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Mike McCarthy's Perseverance Seperates Him From the Rest, Includes Him in the Best

There's a lot to love about head coach Mike McCarthy.  His average Joe attitude.  His blue collar Pittsburgh background.  And his love for a morning cup of java in the seats of Lambeau Field all amount to one very humbling man.

Not that any of this may count for much in the long run.

In ten years time, fans may not think of McCarthy like they do Vince Lombardi.  McCarthy doesn't wear a trademark hat, he isn't known for his booming locker room lectures, and he certainly doesn't partake in the cliche "tough as nails" image most coaches aspire too.

But quite frankly, none of that matters.  Mike McCarthy has earned his first ring.

Through the thick of Sunday's jittery action, McCarthy was showered in a Gatorade shower on the sidelines of Cowboys Stadium.  The confetti fell like the snow two days prior, and whilst standing behind the two men that hand picked him - Ted Thompson and Mark Murphy - McCarthy was finally the victor on the podium.

So which player do we owe this great pleasure too?

Tony Dungy had Peyton Manning, although his coaching prowess came unmatched in the Colts 2006 Super Bowl run.  Fellow XLV opponent Mike Tomlin had Santonio Holmes' tip-toeing brilliance.  Then more recently, Sean Payton's mechanical mind thought up a cunning plan -- an onside kick.

I guess that leaves one logical explanation for McCarthy's success, right?

Believe it or not, this time around it isn't due to a man whose name starts with the letter 'A' and and ends in the letter 'N'.  No, this time Aaron Rodgers isn't to thank, as McCarthy can credit his perseverance towards earning Green Bay's fourth Super Bowl ring.

For starters, any head coach would have crumbled under the stress McCarthy faced to kick off the season.  Every person who had seemingly witnessed the Packers early Wild Card exit in 2009 picked Green Bay to win the Super Bowl this year, even though they look like absolute geniuses six months on.

However, if it wasn't the expectations that the entire state of Wisconsin had riding on McCarthy it was the soon to come injury depletion that slapped him in the face.  With Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett gone, any other organization would have rolled up their swag, called it a year and thrown that last bit of wood on an already burning fire.

Not in Green Bay.

Instead, McCarthy made the most of what little was left.  He made a few personnel moves, he lost several nail-biting games to the likes of Miami and Washington, and while Rodgers and the offense struggled with no run game, McCarthy allowed Dom Capers to make an impact on defense.

All of this was perfectly relevant in the Super Bowl.

Some may credit the Packers depth at just about every position for the teams win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and who can blame them.  When rookie linebacker Erik Walden was ruled out in the days leading up, Green Bay were fortunate enough to see Frank Zombo spring back to life. 

Zombo went on to record one sack and five tackles.  Perhaps the Steelers wish they were as fortunate on the Maurkice Pouncey front.

As luck would have it, though, Walden's absence isn't quite enough to illustrate the point.  Fast forward to the second quarter, Charles Woodson has just jarred his collarbone and is seen jogging off the field unconvincingly.

What does McCarthy do?  Panic?  Heck no.  He simply remains calm, as painful as Woodson's halftime tears may have been, and in the end, all of that emotion wound up to be the motivational difference for the Packers.

But the misfortune didn't stop.  Another of the Packers veteran players went down, Donald Driver, who showed the telltale signs of a worn out wide receiver in Green Bay's 31-25 win.  Driver's best years are clearly behind him, but his explosiveness still liners behind a fragile body.

Speaking of explosiveness, the rest of the Packer wide receivers lacked this natural quality.  Jordy Nelson and James Jones dropped several key passes on the night, one of which was a sure touchdown over the unbelievably quiet Troy Polamalu.

Should have, would have, could have.  McCarthy didn't get his nose out of joint, and neither did Rodgers.

He may not be your Head Coach of the Year.  Hell, he may never be acknowledged for his great coaching methods like he should. 

But in Packer land all that matters is winning, and McCarthy has prevailed. 

"I'm a big believer in people fitting into a certain culture, program and environment. I fit the Packers. It's so special as an NFL franchise. But it might not be right for everybody" McCarthy said on Monday.

That belief is easy for McCarthy to express, as the Packers organization isn't a "system" as it is more a culture of greatness.  Losing to the Cardinals in last years Wild Card round may have been the best thing for Green Bay, considering Rodgers now knows what it's like to lose a big one.  A dose of reality many young quarterbacks are in need of.

Call it faith, perseverance, whatever.  McCarthy's parents instilled this in him from an early age.  A father who was a firefighter and a Pittsburgh Police officer, McCarthy fits the mold of every true cheesehead in the United States.

They say the road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.  McCarthy may not ride a Harley like former coaching great Mike Holmgren, but he hasn't hit the eject button once during his five year career.

A double Rodgers concussion, the loss of veteran cornerback Al Harris and even Brett Favre's ping-pong battle hasn't deterred McCarthy, and nor should it, Green Bay are champs.

Whether we play football next season or not, McCarthy has set the bar for any team looking to overcome troubles.  Having no run game is no longer an excuse for not going all the way, so Indianapolis Colts, you better get your act into gear.

Still, McCarthy isn't finished just yet.  Making the future unbelievably promising if you are a Packer fan.  He may not outdo Lombardi, but McCarthy's name is at least up on the list.


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Ryan Cook is an Australian author for Acme Packing Company, and a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also a guest writer for PackerChatters, and a contributing writer for Gack Sports.