Packers’ Backup Nelson Steps Up In Super Bowl

Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson celebrates after he scored a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Jordy Nelson(notes) sure didn’t play like a backup.

The third-year pro had the game of a lifetime in the Super Bowl, catching nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Green Bay Packers 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday’s Super Bowl.


The kid from Kansas State was all over the field, snaring passes from Aaron Rodgers(notes) and catching in a 29-yarder in the right corner of the end zone to give the Packers a 7-0 lead. He also caught a 38-yarder from Rodgers to the Steelers’ 3 to set up the TD that put the Packers ahead 28-17 early in the fourth quarter.

When all was done, he had set a Packers record for receiving yards in a Super Bowl set by Max McGee, who had 138 yards in the first Super Bowl.

Nelson and James Jones(notes) are the backup for Greg Jennings(notes) and Donald Driver(notes), but Nelson was the go-to guy in the biggest game of all.

The 6-foot-2, 217-pound Nelson had 55 catches and four TDs his first two years, but had 45 this season and another 12 in the playoffs coming into the Super Bowl.

On his TD catch, he said, “Aaron gave me a little signal if it was press (coverage). It was actually a screen play but he checked to go to a route. That’s what we it.”

And winning it all?

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s incredible.”

VINCE, HERE COMES THE TROPHY: There was no shortage of the Vince Lombardi Trophy coming back to Green Bay lines after the Packers’ 31-25 win over the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Holding the trophy named for great Packers’ coach, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told club president Mark Murphy: “And now, the smallest city in the league has won the biggest game. … Vince Lombardi is coming home to Green Bay.”

Murphy saluted the fans, gave a thumbs up and said as he held the trophy: “The Vince Lombardi Trophy is coming back to Green Bay.”

Added Packers coach Mike McCarthy: “We had some bumps in the third quarter, but it was just a tremendous effort and the Vince Lombardi Trophy is coming back to Green Bay.”

The Packers won their fourth Super Bowl, and first since beating the Patriots in 1997. The first two Super Bowl wins game under Lombardi in the first two games, in 1967 and 1968.

ROONEY REACTION: It’s rare that the Rooney family returns from these Super Bowl trips without a little extra something in their suitcases—specifically, the Lombardi Trophy.

On their team’s eighth trip to the Super Bowl, the Rooneys came up short for only the second time. They still hold the record with six championships.

“Just said, `thanks,”’ Steelers president Art Rooney II said when asked what he told the players. “You know, they worked hard, we appreciated the effort they put in all year. They got us close to winning a seventh championship and that’s pretty impressive.”

By doing things “The Steeler Way,” the Rooneys have built what is arguably the most stable franchise in the NFL over the past four decades. A win Sunday would’ve given the Steelers three titles in six years and would have put them close to cementing another dynasty—one to pair with the one that captured four titles in six years in the 1970s.

Could still happen.

“I feel good about our organization,” Rooney said. “We lost to a good team and a great franchise. My hat’s off to those guys for what they accomplished this year. We just fell a little bit short.”

SUPER PACKERS: With Super Bowl win No. 4, the Packers moved into fourth place for most wins in the championship game that began in 1967.

The Steelers hold the record with six Super Bowl wins, and have now lost twice in the NFL title game.

Green Bay has a total of 12 championships with the eight they won before the Super Bowl era. The Bears are next with nine overall NFL titles.

Also, Green Bay becomes the second No. 6 seed to win the Super Bowl, joining the Steelers who won in 2006.

WIN, WIN FOR WYNN: Even before his Packers won the Super Bowl, defensive lineman Jarius Wynn(notes) had reason to celebrate: He was present for the birth of his son at a Dallas-area hospital Sunday morning, just hours before the game.

Wynn, a sixth-round draft pick in 2009, was released Sept. 4 before the start of this season. But he was re-signed Sept. 14 after a season-ending knee injury to defensive lineman Justin Harrell(notes).

Wynn has played sporadically in a reserve role since rejoining the Packers. He played in the Packers’ first two playoff games, but was inactive for the NFC championship game at Chicago.

MEET THE STEELERS … AND PACKERS: A few hours before the Super Bowl inside cavernous Cowboys Stadium, actor Owen Wilson displayed a few nifty moves, eluding a “defender” and catching a pass in the end zone, then spiking the ball over his shoulder.

Asked who he was picking, Wilson said he liked the Steelers: “I have the Steelers in my pool,” he said to cheers, followed by some boos from the sparse crowd beginning to filled the stadium. “But I can see the Packers winning, too.”

Singer Sheila E was mostly booed for picking the Packers.

TOWELS OR CHEESE: Brothers Charles and Steven Friedman had a bit of a social experiment going on outside Cowboys Stadium before kickoff. The souvenir sellers were hawking Terrible Towels at one side of the table, foam cheeseheads on the other.

Which are the hotter items?

“Terrible Towels, by far,” Charles said. “I stopped counting the cases a while ago.”

But maybe this wasn’t a fair fight.

The towels—easy to carry, fold into a suitcase and wave in the stands— were going for $15 a piece. The cheeseheads—bulky foam that must be worn on the head for best effect—were double that price.

The brothers were donating part of the proceeds to charity.

RECORD NUMBERS: A record crowd was expected at Cowboys Stadium for the Packers-Steelers Super Bowl—but fell way short.

The crowd was 91,060 paying attendees, or 103,219 counting “credentialed attendees.”

The record remains the 103,985 fans who watched the Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in the Rose Bowl on Jan., 20, 1980. Next is the 103,667 fans who watched the Redskins beat the Dolphins 27-17 on Jan. 30, 1983, also at the Rose Bowl. The two other 100,000-plus crowds were at the Rose Bowl, too, at the 1977 and 1987 Super Bowls.

YOU’RE THE MAN: Vikings safety Madieu Williams(notes) is the Walter Payton Man of the Year.

The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as play on the field.

Williams currently is in the Persian Gulf on a goodwill tour with U.S. service members. The announcement was made Sunday at Cowboys Stadium before the Super Bowl.

“It is a tremendous honor to win this award named after Walter Payton, one of the greatest men to ever play in the National Football League,” said Williams, surrounded by service members in Iraq. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to accept the award, but it’s an even greater honor to be here with the 4th Infantry Division and Task Force Iron Horse.”

AP National Writer Eddie Pells contributed to this report.