Packers Hold On To Win Super Bowl XLV, Aaron Rodgers Named MVP

Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdowns and no interceptions, completing over 60 percent of his passes and going for 304 yards to lead the Packers to a 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV. Desmond Bishop added eight tackles, three for loss, and a crucial fumble recovery.

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Can Aaron Rodgers, Desmond Bishop & The Green Bay Packers Repeat As Super Bowl Champions?

Famed California Golden Bears alumni Aaron Rodgers and Desmond Bishop are now Super Bowl champions with the Green Bay Packers. But even before they've begun to fully celebrate, the question that'll now be presented for them ad infinitum this summer: Do they have the mettle to go back-to-back?

On the face of it, it seems like a fairly reasonable proposition. Green Bay's team is young. They shouldn't have a second straight year of horrid injury luck. Their starting tailback Ryan Grant should return, as should their monster tight end Jermichael Finley. Bishop was originally a replacement for Nick Barnett, who also went down; they will probably fight for the starting position this offseason, although Bishop seemed well on his way to earning the starting spot with his play and his contract extension this season. Other guys that could be back in the mix are linebackers Brandon Chillar, Brad Jones and Brady Poppinga, backup tight end Spencer Havner, offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, defensive ends Justin Harrell and Mike Neal, safeties Derrick Martin and Morgan Burnett, cornerback Josh Bell. Add all these guys back into the mix, and you have a Packers team that is 7:1 to repeat as Super Bowl champions, leading all other teams.

However, if it looks too good to be true, it rarely is. Strangely, the biggest impediment to a repeat is coming from off the field, as a lockout might be coming that sinks the entire season. Plus EVERY team will be pumped up to play them and "shock the world". So take a wait-and-see approach with these Packers; there is a reason repeats are so rare in the NFL...


Desmond Bishop, Super Bowl XLV Evaluation & Analysis

Run contain. In our preview of Super Bowl XLV of the Packers defense, I discussed how important it would be for inside linebacker Desmond Bishop to be the last anchor of defense to prevent huge gains by the Pittsburgh Steelers run attack. On the first big rush play by Rashard Mendenhall, it was Bishop who made the tackle with A.J. Hawk after a 15 yard gain. He had a big run stuff of Mewelde Moore that set up a passing situation, leading to Ben Roethlisberger throwing an interception on the next play to Jarrett Bush.

Although Bishop seemed to make a mistake on the Mendenhall rush touchdown to cut the lead to 21-17 by losing contain, for the most part Bishop performed very well in run support, and the Steelers run attack seemed to flicker out during the second half thanks in part to his efforts of preventing big runs that could've given Pittsburgh the lead back. He had three tackles for loss, including the big one on Moore.

Pass coverage.  This was an area that we always knew Bishop was solid in, and he made some big open field tackles. He stuffed Mike Wallace for two yards on a 1st and 20. He held Wallace from picking up the 1st down on a 2nd and 6, which led to a Steelers punt two plays later. And he also blew up tight end Heath Miller behind the line of scrimmage to abort another Pittsburgh drive, perhaps making the field goal too long for Sean Suisham to connect with. It's the same sort of playmaking he was doing back at Cal, and all of those hidden plays were crucial to the Packers defensive success in the second half.

Right place, right time. Of course, we come to perhaps the most critical turnover of the game, the Bishop fumble recovery. Let's face it, this was Clay Matthews making a big defensive play by forcing the ball loose from the usually sure-handed Mendenhall, but without Bishop scooping it up, the fumble would have been for naught. This set up Rodgers for the last touchdown drive of the game. The Packers scored 21 points off of turnovers, and Bishop provided them with the opportunity to get the crucial touchdown.

Don't think it was just one California Golden Bear who was needed to earn victory for the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. Without Bishop, the result could have been much different on Sunday.


2011 Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers Is Going To Disneyland

Last night Aaron Rodgers put together yet another strong postseason performance as he helped lead his Green Bay Packers to a 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Rodgers was 24 of 39 for 304 yards and two touchdowns and this was more than enough for him to bring home Super Bowl MVP honors.

In winning the award, Aaron Rodgers was able to participate in another time-honored tradition: He’s going to Disneyland. This season marked the 25th anniversary of the first “I’m going to Disneyland” commercial. In getting to proclaim the all-time classic catch-phrase, Rodgers will lead a parade down Main Street U.S.A. in Anaheim at 11:15am pacific time. Given how he had to have celebrated last night, I can’t even begin to imagine how hung over he’ll be for his parade.

For some reason I don’t think they actually played the commercial right after the Super Bowl. It was actually played on ESPN instead. However, thanks to the power of YouTube we’ve got it available for you here.


Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl XLV MVP Evaluation And Analysis

For a few plays, it looked like the jitters would get to California Golden Bears great and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although Rodgers did find Donald Driver on 3rd and 9 on a deep slant route for 24 yards, his other three passes on the drive to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson (Nelson twice) were incomplete, and his first drive went 1 for 4.

That was about it for Rodgers's struggles. From that point on he was dominant, completing 23 of his next 35 passes; it arguably could have been 27 to 28 completions if Nelson and James Jones had hung onto a few more passes. He showcased his accuracy in almost every facet of the game. He could drop balls down the sideline with pinpoint precision, or zip the ball down the middle of the field at electric speed. Rodgers's first touchdown throw of the game to Nelson was an example of the former, and his first touchdown throw to Jennings leaned toward the latter. Rodgers did a yeoman's job of placing the ball right where it needed to be, and that was critical on innumerable third down conversions in the fourth quarter.

It's really hard to say Rodgers could've done much more given the number of times Steelers pass rushers got to him in the pocket and knocked him down or hurried up his throw. Although the Packer offensive line is much improved, it'd be hard for even the strongest of offensive lines to stifle the pass rush of Pittsburgh.   That Rodgers managed to overcome that and still deliver ten crucial points in the fourth made all the difference.


Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay Packers Win, Aaron Rodgers Named MVP

Super Bowl XLV is officially in the books as the Green Bay Packers held on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in a thoroughly entertaining game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named MVP after a three touchdown performance and some key passes when they were most needed. Rodgers was 24 of 39 for 304 yards and three touchdowns. Although Ben Roethlisberger had some big passes, the clear difference was Roethlisberger’s two interceptions. Rodgers struggled with his accuracy at times but never made any major mistakes.

The Packers seemed ready to dominate the game as they jumped out to a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter. However, the Steelers put together a big drive to cut the lead to 21-10 at halftime. This provided strong momentum as the Steelers cut the lead to 21-17 in the third quarter. The Packers put together an incredibly poor performance in the third quarter, and yet they somehow emerged with their four point lead intact. The Steelers inability to capitalize on the Steelers poor play cost them in the end.

The Packers took full advantage of their Cal Bears in the fourth quarter. Desmond Bishop scooped up a Rashard Mendenhall fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter. Aaron Rodgers followed that up with an eight play drive that ended in a Greg Jennings touchdown. Mixed in to that was a big 12-yard reception from former San Jose State Spartans wide receiver James Jones to convert a 3rd and 7.

The Steelers scored a touchdown and converted a two point conversion to cut the lead to 28-25, but the Packers used a ten play drive to kick a field goal and take a 31-25 lead with 2:07 left. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger had one last chance to be a hero but he couldn’t make anything happen and the Packers held on for their their fourth Super Bowl.

Head over to California Golden Blogs to celebrate a strong showing in Super Bowl by two former Cal greats.


Super Bowl XLV: New NFL Postseason Overtime Rules

The Pittsburgh Steelers have cut the Green Bay Packers lead to 28-25 with seven minutes left in the game. While the Packers can regain the momentum with a score, we also are on the verge of a chance at the first overtime Super Bowl ever. More importantly, the NFL implemented new rules for playoff overtime this past offseason.

The current overtime rules for the playoffs mean that a field goal on the opening drive of overtime will not end the game as it has in the past. The NFL explained the rules as follows:

Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the Referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team has three time-outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

So basically, if the first team in OT kicks a field goal, the second team gets a shot with the ball. If they then kick a field goal, it THEN turns into sudden death overtime. If the first team scores a touchdown on the first drive the game is over. If the first team gets no points and the second team then kicks a field goal, the game is over. It’s not all that complicated, but definitely worth knowing in the event this thing heads to OT.


Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers, Packers Convert Desmond Bishop Fumble Recovery

The Green Bay Packers have given themselves some breathing room and regained momentum in Super Bowl XLV after an awful third quarter. Former Cal great Desmond Bishop scooped up a Rashard Mendenhall and Aaron Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings for Rodgers third TD pass of the game. The connection gives the Packers a 28-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Packers struggled mightily in the third quarter, but the Steelers could not take full advantage of the GB struggles. Instead, a third Steelers turnover has led to 21 Packers points. When a team shoots itself in the foot this frequently, they just can’t expect to win. Or at the very least, they’re going to have put in a whole more work. There is a lot of time left in the fourth quarter, but the Steelers are running out of time.

To continue following this developing game from a Cal perspective (for all the Aaron Rodgers fans), head over to the California Golden Blogs open thread.


Super Bowl XLV: Steelers, Packers Hitting The Wall Entering Fourth Quarter

Super Bowl XLV has hit a bit of a wall as the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling to get points on the board. After an explosive first half, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have only one first down as the third quarter comes to an end.

While neither team is exactly rolling right now, the Steelers have more of the momentum. After getting a bit touchdown in the final minute of the first half the Steelers forced a three and out to start the second half. They then got a big return and a bogus face mask penalty to set themselves up on the 50 yard line. Five plays later Rashard Mendenhall scored a touchdown on an eight yard rush.

The Steelers forced another punt on the ensuing Packers possession, but the Steelers blew a golden opportunity to cut the lead to one, or even take the lead. The Steelers drove down to the Green Bay 34 but stalled out and attempted a 52-yard punt. Shane Suisham shanked it wide left and the Steelers left points on the board.

The Packers find themselves dealing with some big injuries, the most notable of which is the loss of Charles Woodson. The all-world cornerback injured his shoulder and is sitting out the final 30 minutes of the game. The Steelers have started to take advantage of Woodson’s absence, and will need to continue doing so if they’re going to complete the huge comeback.

To continue following this developing game from a Cal perspective (for all the Aaron Rodgers fans), head over to the California Golden Blogs open thread.


2011 Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show: Aaron Rodgers First Half Performance Can't Overcome Awful Black Eyed Peas

The halftime show of Super Bowl XLV just wrapped up and it’s safe to say it was one of the worst things I’ve ever viewed on television. The Black Eyed Peas performed a medley of their “hits” and brought on Slash and Usher in an attempt to add something to the show. I’m OK with Usher and Slash can be pretty awesome, but nothing was saving this debacle.

At one point I was hoping Aaron Rodgers would come back on the field, start warming up, and peg each of the Peas in the head. We were not so fortunate. Instead we had to sit through what felt like an interminable show. The Bridgestone Halftime Show has been hit and miss over the years and this year definitely qualifies as a miss.

The good news is we might be looking at a really entertaining second half of football. The Packers seemed ready to put this game away early, but Ben Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward to cut the lead to 21-10 heading into halftime. The second half kicks off in a few minutes with the Packers starting with the ball.


2011 Super Bowl XLV, Packers vs. Steelers: Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger Exchange Touchdown Passes

Super Bowl XLV has officially gotten at least at least a little interesting as halftime approaches. It appeared as though the Green Bay Packers were officially dominating the 2011 Super Bowl. After Ben Roethlisberger threw his second interception of the game, Aaron Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings on a 21-yard pass to give the Packers a 21-3 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, the Steelers bounced back with a big drive that resulted in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger and Hines Ward with 47 seconds left in the first half. On the first play of that drive, the Steelers converted their longest pass play of the game moving from their own 23 to the Packers 40. Roethlisberger and Ward then converted a 14 yard pass on 3rd and 10 to set up 1st and 10 at the Packers 26. Two plays later, Big Ben connected with Ward for the touchdown.

The Packers defense had held the upper hand throughout the first half as the Steelers couldn’t seem to get anything going. However, that final drive has made this game at least a little more competitive. Of course, the Packers get the ball to start the second half. If they don’t get some points to start the third quarter, the momentum will have made a significant switch over to the Steelers.

For now, Aaron Rodgers is winning the QB battle through two quarters. He’s completed 11 of 16 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He was a bit rusty early but he has quickly regained his early postseason form. Roethlisberger struggled immensely early throwing a pair of interceptions. However, he seemed to settle down on that final drive and will look to build on that in the second half.

To continue following what could be an awesome Super Bowl performance from former Cal great Aaron Rodgers, head over to the California Golden Blogs open thread.


2011 Super Bowl XLV, Packers vs. Steelers: Nick Collins Returns Ben Roethlisberger Interception For Touchdown

The Green Bay Packers have taken early control of the 2011 Super Bowl courtesy of a Nick Collins interception return for a touchdown. Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass and threw a fairly solid pump fake. The problem was that it gave the Packers defensive line additional time to get to Roethlisberger. While they didn’t tip the pass, they did get a piece of Roethlisberger’s arm, which turned the pass into a dying duck.

Nick Collins easily hauled in the interception and ran it back, diving into the end zone. He celebrated afterwards and was flagged for excessive celebration as the No Fun League struck again. The penalty set the Steelers up in excellent field position thanks to a deeper kicking position.

If the Packers can contain the Steelers offense on this ensuing possession, it will be interesting to see if Mike McCarthy goes for the throat early. They’ve got the weapons to go deep quickly, but the Packers head coach occasionally makes some rather bone-headed decisions. We’ll see how the next few minutes plays out.


2011 Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers Connects With Jordy Nelson, Packers Lead Steelers 7-0

The Green Bay Packers have jumped on top of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 Super Bowl courtesy of an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass. Rodgers got the scoring started in Super Bowl XLV with a 29-yard pass to wide receiver Jordy Nelson. William Gay had solid coverage on Nelson, but Rodgers dropped the 3rd and 1 pass in an absolutely perfect location.

Today’s game got off to a fairly rough start as both sides showed signs of rust after two weeks off. The Steelers have received some solid contributions from Rashard Mendenhall, but Ben Roethlisberger is struggling a bit early in the game. He’s completed two passes, but both passes were short and quick passes to his wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.

Rodgers has had two excellent postseason games and one less than stellar performance two weeks ago against the Bears. He is currently 6 for 10 for 87 yards with that touchdown pass. This game is far from over, but those numbers would be enough to give him the early edge for MVP. As Rodgers is a former Cal star, the folks at California Golden Blogs have an open thread HERE to celebrate Rodgers and Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop.


Desmond Bishop & The Green Bay Packers Defense: Keys To Victory In Super Bowl XLV

While all the attention the past few weeks settled primarily on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, fellow California Golden Bears alum and Packer linebacker Desmond Bishop has flown under the radar. But despite the constant narrative of the offensive fireworks show that Rodgers and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will put on, it's the defenses that could very well decide who wins Super Bowl XLV. Bishop, who is not well-known outside of Packers nation, will probably be called onto perform at a high level, and he will need to have a big game in Dallas to ensure his team earns the Lombardi Trophy

With so much attention focused on his outside partner in Clay Matthews, Bishop will have plenty of opportunities to make tackles Sunday, and he will need to execute effectively on all his chances. Here's what he and his Packers defense need to do to hold down the Steelers offense.

Run support. Steelers starting tailback Rashard Mendenhall hasn't been talked about much at all the past two weeks, but he could very well be the key to Sunday's game. Pittsburgh will have a clear edge at running back and they will probably operate to try and run the football on a physical Green Bay front seven to open up opportunities for the passing game. Although the Packers have the second best defense in the NFL, they're only sixteenth against the run. Green Bay has compensated for this because they're usually ahead in most of their games and never behind by double digits, but if Pittsburgh can prove they can run the ball on Green Bay, the game could tilt decisively in their favor.

Enter Bishop. According to Ben Muth of Football Outsiders, Pittsburgh loves to use trips wide receiver formations and make their skill players block for them. With tight end Heath Miller likely to focus on blocking Matthews (the Pittsburgh offensive tackles are no match for Matthews), and Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians bringing in skill position players to block to seal for outside runs, he must be ready to crash to the outside (particularly to the right side of the field, where Mendenhall gets most of his big yards), avoid the Pittsburgh blocking receivers, and stop Mendenhall in his tracks along with A.J. Hawk. It's unlikely Mendenhall will get a lot of traction up front against the Packers big three defensive linemen, so outside runs are likely where Pittsburgh will have to win this game. Bishop has to be ready.

Pass coverage. This is Bishop's strength, and he'll have to play it up. While his partner Hawk has struggled in pass coverage, Bishop has thrived, both in the open field and in straight form tackling. Remember it was Bishop who stopped his former Cal teammate and roommate DeSean Jackson in the NFC Wild-Card matchup with a critical shoestring tackle that helped preserve the victory. He'll need to guard the underneath throws the Steelers love to run in their trips bunch formation, make a pass breakup or two, but most importantly just tackle, tackle, tackle.

Bringing down Big Ben.  Packer defensive coordinator Dom Capers loves to dial up the blitz as much as his Steeler counterpart Dick LeBeau. He won't be called on to do it much, but with so much attention focused on Matthews's game-changing ability and even a guy like Charles Woodson, Bishop needs to be prepared when he's the secondary blitzer to try and take Roethlisberger down behind the line of scrimmage.

Bishop's versatility was his strength at Cal, and it's what made him such a dominant linebacker in the Pac-10 for his two years here. All of his talents will need to be on display for Green Bay to hold down Pittsburgh.


Aaron Rodgers: Keys To Victory In Super Bowl XLV

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers alum and California Golden Bears great, has played very well in most of his playoff starts, but it is the Super Bowl, he is coming off a rough performance, and anything can happen. Playing the Pittsburgh Steelers defense (the second best pass defense and the best total defense in the NFL) will be the biggest test of his professional career. Let's take a look at some of the keys.

Accuracy. Everything starts with accuracy for Rodgers. If he completes 65% of his passes or more, the Packers are 20-5 with him as the starter (plus 2-1) in the playoffs. When he dips below that, his numbers plummet to 8-18. The first two drives will be critical for Rodgers--if he gets into a rhythm and engineers long drives, he could very well make it a long day for the Steelers. But if they stop him at least once of twice, they will be in trouble. (Counterpoint: Rodgers completed only 57% of his passes against Chicago and the defense held up.)

In his last matchup with Pittsburgh? Rodgers threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns, but needed 48 passes to get there. Only a 54.2 completion percentage. The Steelers would love to hold Rodgers to similar numbers on Sunday. That would be a victory in their eyes.

Taking care of the ball. As we've talked about before, Aaron's interception percentage is the lowest in both Cal football and NFL history. Yet he nearly cost the Packers the game when he threw an interception to Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game; if it wasn't for his tackle, it would've been a one possession game.

Rodgers was turnover-free the last time he faced the Steelers. He'll need to replicate that performance. In a game featuring the two best defenses in the NFL, ball control, time of possession, and field position will be more important than deep bombs and risky coverage throws. Rely on your punter Tim Masthay to pin the Steelers, and focus on eating up possessions. Just look at the history of Super Bowl quarterbacks (Joe Montana, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, even Roethlisberger himself) and you'll see a bunch of guys who performed competently, but hardly exceptionally in their Super Bowl debuts. Steve Young and Phil Simms aside, the history of Super Bowls is littered with fine but not stellar performances at the quarterback position.

In other words, Aaron, don't Favre this one up.

Recognition of blitzes. Rodgers is pretty good against the blitz thanks to his mobility, but the key will be what type of blitzes the Steelers throw at him. Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is the master of the zone blitz, and he used it to try and stifle Rodgers's production in their last meeting, particularly by shooting inside linebackers into the middle gaps. Don't expect Rodgers to see the same type of blitz though; he's executing the throws he didn't execute last time against that type of scheme.  How well Rodgers is able to make a play against the creative schemes of LeBeau will go a long way to deciding how close he'll get to victory tonight.

Ultimately, this game has the feel of a defensive slugfest, so Rodgers will just have to do his best, hang in there, and not make mistakes. Pittsburgh has the best front seven in the NFL and they will almost certainly shut down James Starks, Brandon Jackson and the Packers run game.  So they will try their best to bring their linebackers back to play both run and pass (heavily favoring the pass), and they are extremely adept at defending against the shotgun. There will be only a few chances for Rodgers offensively, and he'll have to take advantage of most of them to win the most difficult game of his professional career.


2011 Super Bowl XLV, Steelers vs. Packers: Start Time, Announcers, Preview

After six months of football, the 2010 NFL season wraps up with Super Bowl XLV later today. The 2011 Super Bowl has a scheduled kickoff time of 3:29pm pacific time on FOX. As the final FOX game of the season we’ll get their number one announcing crew of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver and Chris Myers.

The big story in this game for Bay Area fans is former Cal star Aaron Rodgers starting at QB for the Packers. Former Cal star Desmond Bishop is also playing, but the ink is primarily focused on Rodgers with good reason. The Packers QB has had a strong run through the postseason helping to lead his team to three straight road wins.

A win in today’s Super Bowl would vault him even further in the discussion of the great quarterbacks currently in the game. Whether it’s fair or not, a Super Bowl title can be a career-maker. Aaron Rodgers can throw for as many touchdowns and yards as Dan Marino, but as Marino knows, no Super Bowl ring will be the first thing to come up in conversation.

This postseason run has been particularly interesting because of the opponents he has defeated. In the wildcard round he knocked off Michael Vick and the Eagles. In the conference championship game he knocked off Jay Cutler and the Bears. Today he gets a chance to defeat Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Roethlisberger and Vick have both had significant legal problems, while Jay Cutler has been thrashed by current and former players for his injury issues in the title game.

Compared to those three Aaron Rodgers comes across as an altar boy. You can also add in the fact that Rodgers will officially exorcise the demon of Brett Favre from Green Bay. Rodgers emerged from the shadow of Favre, but a Super Bowl would be the proverbial final nail in the coffin.

We’ll be here all day with updates on Aaron Rodgers, Desmond Bishop and everything else we see in Super Bowl XLV.


Aaron Rodgers Credits Jeff Tedford With His Quarterback Development, Part III

As we've stated earlier, Aaron Rodgers has given his college coach, Cal football head coach Jeff Tedford, a lot of credit for his development as an elite NFL quarterback. Rodgers has stated he's gotten the "best of the best" from Tedford's tutelage, and he wouldn't be the quarterback he is without his time as a Golden Bear.

One thing emphasized his is perfect throwing motion. We've already managed to debunk how Tedford did not instruct his pupil to hold the ball higher than normal; the motion was already present before Rodgers arrived at Cal, and Tedford decided not to mess with it.

But what about the throwing motion? Well, the big thing about Rodgers is how quick he can get the ball out of his hands, but also how well he can adjust and find receivers when he's on the run (managing to throw the ball on regular routes, but also finding them when the play breaks down). Combine that with his added arm strength, and he's become a very solid NFL quarterback.

However, perhaps Rodgers deserves as much credit for his development as Tedford does, as Joe Posnanski posits that his work ethic is the reason he is where he is. One thing Tedford has always talked about with reporters was how willing Rodgers was to learn and eat up everything there was about how to be a quarterback. He was willing to put in the work in both the physical and particularly the mental aspects of the game.

So despite all the credit Rodgers gives Tedford, a lot of what occurred with Aaron's evolution as a player probably came from within.


Aaron Rodgers Credits Jeff Tedford With His Quarterback Development, Part II

The relationship between Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and California Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford has been much scrutinized. It appears much of the trouble has come with his quarterback development, and that Rodgers had to shed Tedford's "outdated techniques" to become the type of NFL star he's been.

Much of that has to deal with the way Rodgers held the ball in college. Rodgers held the ball high up above his shoulders, and it always looked a little off compared to the way most quarterbacks held the ball. It was commonly thought that Rodgers held the ball in this unorthodox manner because his college quarterback guru instructed him to throw that way. Steve Young called the technique "goofball" and plenty of others have stepped up their criticism of the method, which would appear to gravely discredit Tedford's acumen as a quarterback coach.

But it's looking like Tedford and Rodgers are starting to clear up those misperceptions. In an interview with Razor and Mr. T after the announcement of Cal's successful recruiting class, Tedford mentioned that Rodgers always held the ball high. Tedford never wanted to tinker with it because of how good he was in spite of the eccentric grip. So this seems to be a tendency that Rodgers had even before he came to Cal. He just ended up being so wildly successful with it as a Golden Bear that the head coach didn't bother to mess with it, which seems perfectly fair.

It makes sense when you think about it; if you compare Rodgers's quarterback mechanics to other of Tedford's pupils, almost none of them held the ball as high as Aaron did (considering how well Rodgers succeeded to the others, perhaps they should have held it higher). So obviously.

And of course, it's good to hear what Rodgers has to say on the subject.

"I got the best of the best from Jeff Tedford."

 He also gives credit to Tedford for his perfect throwing motion. Perhaps analysts need to stop worrying about the outside appearance and focus on the technique and delivery of quarterbacks. Therein lies the excellence of a quarterback coach like Tedford, and his ability to mold a pupil like Rodgers.


2011 Super Bowl Prop Bets: Aaron Rodgers MVP Favorite Over Ben Roethlisberger

BoDog has released the long list of Super Bowl XLV prop bets, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is featured heavily. We take a good look at some of the bets featuring him.

SUPER BOWL XLV - Odds to win MVP

Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB                         7/4

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB                   7/2       

Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) RB                 15/2     

Greg Jennings (GB) WR                         12/1     

James Starks (GB) RB                           14/1

Troy Polamalu (PIT) S                            15/1     

Mike Wallace (PIT) WR                          16/1     

Clay Matthews (GB) LB                          18/1     

Charles Woodson (GB) CB                     20/1

James Harrison (PIT) LB                         22/1     

Tramon Williams (GB) CB                       25/1     

Hines Ward (PIT) WR                             25/1     

Heath Miller (PIT) TE                              25/1     

Donald Driver (GB) WR                           25/1

James Farrior (PIT) LB                            28/1     

Lawrence Timmons (PIT) LB                   28/1     

James Jones (GB) WR                           30/1     

Jordy Nelson (GB) WR                           30/1     

A.J. Hawk (GB) LB                                 30/1

B.J. Raji (GB) DT                                   30/1     

Emmanuel Sanders (PIT) WR                 35/1     

Sam Shields (GB) CB                            35/1     

Cullen Jenkins (GB) DE                          50/1     

Brandon Jackson (GB) RB                      50/1     

Field                                                     15/1     

Not a huge surprise that Rodgers and Roethlisberger lead the way, with Aaron edging Big Ben as the Packers are the favorites in this one. Before you go betting on the quarterback to be Super Bowl MVP though, remember these are the top two pass defenses and total defenses in the NFL that are sparring. With all the talk on the quarterbacks, don't be surprised if you see a 10-7 game in the 4th quarter.

If you want good value picks, look at Matthews, Raji and Jenkins for Green Bay, and never underestimate the warrior Pittsburgh linebacking corps of Harrison, Farrior and Timmons, especially if one of them can get multiple interceptions on Rodgers.

SUPER BOWL XLV - Player to score the first TD in the game 

Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) RB                 5/1

Greg Jennings (GB) WR                         13/2     

Mike Wallace (PIT) WR                          15/2     

James Starks (GB) RB                           17/2     

John Kuhn (GB) FB                                12/1     

Hines Ward (PIT) WR                             12/1     

Heath Miller (PIT) TE                              12/1     

Donald Driver (GB) WR                           12/1     

James Jones (GB) WR                           12/1     

Jordy Nelson (GB) WR                           14/1     

Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB                         14/1     

Emmanuel Sanders (PIT) WR                 16/1     

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB                   16/1     

Brandon Jackson (GB) RB                      18/1     

Andrew Quarless (GB) TE                       20/1     

Isaac Redman (PIT) RB                          20/1

Antonio Brown (PIT) WR                         25/1     

Mewelde Moore (PIT) RB                        28/1     

Donald Lee (GB) TE                               28/1     

Any Other Pittsburgh Player                   14/1     

Any Other Green Bay Player                   14/1     

No TD Scored In The Game                    50/1     

Not a bad one. This is probably my favorite Rodgers bet, especially if he gets 1st and goal on the one on his opening drive--Green Bay loves to run the quarterback sneak in these situations. Rodgers did score on a bootleg in the NFC Championship Game to make it 7-0 Green Bay though, so the bet might have been even better a week earlier.

SUPER BOWL XLV - Total Passing Yards – Aaron Rodgers (GB)         

Over/Under                    275.5

Rodgers had 300+ yards the last time they faced in Pittsburgh. This sounds about right.

SUPER BOWL XLV - Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)   

Over TD Passes                         O 2 (+125)

Under TD Passes                       U 2  (-155)

Again, do you trust Rodgers? Or Pittsburgh's defense? He had six the first two games of the playoffs but only one in the NFC Championship Game. The conditions will be more ideal in Dallas, but beware the sucker bet--there's a reason you see under two touchdown passes as the heavy favorite.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP - Total Passing Yards, which will be higher?

Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl XLV                                      -29½ (-110)                  

Brett Favre Super Bowl XXXI (246 Passing Yards)             +29½ (-120)      


HISTORICAL MATCHUP - Total TD Passes, which will be higher?      

Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl XLV                          +125    

Brett Favre Super Bowl XXXI (2 TD Passes)          -155    


HISTORICAL MATCHUP - Completion Percentage, which will be higher?     

Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl XLV -11.5%               +105    

Brett Favre Super Bowl (51.8%) +11.5%              -135    

Again with the Favre. Add in the fact that these bets stink and the only reason you're interested in these ones is if you really really love or hate Senor Wrangler.

Super Bowl XLV – Who will FOX show first on TV during the game?

Jessica Szohr (Aaron Rodgers’ Girlfriend) -140

Ashley Harlan (Ben Roethlisberger’s Fiancée)      Even

For those of you who don't know, Szohr is one of the lead characters in the hit CW series Gossip Girl and has been rumored to be dating Rodgers, so we don't even know for sure if she is Rodgers's girlfriend.

Since I don't recall either of these ladies being shown at all during these playoffs (and seem to do their best to stay under the radar), it wouldn't be out of the question if neither of them appears. Take a flyer on Harlan, since Roethlisberger might do his best to pump up his image on such a national stage.

Super Bowl XLV Specials - Will a Steelers player do the Aaron Rodgers Championship Belt Celebration during the game?            

Yes                  EVEN

No                    -140

This seems like such a regular season thing, doesn't it? John Abraham did it a few weeks ago for the Atlanta Falcons after a sack, but after Rodgers ended up torching Abraham's defense.

Something tells me the Steelers are going to be no-nonsense trying to shut down this potent Green Bay offense and not worry about these extra-curricular activities.

Thanks to Jimmy Shapiro for the update.


Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers Credits Jeff Tedford With Quarterback Development

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not offered a D-I scholarship coming out of Chico High. Instead he toiled in relative obscurity in Butte Community College in Oroville, Calif., for the first year of his college career, leading them to a NorCal Conference Championship and a No. 2 national ranking.

It was then that California Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford discovered Rodgers. Tedford was looking at tight end Garrett Cross on some recruiting tape and noticed the play of the quarterback who was throwing to him. Because of his good grades and SAT scores, transferring to Cal became a mere formality for the 2003 season.

Under Tedford's tutelage, Rodgers then went on to have one of the best careers in Cal football history, completing 64% of his passes, racking up 8.2 passing yards per attempt, and a 150 passer rating, culminating in an incredible 10-1 2004 regular season. Probably the most impressive number was his incredibly low interception percentage, with only 1.95% of his passes ending up in the hands of the other team. Tedford above all values quarterbacks who didn't turn over the ball and have good accuracy, and Rodgers passed both marks with flying colors.

In his pre-Super Bowl presser before his trip to Dallas, Rodgers credited Tedford directly for the development of his leadership and fundamentals. Indeed, currently Rodgers has the lowest interception percentage of any NFL quarterback in the history of the league, the sixth-best completion percentage, and the best-ever passer rating at 98.4.  It's still early in his career and his stats are probably bound to taper off, but numbers like those are part of the reason Rodgers is in the Super Bowl.

And he has his college football coach to partially thank for that.

Aaron Rodgers credits Cal coach Jeff Tedford for his development. (via rmaq28)


Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers And Ben Roethlisberger To Meet For Second Time; First Meeting A Classic

Because the two quarterbacks in Super Bowl XLV are in different conferences, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers don't get many chances to face off with each other during the regular season. In fact, they've only met once before.

And if it goes anything like the last meeting near the end of the 2009 regular season, it could be a dandy. Check out their stat lines from the last matchups, a game that was decided on the final snap.

Rodgers: 26 for 48, 383 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, three rushes for 22 yards and a rushing score
Roethlisberger: 29 for 46, 503 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns.

NFL Week 15 2009 - Packers vs Steelers Highlights (via pitbullz66)

What makes those numbers even more impressive is the quality of the defenses that were served up in those games. According to Football Outsiders, the Steelers had the 14th best pass defense and 8th best overall; the Packers were the 4th best defense and third overall.

Can we expect similar numbers in the ultimate matchup between two of the NFL's best quarterbacks? Well, Football Outsiders projects the Packers with the best pass defense and the second best overall offense, while the Steelers have the second best pass defense and the best overall defense. Looks like Rodgers and Roethlisberger will have to be at the top of their games to take advantage of the league's best.


Super Bowl XLV Line: Green Bay Packers 2.5 To 3 Point Favorites Over Pittsburgh Steelers

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have been one of the most popular teams all season, particularly to sports gamblers who love the NFL. They were Super Bowl preseason favorites. Their lines have been pretty strong compared to many other of the perennial NFL contenders. Even when they struggled to meet those expectations and were only the sixth seed in a not so particularly strong conference, they were always considered a team that was better than their record.

Why are the Packers given such favorable lines? One has to think about how popular a team they are, being publicly owned, having been modestly successful since the early Brett Favre days, having fun and powerful high-octane offenses even when transitioning from Favre to Rodgers ... there are a lot of things to like about this team, especially as they keep on winning.

So it's not too surprising that when the Vegas opening line was released, the Packers are favored to win Super Bowl XLV by 2.5 to 3 points in almost all sportsbooks over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although it was a little bit more surprising that Green Bay was giving the edge against a bitter division rival in Chicago when playing the Bears in the NFC Championship Game, the fact that the most public team in the NFL this season is getting the early edge shouldn't be too surprising. Although this narrow a margin probably means it's the closest thing to tossup you'll find (most Super Bowl lines are seven points as higher). Hopefully for sports fans, this bodes well for a very close game.

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