Former Aggie Bush steps up after Woodson goes down
The last pass of Super Bowl XLV was right there on Jarrett Bush's fingertips, and then the ball was on the turf.
Bush barely minded.
Sure, it would have been nice for Bush to be able to say that his interception clinched the Green Bay Packers' 31-25 victory over Pittsburgh at Cowboys Stadium. But when Ben Roethlisberger's fourth-down pass fell incomplete, Bush and the Packers could enjoy a world championship.
"I wanted that one; I wanted two," said Bush, whose second-quarter interception led to a Green Bay touchdown.
The consolation? "I'll take a Lombardi Trophy any day," Bush said, having finally arrived in the locker room after a lengthy celebration on the field.
His moment of triumph was a long time in the making. Having played for Utah State teams that won only three games in each of his two seasons (2004 and '05) under two coaching staffs, Bush has managed to make himself valuable in Green Bay for five seasons mostly as a special-teams player.
The Packers have kept upgrading the secondary, continually reducing his playing time on defense, but he came through when the team needed him in the Super Bowl with former President George W. Bush in attendance. Injuries to Charles Woodson and Sam Shields meant the former Aggie would play most of the second half while Green Bay fought off the Steelers' comeback bid.
"I didn't get to play much this season," Bush said. "If you keep working hard, keep working hard, keep working hard, when the time comes and you thought it would never come it comes, and you've got to be able to respond. And I did just that. Yes, sir. Yes, sir."
Bush was the first former Aggie to actually play in a Super Bowl since linebacker Hal Garner appeared twice for Buffalo in the early 1990s. His eventful night made up for that long absence, as Bush became the first USU product to play for the Super Bowl-winning team since receiver Solomon Miller with the New York Giants.
That was 24 years ago, and the only other Aggies to win titles played in the first six Super Bowls: defensive end Lionel Aldridge (twice) with Green Bay, kicker Jim Turner with the New York Jets and defensive back Cornell Green with Dallas.
A special-teams captain who went to midfield for the coin toss, Bush finished with three tackles defensively and two in punt coverage, plus a quarterback hurry when he blitzed.
Bush's interception came when Roethlisberger tried to squeeze in a pass to Mike Wallace amid the double coverage of Bush and Shields. "I was sitting in the middle and just jumped it," Bush said.
Before the half ended, Bush got turned around in the end zone and gave up a short touchdown pass to Hines Ward. But he recovered well in the second half, when Woodson's broken collarbone and Shields' shoulder injury forced changes in the lineup.
Bush's response was rewarding for secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. "I can't say enough about Jarrett," Whitt said. "A lot of people have criticized him, and he came in and played big. I mean, he made a lot of plays."
Whitt related how Bush kept saying, "Coach, believe in me and trust in me."
And on the sport's biggest stage, at just the right time, that faith was warranted. "You don't really worry about what other people say, but now they can be quiet and know that he's a quality player," Whitt said. "Is he Charles Woodson? No. But he's Jarrett Bush, and Jarrett Bush is good enough to win a championship with."