Every year since the Madden video game has been in existence, I’ve always run a simulated game of the upcoming Super Bowl. Having never been exceptional at playing the game, as my son or the computer would always win at least 75% of the time, I figured going the sim route would be the most realistic. For the years in the 80s and 90s, I would run through the sim-results on my weekly radio show. However during the past decade I’ve kept the results relatively quiet, sharing them only as conversation pieces amongst friends. PS- the sim that I run has picked the last five Super Bowl winners.
So now, after a 10 year reprieve, I’m prepared to share with the world, or those that care, my sim-results of the upcoming Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. For the simulated game I used the Madden ’11 video game for the Nintendo Wii gaming platform. I also set the host stadium of Dallas Stadium as the backdrop for the big game. I programmed the game to have all typical NFL rules apply, and away things went!
The opening coin flip was won by the Packers. As QB- Aaron Rodgers led the Pack in their first possession, it appeared that Green Bay would move the ball fairly well, until a catch by WR- Donald Driver and subsequent fumble at the 20 yard line gave the ball to the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger quaterbacked the Steelers in their first possession but after a half-dozen plays they were forced to punt. The first score of the game came with about 5 minutes to go in the first quarter when the Packers’ Rodgers connected with WR- Greg Jennings for an 18 yard TD pass. The Steelers answered that score with a field goal of their own by Place kicker, Shaun Suisham. At the end of the 1st quarter it was the Packers 7- Steelers 3.
The second quarter saw Roethlisberger start to catch fire with a balanced running attack from RBs- Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore. The Steelers scored twice in the quarter with a 8 yard TD run from Mendenhall and 32 yard hook up between Roethlisberger and TE- Heath Miller. Before the Packers knew it, it was Steelers 17 – Packers 7. The Green Bay offense seemed to struggle most of the first half, but with under a minute to go before half, Rodgers connected with Driver for a 25 yard touchdown, making the halftime score: Pittsburgh 17 – Green Bay 14.
Now if I really wanted to add to the real life experience of America’s special day, I could have logged onto YouTube and played a Black-eyed Peas video during halftime. But instead I got a fresh Diet Pepsi, and settled back in to view the final half.
The Steelers opened the second half by scoring on the fourth play of the half on a Mendenhall 54 yard run. The play put the Steelers up 24 -14. After a couple punts the Packers had the ball and seemed to be driving until Steeler defensive specialist Troy Polamalu picked off a Rodgers pass and returned it for another Steeler TD. Score: Pittsburgh 31 – Green Bay 14. The Pack did get a 45 yard Mason Crosby FG in the third quarter, but after three the Steelers held a commanding 31- 17 lead.
With a lot of running by the Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall, the black and gold controlled the clock for much of the fourth quarter. With only seven minutes to play in Super Bowl XLV, the Steelers seemed to ice yet another Super Bowl ring for the historic franchise when Mendenhall found the end zone again giving the Steelers a 38 – 17 lead. The Packers converted on a couple fourth downs and managed a Rodgers to Jordy Nelson TD just before the 2-minute warning, making the score 38 – 24. After not recovering an onside kick, the Steelers ran down the clock and punted with under a minute to play. Green Bay’s last play of the game was a completion to the 5 yard line, as the clock hit 0:00. Final score: the Pittsburgh Steelers 38 – the Green Bay Packers 24.
The Player of the Game was awarded to Steeler RB- Rashard Mendenhall. He rushed for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns. Roethlisberger ended the day passing for 215 yards and 1 TD. On the Packers stat sheet, Aaron Rodgers passed for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, with the green and gold running backs rushing for only 78 yards.
In the end, the EA Sports Madden ’11 sim game has the Steelers collecting their NFL-record 7th Lombardi Trophy, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger solidifying himself as one of the game’s most succesful QBs to ever suit up.