McCarthy, Rodgers see a bright future for the Packers
By Mark Concannon
February 7, 2011
When the Packers landed in Dallas last Monday, within minutes of getting off the plane they were thrust in front of cameras and microphones, beginning a week of endless interviews, thousands of questions from hundreds of reporters, the same questions over and over again, a draining exercise that goes with the territory of being one of the last two teams standing in the NFL.
By week's end, they were tired of talking. Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers however, didn't mind talking a little more this morning. They were more than happy to be guests of honor at the press conference reserved for the Super Bowl's winning coach and Most Valuable player.
"Fire away, I've been waiting all night for this," joked McCarthy, his voice husky from lack of sleep.
McCarthy said the team celebrated with a special party last night where just about everyone had a "hands on experience" with the Lombardi Trophy, which was displayed at this morning's press conference along with the MVP Trophy.
"We're a community owned team," McCarthy said. "You can see the fingerprints on the trophy."
McCarthy was asked if he had any "alone time" with the trophy. There have been reports of previous winning coaches actually sleeping with the hardware.
"My wife's too good-looking for me to sleep with a trophy," McCarthy said.
"I didn't sleep with the trophy either," said Rodgers before he started taking questions.
McCarthy said the Packers game plan was simple and was based on the talents of the young man who accompanied him to the final media event in Dallas.
"A huge part of our plan was putting the ball in Aaron Rodger's hands," McCarthy said. "Aaron's discipline, he didn't take any chances. We put it in his hands and he came through."
Rodgers capped a remarkable run with an exemplary performance, passing for over 300 yards, three touchdowns, and most importantly, no interceptions in a game where Pittsburgh's three turnovers was a major deciding factor. Rodgers knew he would be the focus coming in and accepted the challenge.
"I never felt the nerves," Rodgers said. "I felt good about the plan. I expected to make the plays that were there."
"I think he has the best skills in the league," McCarthy said of Rodgers. "His pinpoint accuracy and his mobility."
Rodgers has overcome doubters during every phase of his career. He fell to the 24th spot in the first round of the college draft, and served as Brett Favre's apprentice for three seasons. There is little doubt about his status as an elite quarterback now.
"It's been my career," Rodgers said. "Waiting for an opportunity and making the most of it."
Rodgers credits McCarthy with helping his development by being a "real players coach" and enjoys his relationship with the field boss, who perhaps had a different opinion of the quarterback when he was an assistant coach with the 49ers.
"I've had a chip on my shoulder since he passed on me (in the draft, the 49ers selected Alex Smith instead) in San Francisco," Rodgers joked. "Maybe this will help bring us together."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who said overnight ratings show Super Bowl XLV was the most watched show in television history, presented Rodgers with the MVP trophy saying "Aaron represents the best of the game and the best of people who play the game."
But Rodgers feels he can improve his game.
"I'm always looking for challenges," Rodgers said.