on 3rd and short, unreal not to make this call. Rather than most likely punting the Packers keep the ball and score a TD. Then a horrible call on the Steelers on the kick return that backed them up and help cause an INT for a TD.

    While as a whole the game was not horrible as far as the refs were concerned but it sure did look like when in doubt give the Packers the advantage just like they did in the Minny game and the Bears game.

    With good refs the Packers don’t even sniff the SB but most fans are not aware.

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