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.”

VIDEO: Christina Aguilera Sings National Anthem at Super Bowl, Screws Up

Either singer Christina Aguilera was on the take from BoDog to beat the under on the length of her anthem, or FOX told her to tighten it up so they could squeeze in more commercials, because Aguilera left out an entire line. Check out this video of Christina Aguilera singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and pay attention to her mistake as she repeated an entire line to the song midway through:

What she said: “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming”

What she should have said: “Over the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming”

She cut out words and still didn’t beat the over-under! Between Aguilera and this tool at the Chiefs game, it’s pretty sad we can’t find entertainers who can get the song right. Maybe butchering the anthem is part of the entertainment value they provide us.

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

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.

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.

Super Bowl 45 Expert Picks – Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers

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We’re only two days away from gametime, and predicting the outcome of the contest is no less easier. Those of you waiting for a controversy to emerge in order to help the decision ended up disappointed; this desperate attempt for a story was all we got.

The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly seem to be goofing around much more than the Green Bay Packers. Are they comfortable because they’ve been there before — three times since 2006? Or are they overconfident because they won their last two Super Bowls? I’m not sure, but I’m not getting a good vibe from Pittsburgh.

Doc Brown’s Pick: The Doc was initially leaning towards the Steelers, figuring that between Ben Roethlisberger’s gritty style of play and their defense’s ability to make game-changing plays, they’d win. Plus, they just always seem to get the necessary calls, or make the necessary plays to win the game. And most importantly, I cannot stand the Steelers, and they seem to win just to spite me.

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Aaron Rodgers Relaxing, Studying While Ben Roethlisberger Parties in Dallas

Relax.  I’m not about to join the masses and write about how the Packers are destined to beat the Steelers on Sunday because Aaron Rodgers is taking it more seriously than Ben Roethlisberger.  Big Ben is a veteran to this type of situation.  He is looking to win three Super Bowls before even turning 30.  This is a familiar situation for Roethlisberger and his teammates, so I don’t doubt they’ll do what it takes to be prepared.  As for Ben’s public image: I still think he could be more careful.

Stories have been floating around about Hines Ward hitting up strip clubs and Roethlisberger out singing at piano bars in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.  The players are human, afterall, and every one of them is an adult capable of making their own decisions.  However, fans and media naturally take more kindly to a player who is using his downtime in Dallas to relax and study, which is what Rodgers says he has been doing.

Can Big Ben not help it, or does he just not care?  Does he absolutely have to go out and party and be spotted all over town having a good time instead of keeping a low profile?  This is a guy who is less than a year removed from a six-game suspension for rape accusations that his teammates allegedly refused to support him with.  At least wait before throwing yourself into the party scene for the media to feast on — that’s all I’m saying.

If Roethlisberger simply stayed out of the spotlight and took a couple weeks off from partying, people would have very little to say.  Since Big Ben has decided to be Big Ben, he puts himself in position for the “no wonder he lost” and “he hasn’t learned his lesson” critics to come out of the woodwork if things don’t go Pittsburgh’s way on Sunday. Time will tell.

Photo Credit: Busted Coverage