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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Packers feeling prepared heading into Super Bowl

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) at the end of the NFC Championship game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, January 23, 2011, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers won 21-14.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) at the end of the NFC Championship game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, January 23, 2011, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers won 21-14.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Any story is enhanced when the motives of the main characters remain suspect.

This is one of those stories.

Nearly five months ago, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his offensive linemen showed up for a Green Bay Chamber of Commerce luncheon wearing cowboy hats. The players say it was all in fun, a harmless release between the drudgery of training camp and the start of a long regular season. They swear it was not a declaration of their intent to usurp the dream of a certain owner or a prediction that they would play in Cowboys Stadium in Super Bowl XLV.

“”A bunch of Cowboys back in (September), and now we’re heading down to Dallas,”” Packers right guard Josh Sitton said. “”I think it’s pretty cool.””

Cool doesn’t begin to describe Green Bay’s journey. It certainly doesn’t give a sense of the confidence the Packers carry into this game with Pittsburgh.

The players don’t feel they’ve captured lightning in a bottle — or a cowboy hat for that matter. Green Bay knows it belongs in this game.

Charles Woodson has been in the NFL for 13 seasons. The Pro Bowl cornerback said he’s never felt better about a team than this one.

Veteran receiver Donald Driver takes it one step further.

“”We know that no one can beat us but ourselves,”” he said. “”That’s been a proven fact all season long.””

Green Bay’s 10-6 record during the regular season isn’t all that impressive. This is: The Packers haven’t lost a game by more than four points. They have not trailed a regular-season or playoff game by more than seven points.

Green Bay is the only team since the merger 40 years ago to make that claim.

Coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t been shy. He voiced his belief during the off-season that this could be a Super Bowl team and never backed off. The players followed his lead.

Safety Nick Collins said this group preached Super Bowl from Day One. This confidence was actually born in the second half of last season when the Packers averaged 30.7 points and won seven of their final eight games before suffering a wild 51-45 defeat to Arizona in the wild-card round.

“”We felt like we had an opportunity last year to go all the way and fell a little short,”” Collins said. “”We just came in with the mind-set that we can go all the way, and everybody bought in.””

“”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,”” McCarthy said.

They’ve earned the right to wear those cowboy hats.

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