Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson celebrate a score in Super Bowl XLV.

Last night’s game was just about everything I hoped and expected it to be.  Aside from the Packers jumping out to an 18 point lead in the first half, it was a close, hard fought game that went down to the final possession.  Before the game, I kind of had a feeling Green Bay would win, and at the very least, I expected them to give Pittsburgh a good fight.

As this article points out, the competitive balance exhibited by the NFL year after year is not found in other sports.  The Packers are just the third 10-6 team to make (and win) the Super Bowl, and they became the second team (and the first from the NFC) to make the Super Bowl as a 6 seed (the other being the 2005 Steelers, who also won).

Throughout its history, the Super Bowl has had a tendency to be a blowout.  This was especially true during the 80’s and 90’s when 10 games were decided by at least 17 points, including a stretch of five games from 1984-1988 that were all decided by 19 points or more.  However, since 2000, only two games were won by more than two scores, and there have been none since 2003.  The last eight Super Bowls were decided by 6, 14, 4, 3, 12, 11, 3, and 3 points.

I think this all means that the NFL will continue to be the most popular sport in America because of the parity.  Every season, you never know who is really a contender.  For example, the Saints won the Super Bowl last year, but they were eliminated this year by the 7-9 Seahawks in a wild-card game.  Some say having such balance is good for the sport, as it retains interest across the board.  However, some might feel it’s better to have a powerhouse team that everyone is chasing every year.  I feel the NFL has a little of both.  While the Saints and Packers, in their own ways, came from nowhere to win titles the past two seasons, over the last decade, there have always been the same teams in the hunt:  The Patriots, the Colts, the Steelers.  In the 90’s it was the Cowboys.  In the 80’s, it was the 49ers, and before them, the Steelers and Cowboys in the 70’s.

What the Packers did last night did not surprise me, and I doubt it surprised others (save Steelers fans).  This sort of thing is expected anymore.  This is the same league in which the Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007 and 11-5 in 2008.  The only thing that could have happened this post-season that might have been a shock is if Seattle had won the Super Bowl as the first 7-9 team to make the playoffs (and as a four seed).

Aaron Rodgers hoists the Lombardi Trophy.

Green Bay overcame a lot of adversity this season to accomplish what they did, and I imagine one would be hard pressed to find another champion that had to deal with more injuries and setbacks.  Even in the game last night, they couldn’t escape a rash of injuries.  However, they did escape Dallas with a title.