Super Bowl Frenzy: Packers Put Twitter Trouble Aside
By Jay Sorgi
Next game: February 6th at Super Bowl XLV vs. Pittsburgh
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Now that the Packers have arrived in North Texas for the Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers has put his team's Twitter-driven mini-controversy to rest.
"I think, obviously, this was made a bigger issue than it was," Rodgers said shortly after his team settled in at its hotel. "There was nothing going on in Green Bay last week, so this little thing blew up bigger than we ever thought it would."
Rodgers hopes that's the last word in a week filled with bickering about hurt feelings of injured teammates who tweeted to complain when it looked like they weren't being included in this week's team photo. It's the kind of minor issue that can suddenly become a big deal when a team is in the spotlight preparing for the Super Bowl.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy will try to steer the team clear of such potential distractions the rest of the week.
"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."
First they'll have to figure out how they want to deal with the weather. They've left Wisconsin but can't seem to shake free from winter.
With icy conditions predicted in the Dallas area, McCarthy said he will consider taking the team indoors for practice but first wants to get a look at the indoor practice facility available to him.
"We discussed it earlier in the week," McCarthy said. "With the weather and the indoor facility and the surface and so forth, we'll probably make that decision sometime later tomorrow."
Then they'll have to find a way to bridge their inexperience gap.
While the Steelers have no shortage of Super Bowl experience, the Packers have two players who have been on losing teams, Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett. Fullback John Kuhn earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Steelers' practice squad.
McCarthy doesn't think experience will be a factor after the game kicks off.
"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."
McCarthy has picked other coaches' brains for advice about preparing for a Super Bowl, but he can't draw on any personal experience. This will be his first trip to the game -- even as a spectator.
McCarthy said he intentionally stayed away throughout his coaching career, saying he'd go only when one of his teams is playing.
"I'm sure I'm like every other coach in the past when your season is over, I really didn't want to be around the participation leading up to the big game," McCarthy said. "I just always waited until this moment, and I'm glad I did."
McCarthy's family is coming in later this week, but it doesn't sound like the coach is planning on having much fun.
"I'm going to do as little as I possibly can to enjoy myself," McCarthy said.
Woodson said he 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."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)