Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2011 // 483 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jim Thomas // December 17th, 2011
Super Bowl XLV featured two of the most storied teams in the NFL, as well as a quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, bidding to step out from the considerably long shadow of Packer legend Brett Favre.
It was, as they say, a date with destiny.
A timeworn adage holds that, to make it to the championship, you have to avoid the injury bug. In 2010, the Green Bay Packers became the exception that proved the rule. The Packers limped into the playoffs -- literally, having compiled a list of injuries that would have overwhelmed a MASH unit. Fifteen players ended up on injured reserve, and several others missed multiple games. In addition, the Packers were going the wild card route, meaning that they would be playing on the road all the way to the Super Bowl. Given that Green Bay had lost its last three home games of the season, it didn't bode well for the Packers.
Green Bay Packers: Road to XLV trims the original Fox Sports broadcasts down to the bare minimum; all of the extraneous filler, from player introductions to challenge delays, is excised as well, getting each game down to roughly two hours.
* January 9, 2011 -- NFC Wild Card Game -- Green Bay 21, Philadelphia
Green Bay used a controlled passing game to build a 14-3 halftime lead; after the teams exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter, the Eagles pulled within striking distance, but the Pack intercepted Michael Vick with 36 seconds left to seal the win.
* January 15, 2011 -- NFC Divisional Playoff -- Green Bay 48, Atlanta
Atlanta was the top seed in the NFC, and looked good early on, but it all went to hell in the second quarter, with the Packers racking up 28 points. Two more unanswered TDs in the third effectively put the game out of reach.
* January 23, 2011 -- NFC Championship Game -- Green Bay 21, Chicago
The Bears and Packers are longtime rivals, but this was only the second time they had met in the playoffs (the first was all the way back in 1941). The Packers used their controlled passing game to build a 14-point lead, and Chicago could never quite get their offense on track.
* February 6, 2011 -- Super Bowl XLV -- Pittsburgh 25, Green Bay
The injury bug refused to let up on Green Bay, with two starters going down in the first half -- receiver Donald Driver and cornerback Charles Woodson. The Packers threatened to blow out the Steelers early on, opening up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Steelers refused to go gentle into that good night. They slowly but surely crawled back into the game, and after a third quarter in which they simply shut the Pack down completely, they were poised to take control of the game when a disastrous fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter set up Green Bay near midfield; they promptly drove for a touchdown. The Steelers battled back yet again, cutting the lead to 28-25 with seven minutes left; Rodgers drove the Packers down for a FG with two minutes left, putting the Steelers in a position to win the game with a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger was unable to convert a fourth down, and the Packers ran out the clock to secure the win. It might not have been the prettiest Super Bowl, but it was certainly a competitive one.
The decision to release Green Bay Packers: Road to XLV only on DVD is a puzzler. A few years ago, a standard-def release would have been sufficient; these days, though, when around sixty percent of U.S. households owning HDTVs, people are expecting more from sporting events than "merely adequate." Images are sharp enough on sideline closeups, but for the wider gameplay shots, problems are evident, with soft images and color bleeding. In short, it looks like a standard definition television broadcast. Perhaps NFL Films and or Vivendi Entertainment figured that the limited market made a Blu-ray release impractical? I dunno, but my guess is that most serious fans won't be happy with the video quality. The sound quality is...again, about what you would expect from a SD broadcast.
The only extra is a trimmed-down version of the postgame press conference. On the down side, they don't include the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy; on the up side, they don't include the godawful halftime show with the Black Eyed Peas.
Green Bay Packers: Road to XLV: Good games, weak presentation. Vivendi Entertainment is flagged fifteen yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for not releasing this set on Blu-Ray, or at the very least for not using a better master for the set. The games themselves are entertaining, but the presentation does a disservice to the games and to the fans.
Review content copyright © 2011 Jim Thomas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 483 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Press Conference
* Green Bay Packers
* Wikipedia: 2010 Green Bay Packers
* Wikipedia: Super Bowl XLV