Rodgers went to a community college. Then he starred for two seasons at California. Finally, he was on everyone’s radar, although he wound up sliding to when Green Bay picked 24th overall in 2005.
How good does that choice look now?
Against Pittsburgh, Green Bay’s second drive began with Rodgers overthrowing Jennings. And then? Rodgers couldn’t miss. He went 5 for 5 for 63 yards, finishing the possession with a 29-yard toss to Nelson.
“It was actually a screen play, but he (changed) to a go route,” said Nelson, who set a team record for yards receiving in a Super Bowl with 140. “That’s what we hit.”
And when they did, Rodgers simply raised both arms in the familiar “Touchdown!” signal, then briefly embraced guard Daryn Colledge. Rodgers is a generally laid-back guy, and he does not engage in any of that wild running around and helmet-slapping Favre was so famous for when he was the player Cheeseheads loved the most.
Late Sunday, it was clear who’s got their hearts now: Packers fans filled Cowboys Stadium with choruses of “Aa-ron Rodg-ers!” and “M-V-P!”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, with his two previous Super Bowl championships, was supposed to be the one who would relish the grand stage. But while he was throwing two first-half picks, it was Rodgers who shined.
“I didn’t expect anything less from A-Rod,” Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji said.
Rodgers zipped a 21-yard pass down the middle to Jennings to put the Packers ahead 21-3. At that point, Rodgers was 11 for 16 for 137 yards and two TDs — making him 10 for 11 in the stretch that followed his rough start.
On third-and-10, Rodgers connected with Nelson on a 38-yard catch-and-run, with the receiver eluding would-be tacklers. That set up Green Bay at Pittsburgh’s 3, and on first down, Rodgers showed good judgment, holding onto the ball when he appeared to be looking to throw a jump-pass. Instead of forcing matters, Rodgers took the sack.
On second-and-goal from the 8, Rodgers spun a spiral to Jennings in the far corner of the end zone to put the Packers ahead 28-17. After Pittsburgh pulled within three points, Rodgers led Green Bay right back down the field for a field goal. On one vital third down, he hit Jennings for 31 yards down the seam.
“Outstanding throw,” Jennings said.
Rodgers‘ work was done.
After the Packers stopped the Steelers‘ last drive, all he had to was walk on the field and kneel down to run out the clock. A short while later, Rodgers was clutching the Vince Lombardi Trophy, having joined Favre and Bart Starr as QBs who brought Super Bowl championships to the place they like to call Titletown USA.