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Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers Gets Championship Belt

We called the Super Bowl a matchup of good vs. evil when we compared Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. Good prevailed, as Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 24/39 for 304 yards and three touchdown passes, winning MVP honors. He even received a championship belt to prove it:

For the whole background on Rodgers’ championship belt, read this. I think it’s safe to say 12 is now the real “People’s Champ.”

Aaron Rodgers Targets Jordy Nelson-William Gay Matchup to Exploit

With the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers meeting in Super Bowl 45, there was little doubt the Packers would be throwing the ball frequently. That’s been their offensive approach throughout the season, plus, the Steelers have one of the best run defenses all time.

The Packers held true to their gameplan early in the contest by throwing 66.7% of the time (10 out of 15 offensive plays) in the first quarter. The surprise factor was the matchup they identified as one to exploit: Jordy Nelson against William Gay.

Nelson was only fourth on the team in targets during the regular season with 64, well behind Greg Jennings’ team-leading 125. Even James Jones and Donald Driver saw much more action, receiving 87 and 84 looks from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, respectively. In the first quarter alone, Nelson was targeted five times, catching three passes for 47 yards including Green Bay’s first touchdown.

On the team’s previous drive, he let what could have been a 49-yard touchdown pass go through his hands.

Nelson’s five targets led the team by a wide margin — Jennings had two passes thrown his way and only three receivers caught a pass each.

Green Bay’s offense generally spreads out the opposing defense with multiple receiver sets, and Nelson is often their fourth receiver in the shotgun formation. It was apparent in the opening quarter that their plan was to target Nelson and exploit his matchup on Steelers corner back William Gay. It worked perfectly. Catching a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl? Not bad for a kid who played quarterback in high school.

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger Had Only One Scholarship Offer for College

As we prepare for Super Bowl 45, we’ve compared Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. We’ve contrasted their styles of preparation; partying for Big Ben, studying for Rodgers. Given each of their public images, in many ways this is a game of good vs. evil.

But there is one thing that both quarterbacks have in common.

As LBS contributor Blackjack pointed out, neither quarterback had much interest from colleges coming out of high school. To the best of our knowledge, they each only had one scholarship offer to play quarterback throughout their careers — Cal for Rodgers coming out of junior college, and Miami (Ohio) for Roethlisberger.

In case you never knew it, Roethlisberger wasn’t even a quarterback in high school until his senior season. Big Ben’s high school coach at Findlay High School in Ohio actually picked his own son to quarterback the team, leaving Roethlisberger at receiver. Coach Cliff Hite had his son, Ryan Hite, quarterback the team in their option offense saying his son was a better runner than Big Ben, and that the Hite-to-Roethlisberger combination was more effective for the team than the other way around. His junior season, Big Ben caught 57 passes for 751 yards and seven touchdowns. Luckily Ben became the team’s quarterback in his senior season and threw for 54 touchdowns. Perhaps this accounts for Big Ben’s problems with his home town.

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Super Bowl Betting: Five Best Prop Bets for Super Bowl 45

It’s been two weeks of analyzing, arguing, and pontificating about Super Bowl XLV. Finally, the big game is upon us, and you’re probably contributing at least a few bucks to the billions of dollars wagered on the Super Bowl. We’ve already been over some of the crazy prop bets available, so now it’s time for advice on the ones that will win you the money.

Going based on the 24 Super Bowl prop bet sheets posted at ESPN Radio 1100′s Super Bowl blog, here are the bets I think that have the chance of earning you some serious cash and sportsbook bonuses.

1) James Starks’ first run is set at 3.5 yards — I think that one goes under at -145. Pittsburgh’s vaunted run defense has earned its reputation for a reason; Starks won’t gain that kind of ground easily. Win. 1 yard

2) Likewise, under 50.5 yards at -110 is a great bet against James Starks. Again, not only do I not see the Packers running on the Steelers well, I don’t even see them trying to. Loss. 52 yards

3) The amount of total sacks in the game is listed at five at -110. I think that one goes over. Both defenses are swarming, and the Packers in particular have a strong pass rush. I think that either pushes or goes over. Loss. 4 sacks

4) I still think betting that the first score of the game will not be a touchdown is a good bet. I’ll take +155 that the first score is a field goal. Loss. Packers TD.

5) Longest touchdown of the game will be under 44.5 yards at -110. I know both offenses are capable of big plays, I just think it’s tough to say that will happen. Win. 37 yards longest.

And if you want to know my expert pick for the game, here it is.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Was Reportedly ‘Too Hip-Hop’ for the Dolphins

From 1989 to 2003, the Miami Dolphins did not have a losing season. Sure they had Hall of Famer Dan Marino playing quarterback and that helps tremendously, but Jay Fiedler (Jay Fiedler!) played QB the last four of those seasons. Their defense also was pretty outstanding many of those years, but the point is the people and fans in Miami were used to seeing a winning team.

Things changed pretty rapidly in Miami after that run of success. Once the Dolphins got rid of Dave Wannstedt, they hired Nick Saban who went 9-7 his first year but slipped to 6-10 before moving back to college. Miami had a major decision at that point: whom to hire as the replacement for Saban. They opted for Cam Cameron who was the offensive coordinator in San Diego. I didn’t like the hire for one simple reason: Cameron’s success was due more to his luck of coaching talented offensive players LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, and Philip Rivers than his own abilities.

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Maurkice Pouncey Replaced by Doug Legursky Will be Big Advantage for Packers

After spending two weeks denying reports that rookie center Maurkice Pouncey was ruled out for the Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally admitted that they would be without their young Pro Bowler. The result is second-year center Doug Legursky from Marshall will start in Pouncey’s place, and that is a big advantage for the Green Bay Packers.

Legursky replaced Pouncey in the AFC Championship Game when Maurkice hurt his ankle (the injury that resulted in him missing the Super Bowl). Doug botched a snap to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that resulted in a fumble in that game, something that should never happen. Even though they’ve had two weeks to practice and get in-sync, it’s still a difference in comfortability for the quarterback to have someone new snapping him the ball.

The other area where Pouncey’s injury will be a major factor is blocking. Legursky is 6’1″, and though he’s strong, he’s shorter than the 6’4″ Florida rookie. Green Bay runs a 3-4 defense, lining up nose tackle B.J. Raji in front of the center frequently. Though Raji often hangs back in zone coverage if he recognizes pass plays, he should be able to push Legursky around on runs, and be able to get his hands up to block passes.

It’s not often that injuries not related to the quarterback have such an impact on a football game, but this could be one. We’ve already seen what Raji can do based on his big play in the NFC Championship Game. Don’t be surprised if he has an even bigger impact on the Super Bowl.

Playboy’s Jaime Edmondson Recreates Best Super Bowl Moments (Pictures)

Over the past several months, Playboy’s Jaime Edmondson has become the official Playmate of the NFL.  She has emerged as a staple in Jimmy Traina’s SI Hot Clicks, and fans of every team have had the luxury of seeing her sporting their colors.  Edmondson wasn’t wearing much during her NFL shoot, but there’s something football fans love about seeing their team’s colors on what little of her body is covered up. Who can blame them (us)?

Hot Clicks and Playboy recently teamed up to put together the top three moments in Super Bowl history — taken via a fan poll — and Playboy featured a photoshoot with Jaime recreating the historic moments.  The results were not disappointing.  Check out the Jaime Edmondson Playboy Super Bowl pictures:

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