The Howard Green who drove his blocker into Ben Roethlisberger to force the first-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown in Sunday’s Super Bowl game against the Packers and Steelers?
Yep, the same Howard Green who played defensive tackle for the Seahawks in 2007-08.
Green’s emergence as an injury-replacement signee who played 18 games for the Seahawks was odd enough. He had been out of the league for almost three years. When the Seahawks called in mid-October, because D-tackles Chuck Darby and Marcus Tubbs were lost for the season, Green was in Louisiana preparing to return to LSU and complete his degree in business management.
“You never know how much you miss it until you’re out of it,” Green said at the time. “It makes you realize what you missed the most – the locker room and Sundays on the field. Those things you can’t trade for anything else.”
Green had started 12 games and produced a career-high 27 tackles for the Saints in 2004. But in 2005 and 2006, as well as most of 2007, no one called the 6-foot-2, 365-pounder. Until the Seahawks that is, with five games left in the ’07 season.
Green becoming a who-was-that-who-just-did-that Super Bowl hero for the Packers is a story almost as preposterous. After playing in 2009 for the Jets, Green signed with the Redskins last April, but was released in September. The Jets re-signed him in mid-September, only to release Green in late October. He was claimed off waivers by the Packers.
“I didn’t know what would be my next move,” Green told reporters after Sunday’s game of his release by the Jets. “Green Bay gave me a call. It’s a great feeling now. I’m just enjoying it.”
Many have called the interception return for a touchdown by safety Nick Collins the turning-point play of the game, as it gave the Packers a 14-0 lead. It never would have happened without the latest unlikely twist in Green’s contortion of a career.
A few more leftover nuggets as we head into the first week without – gulp – a football game at the end of it:
The NFC has had 10 different championships in the past 10 seasons – the Packers, Saints, Cardinals, Giants, Bears, Seahawks, Eagles, Panthers, Buccaneers and Rams. The last NFC team to play in back-to-back Super Bowls? The Packers, after the 1996 and 1997 seasons.
The Packers are the second No. 6 seed to win the Super Bowl in the past six years. The other? The Steelers, who beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. The Giants were a No. 5 seed when they won Super Bowl XLII. The only top-seeded team to win the Super Bowl during his six-pack stretch? The Saints, last year.
Will there be a roof on Lambeau Field next season? Of course not, but it might be worth considering when you consider that the Packers are 12-6 in domed stadiums under coach Mike McCarthy; and they have eight defensive touchdowns in those games; and Aaron Rodgers has thrown 28 touchdowns and six interceptions in those dome games.