Judge Jim Thomas was looking for the Road to the Championship, but instead found himself on the Highway to Hell.
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,
• January 15, 2011—NFC Divisional Playoff—Green
Bay 48, Atlanta 21
• January 23, 2011—NFC Championship Game—Green Bay
21, Chicago 14
• February 6, 2011—Super Bowl XLV—Pittsburgh 25,
Green Bay 31
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.
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