Mon Feb 07 01:09am EST
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Just as he had after the Green Bay Packers won the NFC championship, Charles Woodson(notes) stood in the locker room and addressed his teammates. It was halftime of Super Bowl XLV and the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year had just been diagnosed with a broken collarbone, which he suffered in the second quarter of the game. Woodson began to talk to his teammates, to try and tell them how much he wanted to win the title and how they'd need to do so without his presence on the field. One player compared it to the famous "win one for the Gipper" speech.
Only, Woodson couldn't get out more than a few words before breaking down in tears. "I couldn't do it," Woodson said after the game. "I was just too emotional."
Whatever he said appeared to work. Despite the loss of its star cornerback, Green Bay held off the Pittsburgh Steelers for a thrilling 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV. It's the fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history for Green Bay.
That the Packers were able to overcome such a devastating loss was no surprise. The team lost six starters during the regular season, including key offensive threat Jermichael Finley(notes). Losing Woodson was the biggest injury yet. Though the secondary initially struggled in his absence, the unit righted the ship to preserve Green Bay's lead and guide the team to its first title since 1997.
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Woodson appreciated the effort. While clutching the Lombardi trophy after the game, he spoke about his halftime speech. "I don't think I've cried that much since I was a kid," he said.
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