Counting down the weekdays to Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in Houston, we look back at the 50 greatest Super Bowl competitors from the ASN family of schools as calculated one year ago. Today: 26.
When people talk about gathering around a piano to sing, images of Christmas usually come to mind. But in the case of Green Bay Packers' Atari Bigby, that is one of his lasting images from Super Bowl XLV.
"Greg Jennings and a bunch of the guys were singing," Bigby told JSOnline.com in 2014. "After that, we got fitted for our Super Bowl rings. From Day 1 that season, our goal was the Super Bowl. We went out the next day and earned it."
That moment showed how loose the Packers and Jennings, one of Western Michigan's top five career leaders in receptions (238), yards (3,539), and touchdowns (39), really were.
Jennings went on to catch two touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers the next day in the Packers' 31-25 defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers never trailed in the game and Jennings caught scoring passes of 21 and 8 yards. He finished with four receptions for 64 yards in the game.
The road to the Super Bowl was not an easy one for the Packers, who finished the regular season 10-6 and were the first NFC team in history to enter the playoffs at the No. 6 seed and win.
Along the way, Green Bay suffered injuries, but Jennings had a breakout season, catching 76 passes for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns. He finished the year ranked No. 2 in the league in receiving touchdowns and No. 4 in receiving yards. Jennings was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season and again after 2011.
“This is truly a great day to be great,” Jennings told Fox Sports after the game. “We’ve been a team that’s overcome adversity all year. Now our head captain goes down, and it’s emotional in the locker room. Then our No. 1 receiver (TE Jermichael Finley was injured in Week 5) goes down and there’s more emotion flying in locker room and we find a way to bottle it up and exert it out here on the field.”
That Super Bowl appearance is the only one of Jennings’ 10-year career. He went on to sign with the Minnesota Vikings in 2013 and Miami Dolphins in 2015. At Western Michigan, besides setting a school record with 5,093 all-purpose yards, he was a member of the debate team.
Jill R. Dorson is a freelance writer based in San Diego.