For some reason, one particular statement from Mike McCarthy’s Monday press conference stood out to me.
When asked if there was anyone he could call for advice about how to handle the circus that is the Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers head coach replied, “Not really. A lot of those conversations really have already gone on.
“This is something personally that I’ve been preparing for. I’ve always had the schedule in place what I would do when we got to this point. You always need to adjust it based on the health of your team or something that changes that’s out of your control.”
How far back does his preparation go?
“Quite some time,” said McCarthy. “I mean, I was in the position in ’07 to prepare for a Super Bowl ahead of time. So for a number of years.”
Perhaps I shouldn’t be suprised that McCarthy’s plan of attack for the Super Bowl dates back at least three years ago and maybe before that.
I imagine most, if not all, NFL head coaches have their schedules all mapped out for the Super Bowl well in advance. There is a reason they’ve reached the pinnacle of their chosen profession after all.
But the tunnel vision of McCarthy seems, at least to me, to be a tad sharper than most.
And by tunnel vision, I mean that in only the nicest, kindest, most reverential way. Everything seems to be geared toward winning the Super Bowl, and anything that detracts from that objective is dismissed.
To hear McCarthy speak about the goals of his football team back before Week 16 when the team’s back was against the wall and they needed to win their final two regular season games to even qualify for the playoffs, it was all very motivational. The confidence was evident in his voice.
“You really have no control of the path,” said McCarthy. “That’s part of the deal. I mean, every season’s different. You just try to keep it on the road. So our particular path this year, in hindsight, has made us a stronger football team. It’s shaped us in a different way. We’ve had opportunity, really, to play five playoff games going into this Super Bowl. So I think that really helps us. We feel like we’re a razor-sharp team as far as the level of play that we’ve been bringing to the table here the last month.
“We knew we were a good football team when we came out of training camp. We knew we’d have an opportunity to be part of this. And things sometimes go your way, sometimes they don’t. But I think it speaks volumes about the men in the locker room, the character, everybody keeping an eye on their target. And really coming down to the New York Giants game, that’s the one thing that we just kept reiterating to our players: All of our goals are still in front of us. We didn’t need any help. And I think that really helped our guys stay focused, stay on point, and the Giant victory there at home was big and then we were able to run the next four in a row. Just part of shaping of a football team.”
As the Packers embark on this long, trying and probably dizzying trip over the course of these next two weeks, I’m confident the organization has found the proper captain for their ship.