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The Return of the Packers
“There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I never want to finish second again.” –Vince Lombardi
Green Bay has one of the richest histories and one of the largest collections of past NFL Icons in the entire league. They are known for their home the famous Lambeau field, and the extreme Temperatures reached there. During the Ice Bowl in 1967 temperatures reached −44°C with the wind chill. Even more famous then the arena are the stars who attracted fans to come out and watch on even the most chilling of days; of those stars none may shine brighter than Vince Lombardi. Vince Lombardi is one of the most respected and famous coaches to ever appear in the National Football League. The Vince Lombardi trophy is now hoisted by the winners of the Super Bowl every year. Vince Lombardi led the Packers to 5 championships, in 9 years as a head coach. This year marks only the 3rd time that the Pack will play in the Super Bowl since his departure.
In 1996 another famous Packer, by the name of Brett Favre left his mark forever in the National Football League. Although now heavily criticized, at that time Cheese head Icon Brett Favre led the Packers to their first championship since 1967. Under his watch the Packers also returned to the Super Bowl the following year but were defeated by the Denver Broncos 31 – 24. Brett may not hold the same place in the hearts of the fans as Vince did, but there is no doubting his value to the franchise.
In 2005 a Quarterback by the name of Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round with the 24th pick overall. Aaron would sit, watch and learn patiently for 3 years while Brett painfully finished his tenure with Green Bay. In 2008 Rodgers got his shot to be the starting QB for the Green Bay Packers and he seized the position and league by storm. Posting hellacious numbers of 4000 yards, 28 touch downs, and a 93.8 QB rating the departure of all time great Brett Favre seemed like a trivial transaction. Aaron gave a delectable encore, producing even better numbers in 09-10 and taking the Packers to the playoffs, although they would lose that game there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that a new regime of the Green Bay Packers had begun. Coming into the 2010-11 season despite several of the favored teams failing, the majority of the experts correctly predicted the Packers to be in the Super Bowl. Aaron is now well on his way to forever embedding his legacy into the hearts and minds of football fans everywhere.
The stage could not be set more beautifully after being hidden in the shadow of Brett Favre the entire first half of his career Aaron and his packers find themselves the underdogs, playing against another of the NFL’s most historic franchises, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have also enjoyed plenty of success and have numerous icons both past and present of their own. But the Steelers have always been known as the Steel Curtain, an oppressive, rough and tenacious team that strikes fear into their opponents. The Steelers play tough football based off strong defense and efficient offense that knows how to pound the ball. Unlike Aaron and his dark horseteam the Steelers are not new to the Super Bowl and should they win this year it would be the 3rd Super Bowl the franchise has won in just 6 years. Many people find themselves disliking the Steelers and there controversial quarterback who only this offseason was being accused of an atrocious crime; Ben Roethlisberger was even rumored to be traded despite winning 2 championships in Pittsburgh. Their truly are many great underlying stories heading into this year’s most anticipated event in professional sport. Will Big Ben and his Steelers close the door on this young Packers franchise, and perhaps through a 3rd championship earn a chance at redemption from fans everywhere? Or will Aaron lead his misfit cast of teammates who started the playoffs in the 6th seed, into a new era of Packers football?