Linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finely took their beef public with an organizational decision not to include players on injured reserve in the Super Bowl team photo. "The problem, from the Packers point of view, is they’re not the only two players on injured reserve," writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Had the Packers not had 15 players on injured reserve, things might have been handled differently."
Adam Rank of NFL.com shared his opinion of the situation on the league's official website. "It is the other 14 guys (according to the Associate Press’s count) who end up being viewed like Grandpa Simpson and his story of the Flying Hellfish," writes Rank. "Those are the guys who we should be concerned about. How could the Packers be so heartless?"
Wally Pingel of PocketDoppler looks at perception versus reality regarding the Super Bowl photo flap. "I’m with Kyle Cousineau when he said “This team pic is for the guys going to the Super Bowl. Sad reality is those guys aren’t playing. Plain and simple.” I get that they are still part of the team, but they aren’t part of the team on the field & like it or not due to the logistics of things being in the photo just isn’t going to work," writes Pingel. "They all will get rings if the Packers win, they will all be there at the game. Not being in one photo isn’t a sign of disrespect but rather only a perceived one by certain players and perhaps most importantly, if there was issue to be had it should have taken place behind closed doors & not out in front of 1000?s of people."
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers may have avoided a concussion by wearing his new helmet since suffering two concussions earlier this season. "The hit by Peppers, running full bore at Rodgers, is the kind the league wants to take out of the game -- even thought Peppers is absolutely not a dirty player and I'm sure didn't mean to hit Rodgers in the head. Rodgers took no malice from it at all," writes Peter King of Sports Illustrated. "But the league wants onrushing linemen to aim lower with their hits, and I wouldn't be surprised if Peppers gets a fine for making contact with Rodgers' helmet, even though it wasn't the kind of classic helmet-to-helmet hit that leaves a quarterback woozy." Rodgers said he was glad he was wearing the helmet.
The Packers' winding path to the Super Bowl is touched upon by Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. “With the injuries we had early in the season, maybe some people wrote us off,” left tackle Chad Clifton is quoted as saying in Wilde's article. “But again, I think that's just a credit to the players we have in the locker room. Guys stepped up and played and played well and put us in position to get us where we're at today.”
Are the Packers the best six-loss team in NFL history? Michael David Smith of the Wall Street Journal thinks so. "A closer look at the Packers' six losses, however, shows why Green Bay is better than its record would indicate, and why the Packers are the favorites: They played close, competitive games even in defeat, in a way no NFL team ever had," writes Smith.
Ted Thompson's method of team building has converted a skeptic. "Green Bay's mad dash to Super Bowl XLV has finally convinced me that saturation drafting and paying your key players to stick around after you've developed them is a philosophy capable of producing a championship-caliber team," writes Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal.
Mike McCarthy is compared to Mike Holmgren by Mike Vandermause of the Press-Gazette. "They have a lot more in common than their first name," writes Vandermause. "Both were hired by the Packers when they were in their early 40s – McCarthy at age 42 and Holmgren 43. Both posted 38-26 records in their first four seasons on the job. Both guided their teams to the Super Bowl in their fifth seasons. Both possessed the same .667 playoff winning percentage entering the Super Bowl – Holmgren was 6-3 and McCarthy is 4-2."
The task facing Clay Matthews of sacking Ben Roethlisberger is broken down by Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The 28-year-old Roethlisberger is 6-foot-5 and 241 pounds, easily one of the most physically imposing men at the position and clearly one of the greatest challenges for the Green Bay defense when the Packers play Pittsburgh on Feb. 6," writes Nickel. Matthews had two sacks against Roethlisberger in '09.
David Steele of NFL Fanhouse digs deep into the background of rookie running back James Starks. "He was the star player on a state championship high school basketball team that produced a future NBA first-round pick," writes Steele. "He was the lead running back on a college football team that made Turner Gill into a hot coaching prospect. He has overcome surgery that erased his senior season, bounced back from a different injury that wiped out half of his NFL rookie season, and worked his way up from fourth on the depth chart."
The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant, Mich. profiles little known Packer Josh Gordy. Gordy attended Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. "The former four-year starter at cornerback for Central Michigan University is one of four Chippewas who will be represented on Super Sunday as the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6," writes Drew Ellis. Gordy is typically part of the team's inactive list but is part of the 53-man roster.
Aaron Rodgers is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
John Kuhn is profiled by Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal.
Glory Years Packer Paul Hornung is picking the Packers to win the Super Bowl.
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