ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 06: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates late in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers was a man without some lovin' on Super Bowl Sunday as the clock wound down behind Ben Roethlisberger in Dallas. Rodgers desperately tried to find somebody to throw his arms around, but when Mike Wallace dropped a fourth down catch that would have extended the Steelers drive, Rodgers instantly knew.
He'd won his first Super Bowl.
It's been a long time between trophies for not only Green Bay's quarterback, but the Packers themselves. Coach Mike Holmgren was the last to leave his clammy fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy in 1996, a game that saw Brett Favre's career shift into the "Majkowski who?" era, and carry on into an abundance of winning formulas.
Funnily enough Favre had hair back then. Now he is going the way of Terry Bradshaw.
But for Rodgers, a sixth grade basketball championship was his claim to fame prior to Sunday. Rodgers threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns during the Packers 31-25 win, although he could be named the next Armando Gallaraga after being robbed of a possible perfect game.
We won't hold James Jones accountable, though. Why? Because fans are too busy discussing something else -- the chances of a repeat.
It's only natural for everyone to debate the likelihood of double delight. Drew Brees was granted a few gasps of air in the offseason, but was bombarded by questioning in relation to the Saints chances of repeating destiny twice.
Marshawn Lynch's feet had a thing or two to say about that.
Still, the Packers aren't the Saints. They don't have to face the Atlanta Falcons twice a year (ironically they did in 2010), and most importantly, the Packers aren't short on the defensive side of the ball, an area that cost New Orleans enormously last season.
However, what we already know tells only half the story. As if Mike McCarthy doesn't look intelligent enough after overcoming serious injury depletion, tight end Jermichael Finley, running back Ryan Grant, linebacker Nick Barnett and safety Morgan Burnett will all return next season.
Hence why McCarthy feels more confident than ever.
"This is an excellent football team I feel will grow and get better," said McCarthy, who finds himself amongst Packer coaching legends after Sunday's win. "You give a good message that it’s about the team and growth and development."
That development has been on display all season.
If it hasn't been injuries, it's been penalties or special teams and poor tackling. Green Bay showed telltale signs of a .500 team midseason losing to the likes of the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins, but the grit and determination of Rodgers propelled the Packers through the haze.
"I always look for challenges," said Rodgers on Monday morning after a big night of celebrations. "The challenge goes to repeating. We’ve got one, so now what? Let’s go get another one."
Unfortunately that is the same attitude that got the Packers into trouble 14 years ago.
After defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, Green Bay went on to face John Elway and the Denver Broncos the very next year. Although it wasn't an overconfident attitude that placed the Packers in hot water, it was the fact that Green Bay underestimated Denver and allowed the game to slip away.
All-Pro Packers safety LeRoy Butler will never forget that feeling.
Luckily for fans, though, Rodgers sees the big picture along with the problems that remain. "Being a perfectionist, there are plenty of things to work on and plenty of time to work on them." said Rodgers.
The first of those problems must be addressed in this years draft. Like it or not the Packers Super Bowl win highlighted the lack of depth at the cornerback position. Injuries to Charles Woodson and Sam Shields forced Tramon Williams and Jarrett Bush to take over,
Not that I'm suggesting Thompson should go out of his way to target LSU recruit Patrick Peterson.
Packer fans, you've felt the joy of winning before, along with the downfall of losing out in the big dance the very next year. Rodgers says the core and nucleus is in place for a serious run in the years to come, so we'll hold him to his words for now.
As far as the chances of winning it all (again) go, a lot depends on the NFL. The next few months will prove to be either depressing or monumental in the leagues history, with the collective bargaining agreement still hurling issues at commissioner Roger Goodell.
I recently said it would be a shame to see Lambeau Field remain idle for a year due to financial matters, and at the end of the day, this very issue goes against every moral fiber that the Frozen Tundra represents. Rest assured, Rodgers will get his chance whether it be next year or the one after, and when it comes, the Packers will be ready to reconcile for 1997's disappointment.