The Superb Owl (Allegedly)

Brett who?

Well wasn’t that good! For the fourth year in a row we were treated to a close, exciting Superbowl between two teams giving it their all.

The UKNFL team could have been found at the Superbash selling jerseys, discovering the free bar and asking NFL players about the future of their franchise but in reality all those japes were just a sideshow to a great game that ended an utterly mental, yet brilliant season of NFL.

There’s no need to go into great play-by-play detail, that will be done far better in numerous places but just leave you with a few, very tired thoughts.

Whilst Big Ben couldn’t quite finish it off with a late scoring drive, this has to go down as a great Superbowl, momentum repeatedly shifted from team to team, especially in the second half, and for once, the final blow was not Big Ben’s (allegedly) . After a start from the Packers that seemed to leave the Steelers stuttering over their lines like Gareth Gates on opening night (We really need more people with stammers, Gates is an easy, early 2000s examples that does not reflect the normal elegance of my prose), the injuries that have dominated the Packers season reappeared and gave the Steelers a sniff. It was at this point that a more inexperienced side than Pittsburgh may have crumbled, but Mike Tomlin’s men scored a crucial touchdown late in the first half and when they opened up the second half by cutting the deficit to 4 the momentum seemed to have swung away from Green Bay and an unlikely comeback suddenly seemed inevitable.

The spirit in the Packers team cannot be undermined though and the scenes of Clay Matthews being fired up by his linebackers coach may prove to be one of the defining images of Superbowl XLV (aside from the quasi-communist show (with added neon) at half time), and a talk that inspired Clay to hit Rashard Mendenhall forcing him to fumble, stopping a Steelers drive that looked destined to give them the lead and instead giving Aaron Rodgers the chance to lead his team downfield to put them 11 point up, a difference that, despite being cut to 3, ultimately proved decisive.

Before praising the virtues of Rodgers and the Packers, a quick word on the Steelers. They remain one of the most impressive franchises in the league. Big Ben has now reached 3 Superbowls, and despite a disappointing first half, the way he got his team back into shows how good a player he is. Mike Tomlin has continued the Steeler tradition of creating a team that is tough to beat and one with hearth to match their undoubted ability, and even managed to perform at half time. Whilst they fell short on the final drive (against the second best defense in the league don’t forget) they will once again start next season as contenders, presuming Big Ben is kept under house arrest in the off-season, allegedly.

As for the Packers, well all season I have struggled to spell Aaron Rodgers’ name, but I can now confirm it is spelt MVP. A superbly efficient performance from Rodgers who, despite a wobble in the 3rd quarter and a set of receivers with more balls dropping than an all boys high school, recorded over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, coming up with a number of big plays when it really mattered. For a player whose career started in the shadow of Brett Favre, this will looked back upon as the season where Aaron created his own, less perverted, shadow. The whole Packers team deserves credit, after a shaky start to the season and loss of key offensive playmakers Finley and Grant, they found form when it mattered most. And then just as they appeared to be on the cusp of the championship, the injuries struck again to key receiver Donald Driver, last season’s defensive MVP Charles Woodson, and seemingly every other member of their secondary. But they stuck to it, when the going got tough, they kicked Billy Ocean and Boyzone in the face and got going.

The Packers are one of the most impressive squads, teams, and franchises in the league, an entertaining team to watch with a number of likeable players and charismatic fans, few therefore (apart from Steeler fans, naturally) will begrudge them this victory, their first since 1996, and one that could lay the foundation for a dynasty over the coming years. For Mike McCarthy, a coach that does not get the plaudits he deserves, his achievement to create a team that could cope with all these injuries is remarkable, as was his ability to keep his team’s collective head together, when Big Ben appeared to be in control. The Packers, from a tiny city, punched above their weight impressively, the anti-Big Ben. (Allegedly)

So a great Superbowl, a great season, and not a bad first season for UKNFL. Thanks for all your support, we’ll be all over the draft, and who knows, hopefully we might have a next season! But for now, the last word goes to Commissioner Goodell, Vince Lombardi is coming home!

Jamie Cutteridge

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