Packers overcome injuries to win the Super Bowl

Even with a 21 to 3 lead just before the halftime of Super Bowl XLV, the mood of the Green Bay Packers was oddly subdued. Their defensive star, Charles Woodson, was being herded into the locker room by trainers after landing on his shoulder when he tried to break up a Steelers pass on the previous play. Without Woodson, a thirteen season veteran player as well as last year’s defensive MVP, the Packers suddenly lost a huge weapon in their secondary as well as a threat to Ben Roethlisberger off the corner. And, as if losing Woodson wasn’t enough, in the next few minutes, the Packers lost another talented cornerback, Sam Shields, and their all-time leading receiver, Donald Driver. The loss of two strategic defensive players led to a quick Steelers touchdown and suddenly the score at half-time was 21-10 Green Bay. With the season that the Packers had this year, it seemed only fitting for them to have to overcome injuries in the biggest game of the year. The Packers started out the season with one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. However, their numbers quickly diminished as the season got into full swing. Within the first few games, they lost their star tight end, Jermichael Finley, their starting running back, Ryan Grant, and their leading tackler, Nick Barnett. All in all, the Packers had to put 15 players on Injured Reserve this season including 6 opening day starters. Even ex-Packers weren’t safe safe. Everyone’s favorite nursing home escapee, good old number four, suffered several injuries including a concussion this season, so he got to spend Sunday sitting at home texting chicks. With their huge loss of personnel, the Green Bay Packers had every reason to just roll over and die this season. No one would have blamed them for not making the playoffs or even not having a winning season. The only one who wouldn’t cut them any slack was their coach, Mike McCarthy. Somehow McCarthy managed to keep his team together after losing many of their key players, and defying the odds, the Packers pulled off late season wins against the Giants and Bears to get a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. They then pulled off a miraculous playoff run to become the first 6 seed from the NFC to advance to the Super Bowl. The Packers were riding high, and didn’t look like they were coming down any time soon. And now, on the biggest stage, with millions of people across the country watching their every move, it looked like the Packers might lose everything because of their old nemesis: injuries. With their loss of defensive players, it seemed like it was just a matter of time until the Steelers would score, and without Driver, their most experienced receiver, their offense looked like it too may become ineffective. After halftime, the Steelers took advantage of the Packers’ losses and pulled up to 17-25. And after their defense stopped Aaron Rodgers quickly on the next drive, it looked like the Steelers might pull off the biggest Superbowl comeback ever. But as they had done throughout the regular season, the Packers persevered. Their star line backer, “Long hair don’t care” Clay Matthews, forced a Steelers fumble that allowed the Packers to extend the lead to 17-28. Even after the Steelers pulled off a touchdown and a two point conversion to make the score 25-28, the Packers kept their cool and Aaron Rodgers led their offense down the field to make it a 6 point game (31-25) after another field goal. It only took one more defensive stop and the Packers took home their fourth Super Bowl win. Despite injuries and an incredibly tough playoff schedule, the Green Bay Packers were able to pull it all together and make it work on the world’s biggest stage. As Packers receiver Greg Jennings put it, “It’s a great day to be great”.