2.07.2011

Monday Morning Revelry: See What I did There Edition

They Win
1.  a. Ted Thompson just won the Super Bowl.  The way that game played out, is there any better explanation?  This team is Thompson's team, win or lose.  The players assembled are TT type of guys, for worse or in this case for better.  As much as you want to credit the players the fact is: Nobody can be given more credit for this championship than Ted Thompson.

Would many General Managers give the reigns of one of the NFL's flagships franchise organizations to an unproven rookie with a future Hall of Famer asking for his job back?  Would many GMs stock his defensive secondary with project picks and low draft picks?  Would any GMs rely on a - beyond - unproven running to handle the running game through the postseason?

Ted Thompson built the Green Bay Packers as we saw them on Sunday.  He assembled the cobble-job defense that won the Super Bowl.  He put James Starks in the backfield and James Jones and Jordy Nelson in the wide recievers corps.  He found Frank Zombo and Sam Shields.

The fact is, without Thompson's unwaivering scouting and confidence in the team he assembled, the Packers don't win this game.  The Green Bay Packers may get the trophy and the rings, but Ted Thompson carried them there.

b.  If there is a complaint to be made about this game it's Mike McCarthy's playcalling.  Give the man credit - he won the game the way he has coached these last few season, throwing the ball.  It was maddening more than a few times, his complete unwillingness to run the ball.

You can credit him for winning all you want but his complete abandonment of the running game in the second half made absolutely no sense.  James Starks was getting his yards, he was running effectively and getting first downs.  It's easy to be happy with the win but if the Packers lost that game then play-calling would be the first place to point a finger.

2.  Even so, Aaron Rodgers deserves a ton of credit.  The epic story can conclude itself in s sense now.  Aaron Rodgers, meet Brett Favre, because you have done as much for the Green Bay Packers as he has.  Oh you can argue MVP's and yards and records, but even looking back the best quarterback to ever play in Titletown is Bart Starr.  Why?  Because he won two Super Bowls.  Twice he carried the Packers to the title of World Champions.

Favre?  He accomplished that feat just one time.  Sure Brent has his MVP's and records but as far as this Packer fan is concerned he finds himself third in the pantheon of Packers quarterback (in large part due to his selfish and ugly exit from the team).

Mid third quarter Aaron Rodgers threw the ball to Jordy Nelson for an open pass and first down - Nelson dropped it.  The very next play Rodgers went right back to Nelson for a first down and big gain.  Put Bernie Favor in that same situation and he will not go back to the player who made the mistake.  Farfe never displayed the same type of confidence in his wideouts that Rodgers has in his years as a starter.

One of the best stories I read leading up to the Super Bowl was how Aaron Rodgers reached out to Steve Young about how to follow up a legend as the face and leader of a team.  Seeing how Rodgers has faced the adversity of his situation has not only given me the utmost respect for Aaron Rodgers but even more for Young.  Whatever advice he offered Rodgers was exactly what he needed to hear.

Welcome to history Aaron, you now own as much of a Packers legacy as Brett Favre ever did.

3.  Perfect? Far from it.  Jarrett Bush displayed everything he can be and everything he isn't yet in Sunday's win.  Keyword being "win" otherwise Bush would be one of the leading candidates for the Goat.  A few weeks ago I said that at the current development pace Bush would be a starting corner within the next two seasons. I stand by that, especially after watching Sunday's game.

Completely unplanned Bush was a storyline, he was great and he was awful at the same time.  He was Tramon Williams two seasons ago.  His jump on that pass in the second quarter was a testament to film study and instincts.

Knowing when  to take that chance and make a play isn't something you just know coming out of college, it's something you learn by playing and practicing and having a coach show confidence in your ability to get better.  But his awful coverage of Hines Ward on the Steelers only first half touchdown was also a demonstration in his current skill level.  Bush isn't great yet, but like most Thompson signings he could be - and soon.

With a stable of Bush, Woodson, Shields and Williams next year the Packers don't just feature a good group in the secondary - they feature the NFL's best.

4.  a.  Ever heard the word microcosm? Because that was the Super Bowl for Green Bay.  Microcosm is defined as a miniature representation of something, which Sunday's game certainly was.  Take a look at the 2010/11 Green Bay Packers and you would be hard-pressed to find a more unlikely group of champions.  When the season started fans were hopeful - and rightfully so.  You had a team with leaders at every level and a stud quarterback.  Green Bay had everything lined up the way a winning team needed it to happen.

And then the season happened.  Team leaders and stars like Nick Barnett, Ryan Grant and Mark Tauscher went down with injuries.  Starters like Atari Bigby and Brad Jones and replacements like Morgan Burnett would have little impact on the team.  It wasn't plan B, it was plan F.  Yet here they were, playing through it all and making there way to the biggest game any NFLer can play.

I believe that when any team in any sport plays for the championship they will face every problem and complication they faced in the regular season and have to overcome that to win.  Green Bay did that, Pittsburgh did not.

At the end of the first half all-world corner Charles Woodson would leave with an injury.  Rookie sensation Sam Shields left with an injury.  The Packers were forced to overcome injuries to two of their best defenders, like they were repeatedly able to do over the course of the season.

Green Bay had to overcome an ineffective offense, a defense that couldn't stop the run and injuries that bordered on the ridiculous.  And they did.  With a guy named Pat Lee playing a significant role they won.  These game was a small version of what they faced over the year and they overcame every single bit of it.

b.  There is one name that this season can't forget - Charlie Peprah.  Longtime special teamer and backup defensive back, Peprah was everything the Packers needed from a compliment to playmaker Nick Collins.  He was quiet.

What does that mean?  It means Peprah didn't make mistakes.  All he did was make the play that needed to be made.  When a tackle had to be made Peprah made it.  When a pass had to be defended Peprah defended it.  He didn't pick six or turn the game in the Packers favor but he never made mistakes.  When we look back at this Super Bowl run we would be remiss to exclude Charlie Peprah's impact on this defense.

Solid.  That's what he was and that's why he should be the starter whenever the Packers do play football next.

5.  So Now it's Officially Basketball season, and this just in - the Badgers are pretty good.  Remember when Tom Izzo was the gold standard of Big Ten coaches?  Not this year.  Coming off a loss to Iowa (Iowa?  Really?)  the Spartans had to visit the very unfriendly grounds of the Kohl Center.

Not only did they visit, but they got their butt's kicked out of town.  Bucky walked away with a 26-point win over the Spartans and held on to a second place tie with Purdue in the Big Ten.  If I wasn't running out of gas I would go into detail about Jordan Taylor's 30 point game and the Badger's utter domination but it's been a long day.

Suffice to say, these guys ain't bad.

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