DALLAS -- Sitting at the podium wearing a Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV champions shirt, QB Aaron Rodgers was what you would expect a Super Bowl MVP to be like 20 minutes after a world championship. Elated. Shock. Nearly crying -- but the good kind of tears.
As he walked to the podium, the crowd of reporters mobbed his area. Pieces of confetti dropped from his shirt as he made his way to the stand and plopped up there. He said things like, "Great group of men" and "It was just a fun night" as he described the Packers 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Packers are your Super Bowl winners and Rodgers is your MVP.
After the Super Bowl, I thought this truly became Rodgers' team, if it wasn't already. He tore through the playoffs becoming just the second player in history to throw for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in a playoff run. The Packers rushed the ball just 13 times tying a Super Bowl record-low meaning the pressure was on Rodgers to deliver all game. And he became an MVP in the biggest game of his life without one of the cornerstones of the Packers franchise the last decade in WR Donald Driver, who left with an injury.
Not even QB Brett Favre has a Super Bowl MVP in his trophy room. If Green Bay ever needed the validation that they made the right move choosing Rodgers over Favre three years ago, this was it.
"I've never felt like there's been a monkey on my back," Rodgers said after the game when asked about Favre. "The organization stood behind me, believed in me. That's what I did on the podium; I thanked Ted [Thompson] and Mark [Murphy] and Mike [McCarthy] really for believing in me and giving me an opportunity. I told Ted back in 2005 he wouldn't be sorry with this pick. I told him in '08 that I was going to repay their trust and get us this opportunity."
Following the game, players from both teams talked about Rodgers:
Pittsburgh DE Brett Keisel: "I have a lot of respect for him. He is the reason they won. He is a phenomenal guy."
Green Bay NT B.J. Raji: "To be honest, I didn't expect anything less from A-Rod. He's been doing this the whole season and throughout the playoffs. He's emerged as our leader and I believe the best is yet to come."
Pittsburgh S Troy Polamalu: "Is he the MVP tonight? He deserved it."
Pittsburgh WR Hines Ward: "For Rodgers to take it down and score on our defense, that's the sign of a great coming out party for him. I think this was a big game for him against our defense."
Green Bay G Daryn Colledge: "He's probably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, so we feel in the huddle that all we've got to do is protect him and he'll make things happen."
Green Bay WR Donald Driver: "One thing, that guy is a true leader. He goes out week in and week out and proves people wrong. He proved it once again and he can now say that he is one of the best quarterbacks in this game."
Green Bay GM Ted Thompson: "I think people are going to write stories about him 10 years from now; he's pretty special. Even though he's done so much, he's still just kind of getting started."