Two things go hand in hand with Super Bowl Sunday -- the Green Bay Packers need Donald Driver, and Donald Driver needs the Green Bay Packers.
Not that you have to tell the folks in Dallas twice.
Driver was originally added to the Packers injury report midweek, now Green Bay have had no other choice but to list him as probable to start in a days time.
It's been 12 years in the making for one of Green Bay's most famous wide receivers. From the crisp days of Brett Favre through to Aaron Rodgers classy neighborhood, Driver is yet to win a Super Bowl ring after years of hard work in a city best known as "Titletown".
All of that may change this Sunday if things go to plan. Although it hasn't been all success and reward as far Driver is concerned.
An unknown rookie fresh from the turf of Alcorn State, Driver's bright eyes withheld some serious potential as a student of the game in Green Bay. 1999 saw only 31 yards and a score from Green Bay's newest recruit. Those same statistics never popped up again.
Instead, Driver went on to post six consecutive plus 1000 yard seasons, along with winning some of the NFL's minor awards, such as the Galloping Gobbler in 2009. Not to mention the small accomplishment of becoming the Packers all time leader in receptions. Not that this is anything major. (Yeah right).
So perhaps that is why head coach Mike McCarthy would be appalled if Driver were to sit out this Sunday with a quadriceps injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That or the fact that Driver is one of the sharpest competitors to tie up a pair of cleats.
Nonetheless, Driver has instilled some nervousness in Packer fans lately. Missing practice during the week is highly unlike one of Green Bay's oldest players, and after sustaining serious injury problems all year long, Super Bowl XLV remained a dark spot in Driver's career.
"He would practice today if I would let him," McCarthy told the media on Friday. "He tweaked it in Wednesday's practice, and frankly I just do not want to take any chances at this point. So I will hold Donald from practice again today. Donald's played a lot of football, he knows the offense, he's had a whole week of preparation with the plan last week, so this is clearly just being safe."
Contrary to what McCarthy says, Driver is one of the safest guys in the league.
Sure hands, speed and a 61 yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers that will plague highlight reels, Driver has become one of the best unnoticed receivers in the NFL. Despite the Packers recent offensive struggles, particularly against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game, Green Bay look to utilize No.80 on short yardage situations this Sunday.
That may be easier said than done, however.
For those that need refreshing, Driver has already missed a game this year thanks to the same pesky injury. Relying on fellow receiver Greg Jennings has become the cornerstone for the Packers this season, but for an impact player like Driver to go without a reception in the Super Bowl, would almost be a crime against nature.
Trust me, Aaron Rodgers knows that.
Against the Bears two weeks ago in Chicago, Driver wound up with only nine yards and a catch to his name. As a result the Packers converted only two third down attempts all day, and were forced to witness a nail-biting finish on the sidelines as Dom Capers defense took over.
Fortunately the 3-4 scheme came through. Rookie cornerback Sam Shields also pitched in a helping hand with two interceptions.
But against a team like Pittsburgh, having a weak link in the chain could cost McCarthy his first Super Bowl in Green Bay. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be without rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, but on defense, the Steelers are still the same intimidating opponent behind safety Troy Polamalu.
In case you forgot, Polamalu is the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year for a reason.
Therefore, anything short of a remarkable performance from Driver will seriously limit the Packers on the weekend. Jennings is great in just about scenario, but the big stage is likely to rattle younger players in the likes of Jordy Nelson, James Jones and tight end Andrew Quarless.
It may be wise for McCarthy to invest in some laughing gas before game time.
Driver failed to crack over 1000 yards this year, and in fact he didn't come close either, posting just 565 yards and four touchdowns. None of that discounts Driver against the Steelers defense on Sunday, though.
The good news?
Driver did participate in some small special teams exercises yesterday, although this could paint more of a negative picture in comparison to a positive one.
Still, if he was to miss the Super Bowl, half of Lambeau Field may self implode as a result.
McCarthy chose to resort to the silver screen yesterday, and reference the hit movie "Hoosiers" to implement an underdog feel in the Packer locker room. It looks to have worked so far.
"Everybody loves the movie 'Hoosiers', where the basketball team walks into the arena and they measure the foul line and it's 15 feet, and they measure the hoop and it's 10 feet, and everybody goes 'OK, it's big in here,'" McCarthy illustrated. "That's our approach. We're going to play football."
Like Indiana's favorite team, the Packers have small town roots, but they have immense support in Dallas to rely upon.
Driver will play, but his impact is up for debate. For a 12 year veteran playing in his first Super Bowl, recording just one catch would likely fulfill his boyhood dream.
A ring on his left hand, a wide grin and a Lambeau (Cowboys Stadium?) Leap -- that's a Super Bowl memory for a lifetime if you are a Packer fan. Right now, it isn't so crazy either.