Chicago Bears

Packers win Super Bowl, bring Lombardi home

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Packers win Super Bowl, bring Lombardi home

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
Posted 9:19 p.m. Updated 9:59 p.m.

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas - Forget Lombardi on Broadway. Green Bay has the newest Super Bowl hit: Aaron Rodgers.

Capping one of the greatest postseasons for any quarterback, Rodgers led the Packers to their first NFL championship in 14 years Sunday, 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers reclaimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named for their legendary coach who won the first two Super Bowls and is making his own star turn in New York these days in the play named after him.

Rodgers, the game's MVP, thrilled his legion of Cheesehead fans with a spectacular six-game string that should finally erase the bitterness of the Brett Favre separation in Green Bay. He's now equal with Favre in Super Bowl wins, and he extended the Packers' record of NFL titles to 13, nine before the Super Bowl era.

"It's what I dreamt about as a little kid watching Joe Montana and Steve Young," Rodgers said, "and we just won the Super Bowl."

The Packers QB threw for three touchdowns, two to Greg Jennings, and the Packers (14-6) overcame even more injuries, building a 21-3 lead, then hanging on to become the second No. 6 seed to win the championship. Coincidentally, the 2005 Steelers were the other.

Rodgers threw for 304 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson, who had nine catches for 140 yards to make up for three big drops. Rodgers found Jennings, normally his favorite target, for 21- and 8-yard scores.

"Wow! It's a great day to be great, baby," Jennings said.

Then the Packers held on as Pittsburgh (14-5) stormed back.

"We've been a team that's overcome adversity all year," Jennings said. "Our head captain (Charles Woodson) goes down, emotional in the locker room. Our No. 1 receiver (Donald Driver) goes down, more emotions are going, flying in the locker room. But we find a way to bottle it up and exert it all out here on the field."

Few teams have been as resourceful as these Packers, who couldn't wait to touch the trophy honoring their coach - and their title. Several of them kissed it as Roger Staubach walked through a line of green and gold.

"Vince Lombardi is coming back to Green Bay," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said as the silver prize was handed to the team.

After sitting for three seasons, Rodgers took the Packers to two late-season victories just to make the playoffs as a wild card. Then he guided them to wins at Philadelphia, Atlanta and archrival Chicago before his biggest achievement - against a Pittsburgh team ranked second in defense.

They barely survived a sensational rally by the Steelers, who still own the most Super Bowl rings with six in eight tries. But Pittsburgh failed to get its third championship in six years with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Roethlisberger's season began with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. It ended with Roethlisberger standing on the Pittsburgh sideline, his head hung, hands on his hips, feeling something he never experienced: defeat in a Super Bowl.

Not even a decidedly black-and-gold crowd, with Terrible Towels swirling throughout the 1.2 billion stadium, could make a difference for the mistake-prone Steelers. Their two biggest defensive stars - Defensive Player of the Year safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison - were virtually invisible. The offense didn't seem to miss outstanding rookie center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle injury), but Roethlisberger only occasionally made key plays until the second half.

The biggest plays were left to Rodgers, Nick Collins with a 37-yard interception return for a TD, Jennings, Nelson, and the rest of the guys in green and gold. They gave coach Mike McCarthy, who grew up in Pittsburgh rooting for the Steel Curtain, something Lombardi got in the first two Super Bowls, and Mike Holmgren won in 1997 with Favre.

"This is a great group of men here, a lot of character," Rodgers said. "We went through a lot together."

Even on Sunday, they did. Woodson went out late in the first half with a collarbone injury, a few plays after Driver was sidelined with an ankle problem.

Box Score
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SportsTalk Live Podcast: How close is Mitch Trubisky to starting?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: How close is Mitch Trubisky to starting?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Mark Carman (WGN Radio) and Jim Litke (Associated Press) join Kap on the panel.  Mitch Trubisky gets some reps with the 1st team in practice and he’ll play with the 1’s to start the second half on Sunday.  If he plays well, should he be the starting QB?

Kris Bryant’s hand is not broken after getting hit with a pitch in the 9th. Should he have even been in the game with the Cubs up 7? Plus that guys discuss who won the Cavs/Celtics deal.

How Mitch Trubisky and Mike Glennon reacted to the Bears’ change in first-team QB reps

How Mitch Trubisky and Mike Glennon reacted to the Bears’ change in first-team QB reps

Mitch Trubisky was asked, toward the end of his meeting with the media on Wednesday, if he feels like he’s ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

“That’s not up to me,” Trubisky said. “That’s a good question. You almost got me.”

Trubisky sounded confident but stuck to talking mostly about “control” after getting first-team practice reps for the first time in his nascent pro career. He didn’t entertain questions about if he, after playing well in two preseason games, created a quarterback competition with Mike Glennon, who’s struggled in those contests. Sunday, for Trubisky, is less an opportunity to unseat Glennon as the team’s starter — or Mark Sanchez as the backup — and more of a chance to better himself against the best competition he’ll have faced in 2017.

“I think it’s more of how I can make myself better each day, how I can be the best version of me and how I can make the people around me better,” Trubisky said. “That’s one of the things I can control and I’m just focused on what I can control: my effort, my attitude. Come out here, practice hard, get better every day and in due time, you’ve got to earn a spot. Every spot is earned. That’s what we’re trying to do, just create competition on both sides of the ball to make this team better.”

Trubisky added that he’s not changing how he’ll practice and play now that he’ll play with the Bears’ first-team offense on Sunday.

“Just keep taking the same approach I have been doing — I mean, that sounds good to me because I’m not going to change what I’ve been doing, I’m just going to come out here, work every day, it doesn’t matter what group I’m going with,” Trubisky said. “But yeah, they just want to see what I can do with a different group, I guess. So go out there, perform, do my job and get the playmakers the ball.”

Glennon had a similar message, though coming from a different place. He said he knew from experience in Tampa — which drafted Jameis Winston to supplant him as the starter in 2015 — this could be a possibility, and learned how to approach it then.

“Really to control what you can control,” Glennon said. “Outside of that, it just doesn’t do you any good to worry about other things. Just any of that. All I can do is prepare for Tennessee and treat it just like anything else.”

Glennon (and coach John Fox) said “nothing’s changed” regarding his status as the Bears’ Week 1 starter or his approach to having a top-picked quarterback stringing together good-to-impressive games behind him on the depth chart. The best thing Glennon can do on Sunday is accomplish what he sets out to do, which he hasn’t done yet in a game but could — at least temporarily — quiet the noise.

“I think ultimately, be kind of the commander on the field,” Glennon said of his goals for Sunday. “Get the ball in the playmakers’ hands. Get a lot of completions. Protect the football. And put together a few scoring drives.”