Rodgers brings Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay


Rodgers brings Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay

Feb. 6, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Forget Lombardi on Broadway. Green Bay has the newest Super Bowl hit: Aaron Rodgers.Capping one of the greatestpostseasons for any quarterback, Rodgers led the Packers to their firstNFL championship in 14 years Sunday, 31-25 over the PittsburghSteelers. The Packers reclaimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named fortheir legendary coach who won the first two Super Bowls and is makinghis own star turn in New York these days in the play named after him.Rodgers, the game's MVP, thrilled hislegion of Cheesehead fans with a spectacular six-game string thatshould finally erase the bitterness of the Brett Favre separation inGreen Bay. He's now equal with Favre in Super Bowl wins, and heextended the Packers' record of NFL titles to 13, nine before the SuperBowl era."It's what I dreamt about as a little kid watching Joe Montana and Steve Young," Rodgers said, "and we just won the Super Bowl."
The former Cal standout threw for threetouchdowns, two to Greg Jennings, and the Packers (14-6) overcame evenmore injuries, building a 21-3 lead, then hanging on to become thesecond No. 6 seed to win the championship. Coincidentally, the 2005Steelers were the other.
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Rodgers threw for 304 yards,including a 29-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson, who had nine catches for140 yards to make up for three big drops. Rodgers found Jennings,normally his favorite target, for 21- and 8-yard scores."Wow! It's a great day to be great, baby," Jennings said.Then the favored Packers held on as Pittsburgh (14-5) stormed back."We've been a team that's overcomeadversity all year," Jennings said, who noted injuries to CharlesWoodson and Donald Driver. "Our head captain goes down, emotional inthe locker room. Our No. 1 receiver goes down, more emotions are going,flying in the locker room. But we find a way to bottle it up and exertit all out here on the field."Few teams have been as resourcefulas these Packers, who couldn't wait to touch the trophy honoring theirgreatest coach -- and their title. Several of them kissed it as Cowboysgreat Roger Staubach walked through a line of green and gold."Vince Lombardi is coming back to Green Bay," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said as the silver prize was handed to the team.After sitting for three seasons,Rodgers took the Packers to two late-season victories just to make theplayoffs as a wild card. Then he guided them to wins at Philadelphia,Atlanta and archrival Chicago before his biggest achievement -- againsta Pittsburgh team ranked second in defense.
CURRAN: Greatness eludes Roethlisberger on final driveThey barely survived a sensationalrally by the Steelers, who still own the most Super Bowl rings -- six ineight tries. But Pittsburgh failed to get its third championship in sixyears with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger's seasonbegan with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personalconduct policy. It ended with Roethlisberger standing on the sideline,his head down, hands on his hips, feeling something he neverexperienced: defeat in a Super Bowl. "I feel like I let the city ofPittsburgh down, the fans, my coaches and my teammates," Roethlisbergersaid, "and it's not a good feeling."
Not even a decidedly black-and-goldcrowd, with Terrible Towels swirling throughout the 1.2 billionstadium, could make a difference for the mistake-prone Steelers. Theirtwo biggest defensive stars -- Defensive Player of the Year safety TroyPolamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison -- were virtuallyinvisible. The offense didn't seem to miss outstanding rookie centerMaurkice Pouncey, who was out with an ankle injury, but Roethlisbergeronly occasionally made key plays until the second half.
RELATED: Polamaulu, Harrison silent in Super BowlThe biggest plays were left toRodgers, Nick Collins with a 37-yard interception return for a TD,Jennings, Nelson, and the rest of the guys in green and gold. In theend, they gave coach Mike McCarthy his first Super Bowl victory againstthe team he rooted for while growing up in Pittsburgh. BesidesLombardi, Mike Holmgren won a title in 1997 with Favre."This is a great group of men here, a lot of character," Rodgers said. "We went through a lot together."Even on Sunday, they did. Woodsonwent out late in the first half with a collarbone injury, a few playsafter Driver was sidelined with an ankle problem."It was very difficult to watch," Woodson said, "but it feels good now."Woodson saw the Steelers, whorallied from a 21-7 halftime hole against Baltimore three weeks ago,show the same resilience. A 37-yard catch and run by Antwaan Randle El -- an almost forgotten figure during his return season with just 22receptions -- sparked a quick 77-yard drive. Hines Ward, the 2006 SuperBowl MVP, had 39 yards on three catches during the series, including an8-yard TD when he completely fooled Jarrett Bush.A quick defensive stop and a 50-yarddrive to Rashard Mendenhall's 8-yard touchdown run made it 21-17. Butwith Pittsburgh driving for perhaps its first lead of the game,Mendenhall was stripped at the Green Bay 33 by Clay Matthews -- one ofthe few plays the All-Pro linebacker made. The Packers recovered, andRodgers hit Jennings for 8 yards and the winning points.Pittsburgh's last gasp was on a25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace and a brilliant pitchout byRoethlisberger to Randle El for a 2-point conversion.
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Mason Crosby added a 23-yard field goal for the Packers and the Steelers had no more comebacks in them."You play to be world champions," Matthews said, "and that's what we are today."

Lynch 'soaking up the system', easing into Raiders OTA practices


Lynch 'soaking up the system', easing into Raiders OTA practices

ALAMEDA – Marshawn Lynch didn’t bring his helmet to Tuesday’s OTA practice. Didn’t need it then, or on Monday.

Not for a cameo appearance during individual drills. The veteran running back wasn’t available during team sessions, and spent most of the two-hour practice working in the team’s performance center.

Lynch skipping full-speed work isn’t cause for alarm. First of all, it’s May. Second, Lynch is in great shape but still ramping back up after a season away from NFL football. It would make sense to ease him back in during the spring.

Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t say when Lynch’s activity would increase, but wasn’t concerned one bit about Lynch’s limited OTA participation – he routinely skipped them while playing in Seattle -- and praised the Oakland native’s level of involvement in the Raiders offseason program since a new contract was worked out and his rights were acquired from Seattle on April 26.

“He’s coming along. He’s doing great. There are no issues there,” Del Rio said. “He has been here like he said he would. He has really been committed. He said, ‘Coach, this is home for me. It’s not like I’m going home and I won’t be here. He is committed to being here and is excited to be a Raider. We’re excited to have him.”

Lynch was on the practice field for some team periods analyzing plays with offensive teammates, and was working out with them after the session. Del Rio didn’t delve into when Lynch’s on-field activity would increase, but there’s no reason to rush a veteran player who ultimately must be ready come September.

“He’s doing great,” Del Rio said. “He’ll continue to do the things we’re asking him to do. He is really soaking up the system, and has done a great job fitting in.”

That’s clear. He gets on well with left tackle Donald Penn and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, and gravitates toward fellow former Seahawks like edge rusher Bruce Irvin and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. General manager Reggie McKenzie said last week Lynch was already entrenched in the Raiders locker-room culture, which was evident in how teammates talked about him.

“Getting Marshawn has been great,” Penn said. “He brings a lot of energy here and a lot of momentum. It feels good having him here. We joke around a lot, having fun. You all probably don’t know Marshawn, but he’s a pretty funny guy. He’s really cool, and it’s good having him around here.”

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Marlins-A's coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After missing four games, Yonder Alonso is back in the lineup as the A's begin a series against the Marlins Tuesday night.

Miami Marlins:
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) RF
3. Christian Yelich (L) CF
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) DH
5. Justin Bour (L) 1B
6. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
7. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
8. J.T. Riddle (L) SS
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) LF
Jose Urena -- RHP

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) RF
2. Mark Canha (R) CF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) DH
7. Stephen Vogt (L) C
8. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jesse Hahn -- RHP