‘Green’ Packers taking it all in
Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 6:21 pm
By: By CHRIS JENKINS, AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Texas (AP) — When it comes to Super Bowl experience, the Green Bay Packers are pretty, well, green.
Even their coach.
When Mike McCarthy leads his team into Cowboys Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, it will be his first time at the big game — even as a spectator.
His family wanted to go, but he always said no. Not until one of his teams actually played in it.
“I just always waited until this moment, and I’m glad I did,” McCarthy said Monday after his team arrived in North Texas.
And now that McCarthy finally made it, he clearly doesn’t plan on having much fun outside of Xs and Os.
He’ll stick with the routine that helped the Packers get where they are.
“I’m going to do as little as I possibly can to enjoy myself,” he said.
McCarthy understands that the Super Bowl can and should be fun for players, but he doesn’t want them to forget they’re here for business.
“Our players were really excited to get down here today, just visiting with a number of them one-on-one,” McCarthy said. “They’re excited about the process leading up to the game. Like a lot of us, we wish the game was already here. We don’t want to take away this experience. I told them to be very realistic, be practical.
“Enjoy it. It’s unique, an opportunity to be in front of the media every day. It will be a great experience for our players and our coaches. But at the end of the day, this is about beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Charles Woodson managed to forget all about the pregame hype on the flight down to the Dallas area; he watched the movie “The Social Network.”
Then the Packers landed, and it hit him.
“I really didn’t think about the game ’til we landed,” Woodson said. “Then you look out the window and you see all the cameras, you see all the police escorts and that sort of thing. So once we landed and I (saw) all that, then I got some chills a little bit because this is the last game.”
Linebacker A.J. Hawk plans to take it all in.
“From talking to guys in the past that have been here they have said to just take it for what it is and enjoy it,” Hawk said. “Enjoy all the hoopla and everything surrounding the game.
“We can’t wait for the game to get here, but we are also enjoying every day and enjoying our preparation.”
First the Packers will have to figure out how to handle the weather.
They’ve left Wisconsin, but can’t seem to shake free from winter.
With icy conditions expected in the Dallas area, McCarthy said he will consider taking the team indoors for practice but first wanted to get a look at the practice facility available to him.
“I’m sorry we brought the weather with us from Green Bay,” he joked.
Another important order of business for the Packers was putting their weeklong, Twitter-driven mini-controversy to rest.
“I think, obviously, this was made a bigger issue than it was,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “There was nothing going on in Green Bay last week, so this little thing blew up bigger than we ever thought it would.”
In case you missed it: Several injured teammates tweeted their complaints when it looked as though they wouldn’t be included in a team photo.
It’s the kind of minor issue that can suddenly blow up when a team is in the spotlight.
The Packers concede that their lack of Super Bowl experience might be an issue when it comes to facing the Steelers, but not a major one when the game begins late Sunday afternoon.
“Maybe ignorance is bliss for us,” Rodgers said.
While the Steelers’ Super Bowl pedigree is unquestioned, the Packers have two players who have been on losing teams, Woodson and Ryan Pickett. Fullback John Kuhn earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Steelers’ practice squad.
“The advantage Pittsburgh has over us in my opinion is today through Saturday,” McCarthy said. “So we’ll continue to work and educate our football team. They are a dedicated and focused bunch so I’m not really concerned about it.”