By kickoff, my belly was doing flip-flops. To be honest, I hadn't thought much about the Superbowl until today. I've had a lot on my mind and it really didn't seem real. The Packers had not had a stellar season, plagued by injuries and prone to penalties. But something happened in the last couple of games of the season. The Pack won when they had to and squeaked into the playoffs the second-lowest seeded team in the entire NFL. And they played like tigers. I'd heard people throwing around phrases like "most dangerous team" and "a team to keep your eye on."
I thought, "Really?"
Don't get me wrong. I believed in Aaron Rogers from the beginning and thought the Packers defense was on the verge of greatness. But I figured our time would come next season. Every week during the playoffs I thought to myself that this was a pretty good showing for a team with so many injuries. Just wait till everyone's healthy next year. But they kept winning. And then, suddenly, they were in the Superbowl. I was in shock. In a good way, but shock all the same.
And the game itself turned out to be a microcosm of the season as a whole. The Packers lost 3 of their top players by the third quarter. And still, they persevered. The Packers are not a second-half team and I thought we were done for at the end but, against all odds, they held on to win.
By the end of the playoffs, I sensed a lot of Packer fatigue in football fans and though the Packers are one of the most casual-football-fan-friendly teams around, I got the sense that a lot of people wanted them to lose. I just didn't get it and I was glad they were disappointed. They earned this victory, every step of the way, and I couldn't be more excited for Coach McCarthy and his young quarterback Aaron Rodgers. (Though I'm not too sure about his being named game MVP. I was thinking Jennings probably deserved it more.) I hope this doesn't go to his head.
And if the Steelers had won, my friend Paul and I joked that Packers receiver Jordy Nelson would have been named MVP for dropping 5 passes, including a sure touchdown.
I hope you enjoyed the game as much as I did. The Steelers are a great team and if you're a Steelers fan, don't feel too bad. They'll be back to the big game again soon. Tomlin is too great a coach for that not to happen. But this season, I say Mike McCarthy for Coach of the Year.