Christensen: Champions in Reserve
By Todd Christensen, The Mtn. Football AnalystFebruary 8, 2011
The Green Bay Packers garnered their 12th NFL Championship - tops in the history of the league - with their 31-25 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers, restoring to many (certainly those in Wisconsin) the moniker of "Titletown USA”.
Much of the credit goes to their signal caller, Aaron Rodgers, who threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns; it could have just as easily been over 400 yards and five touchdowns had his receivers not allowed a half-dozen passes to slip through their hands. But it was good enough to accrue the MVP for Super Bowl XVL and shake forever the shadow of Brett Favre who, while Rodgers enjoys the acme of professional success, retires with an imbrued campaign of inept play, salacious accusations and disillusioned fans and teammates alike.
It was, however, certainly a banner year for the Cal grad who, through his stellar play over the last three years as well as his Super Bowl triumph, has established himself as one of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Bill Bradley, from his book Life in the Run
, points out: "A team championship exposes the limits of self-reliance, selfishness, and irresponsibility. One man alone can't make it happen.” While Rodgers is certainly an integral story to the success of the Packer organization, he is not the story in terms of the overall success of the team.
Throughout the season, 15 players were put on injured reserve and in the Super Bowl alone, there were four starters hurt in the course of the contest. Names like James Starks, Tim Masthay, Jarrett Bush, Charlie Peprah, Tom Crabtree, Frank Zombo, Pat Lee and Desmond Bishop - household names not a one - came through in circumstance after circumstance to make major contributions to the success of the team.
With two minutes remaining and the Steelers with the ball and the length of the field in front of them, it was eerily similar to the Super Bowl of three years ago when Ben Roethlisberger and his offensive charges took the measure of the Arizona Cardinals with an epic drive that culminated in a touchdown. But the young upstarts of the Packer defense took away all of the drama not even allowing the Steeler offense to cross midfield before they had to give the ball up on downs, sealing the victory for the green and gold.
Bradley goes on to discuss that "..all of the missed opportunities, all of the denied moments of personal enjoyment, all the derision by self-appointed experts and opposing fans, all the struggling against competitors who sought the same prize; all the personal conflicts suppressed and angers swallowed - everything seemed worth it."
And so it would seem appropriate that the smallest market in the league and the only team that is community-owned would bask in the glow of the biggest annual sports title in the world.
Let the last word be, aptly enough, Vince Lombardi's: "The quality of any man's life has got to be a full measure of that man's commitment to excellence and victory regardless of what field he may be in!"
Well done Green Bay Nation.
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