Blog Entry

Young Packers play with a passion for the past

Posted on: February 4, 2011 2:38 am
Edited on: February 4, 2011 9:26 am
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Posted by Will Brinson

IRVING, Texas -- No one questions the historic importance of the Green Bay Packers franchise, but it'd be entirely possible for the current rendition of the Pack to lose a sense of connection with the teams of the past.

That's not the case at all, though.

Even on this is young squad (average age: 25.88 years; none of the current players were even alive when Vince Lombardi died) there's an impressive sense of where Super Bowl 45 fits in the NFL's historical context.

That's probably because they hear it from the man in charge.

"The history of tradition with the Green Bay Packers is a tremendous asset for us as a football team and for us as an organization," head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday. "It’s something that’s embraced on a daily basis.

You definitely want to win this game for the Packer nation, represent the tradition and history of the great players - Jerry Kramer and all the way down through. We understand where we are, it’s the standard of the Green bay Packers, it’s about winning Super Bowl trophies, and it’s time for the Lombardi Trophy to go back home."

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That's a sentiment that's echoed throughout the locker room "History and tradition is strong in Green Bay," center Scott Wells said. "It's one of the things when you get drafted or signed as a free agent -- they bring you in, and I remember they brought my family in and they give you a tour of the Hall of Fame.

Embracing tradition is obviously important in Green Bay -- a member of the Packers probably couldn't survive a tour in Cheeseland without a belief that the publicly-owned football team is more than just a simple recreational activity for fans and a business for players.

That's not to say it's a requirement, though -- Ted Thompson, the architect for this team, doesn't necessarily demand people who will embrace the Packer tradition.

"We look for good people," Thompson said. "We're very conscious of what kind of person we put in our locker room. We feel like that's very important. But in terms of them embracing tradition, it's something that's acquired.

And once you're there and once you see it and once you experience it on the streets and in the grocery stores, I think you have an appreciation for it and I think these guys do too."



Clearly the pride of the Packers lives in the city, but as almost any member of the team will attest, the walk to work is filled with piles of memorabilia that would serve to humble even the most talented of football players. For this team, though, it serves more as a challenge.

"When I first got to Green Bay to walk around and see the fans and see how much it means to them, and then you go through Lambeau and the Hall of Fame and see all the tradition, I think it motivates you," right guard Josh Sitton said. "You want to be part of something great and you thank all the guys who came before you and we're here because of them, so it's pretty cool."

The pictures of trophies -- named after this fella who once upon a time won some games in Green Bay -- in the media room are constant reminders of a goal, as well.

And they're not just there for show. In fact, there was a purposeful preseason placement for the photos.

"I gave Mike (McCarthy) that idea in the offseason," Aaron Rodgers said. "He might not tell you that, but a good friend of mine who is also a professional athlete, talked about how his coach motivated them in that way.

I thought that would be a cool thing for us to see every day in the meeting room because we start a day off in that room. To be able to think about the entire season what we’re really playing for by having that empty picture up on the wall."

Talent, good coaching and a little bit of luck probably didn't hurt the Packers get this close to achieving their goal, either.

But there's a very clear sense of purpose within the entire team -- and it all seems centered around the tradition they all embrace quite seriously.

None of them knew Vince Lombardi. And none of them even watched him coach. But because a heightened sense of pride's already instilled within the town, the team's substantially more focused on making sure that the NFL's biggest prize makes its way home once more.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 8:18 am
 

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