"I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good, good night, woo hoo" are the lyrics the Black Eyed Peas belted out at halftime of the Super Bowl.
Those words rang true for the Green Bay Packers and their loyal fans when the clock hit 0:00 on Sunday. The Cheeseheads were dancing in the streets, and "Titletown USA" was rocking.
We, as football fans, have been spoiled lately as it was another great Super Bowl. Like the last three, it came down to the final drive to decide who was going to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, and for some of the Packers also the "Championship Belt."
The game truly summed up how the season went for the Packers. Injuries to key players - Charles Woodson and Donald Driver - in the first half did not stop the "Cheese Machine." Back-up defensive back Jarrett Bush and back-up wide receiver Jordy Nelson made key plays in replacing these first-line players.
This season, Green Bay had 15 players on injured reserve, so they have seen this movie before, and knew what had to be done. Credit goes to head coach Mike McCarthy, who kept the team together with all these injuries. There are very few teams, if any, who could have had these significant injuries and be Super Bowl champions.
The Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger were trying to win their third Super Bowl in six years, but three costly turnovers killed any chance.
Credit to Pittsburgh for not quitting after trailing 21-3 in the first half as they made a late charge to within three points. However, a great time-consuming drive halfway through the fourth quarter gave the Packers a six-point lead with two minutes left.
During the Packers' last drive, the Steelers could not stop MVP Aaron Rodgers on a critical third-and-10 pass to Greg Jennings as he fitted the ball in a spot smaller than an iPad. What a throw at such a big moment!
The Packers' game plan was to expose the Steelers' secondary as their good pass rush all year covered up Pittsburgh's holes in the back end. No team during the Pack's playoff run had an answer for their four-wide package.
With this being a copy-cat league, you will see teams trying this next season on offence. From a personnel perspective teams are going to need to draft more quality defensive backs to match up better with this scheme.
Green Bay has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and will get back many starters who ended up on injured reserve back next year. That will provide great depth next season as this team's back-ups got valuable playing time and experience. Don't be surprised if you see them back here again next year.
"Speaking of next year, let's hope there will be some NFL football as labour unrest may result in the season not starting at all. The owners want an 18-game schedule, and the players do not. This could be a long lockout as the owners have deep pockets to wait it out. What a nightmare this could be for The Freak and all NFL fans!" John Turner
The Freak hopes many of the local Packer fans like Cheesie, Wade B., Peter T., Rob A., Jeff and Chuck K. enjoyed their day in the sun. You never know when you will ever get back to the big game.
Speaking of next year, let's hope there will be some NFL football as labour unrest may result in the season not starting at all. The owners want an 18-game schedule, and the players do not. This could be a long lockout as the owners have deep pockets to wait it out. What a nightmare this could be for The Freak and all NFL fans!
Thanks to all of you, the readers, and all the football fans who made this another great year. There's nothing better than walking down the street or into a store and someone wants to talk football.
Hopefully, here in Summerside, we can build the current local football programs (Spartans and Clippers), along with a new peewee program in a couple of years, to get more kids involved in this great sport.
The Freak's pick totals were 6-5 (won-lost) in the playoffs, and 82-for-130 overall. Not bad considering the great parity in the league. Hopefully, The Freak didn't cost you too much money. If so, the cheque is in the mail!
For those who may have ignored their significant other the last 22 Sundays, Valentine's Day is conveniently on Monday. So be sure to do something extra special for those Sundays you were oblivious to what was going on in the outside world.
The Freak will now stare at his golf clubs over the next couple of months, dreaming of crushing his driver off the tee, hitting a wedge tight and draining that birdie putt. So until next season, whenever it starts, have a good one and remember there is always next year for your team!
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to email questions and comments to the firstname.lastname@example.org.