NFL Network’s excellent America’s Game series of documentaries returns Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 9pm ET, with a look at the Super Bowl season of the 2010 Green Bay Packers. The following day, the Packers kick off the 2011 NFL regular season against the New Orleans Saints on NBC.
The story is told through the eyes of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and cornerback Charles Woodson. Laying the groundwork for the 2010 season, America’s Game looks back at McCarthy’s Pittsburgh roots and how he bounced around the league in various assistant coaching positions — he had been fired years earlier as an assistant with the Packers — until landing as head coach in Green Bay. It looks at how Aaron Rodgers slipped in the draft, then had to serve as a backup to legend Brett Favre until his (first) retirement. And it looks at how Heisman Trophy winner Woodson spent his tenure with the Raiders, during which he lost in a Super Bowl and would later be unceremoniously released. Woodson ended up in Green Bay, but didn’t want to be there and had a tenuous relationship with McCarthy at first.
“Here’s three guys that apparently nobody wanted. Here’s three guys that apparently everybody overlooked. Here’s three guys that never dreamed that in 2006 would all wind up in Green Bay, and just four short years later hoisting the Lombardi Trophy,” says NFL Films Senior Producer Dave Douglas.
Aside from these three key individuals with chips on their shoulders, America’s Game sets up the Packers as a talented team that could’ve easily had their season derailed by injuries and had to claw their way to the very end of the regular season just to get into the playoffs.
“They were the second-youngest team in the National Football League,” Douglas says. “After that, 15 — an NFL-high 15 injuries — men to the DL. And not just back-line players. Front-line players.” Among the key players lost for the season included running back Ryan Grant, tight end Jermichael Finley, linebacker Nick Barnett and veteran offensive lineman Mark Tauscher.
“Also, you’re a 6th seed. You barely make it in. You beat the Bears in Week 17 by a touchdown, barely. And so by the skin of your teeth, you’re in the playoffs, which means you now have to go win four games away from Lambeau to be a champion,” Douglas says. “So I’d say this is a team that overcame a ton of odds, which the great teams do, and that alone makes them worthy of being a terrific Super Bowl champion.”
Video previews of the special are available at NFL.com. A few more interesting tidbits and quotes from the special:
- In his youth, McCarthy cleaned bathrooms in his father’s bar every Sunday after church.
- As a kid, Rodgers dreamed of being the quarterback for the 49ers.
- “The first time I saw it, I thought it has some sexual connotation to it. I was kind of concerned,” says McCarthy about Rodgers’ title belt TD celebration
- “Any good celebration is made better when it’s copied and mocked,” Rodgers says. “In the [Falcons’] John Abraham case, I was able to get the last laugh.”
- “I made some plays outside the pocket that even surprised myself,” Rodgers says of his dominating performance in the playoffs against the Falcons. “It was one of those nights where I felt in complete control.”
- “I’m as fast, and I’m mad as hell,” Rodgers says on what was going through his mind as he chased down Bears’ linebacker Brian Urlacher returning an interception in the NFC title game.
- “The president don’t want to come watch us in the Super Bowl? Guess what? We’ll go see HIM!” says Woodson, firing up his teammates. President Obama, a Bears fan, had planned to attend the Super Bowl only if the Bears were in it.
Press release from NFL Network:
AMERICA’S GAME: 2010 GREEN BAY PACKERS DEBUTS EXCLUSIVELY ON NFL NETWORK WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7 AT 9:00 PM ET
Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson & Head Coach Mike McCarthy Recount Bringing the Lombardi Trophy Back to “Titletown”
McCarthy’s Motivational Tactic Prior to the Start of the Season Pays Off
Emmy-Nominated Actor John Slattery of “Mad Men” Narrates
Which play in Super Bowl XLV was “the most incredible” according to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers? What was the motivational tactic head coach Mike McCarthy used prior to the start of the 2010 season that proved to be successful? Find out the answers to these questions and re-live the 2010 season through the words of Rodgers, McCarthy and cornerback Charles Woodson in the latest installment of the NFL Films-produced, Emmy Award-winning series, America’s Game: 2010 Green Bay Packers exclusively on NFL Network.
America’s Game: 2010 Green Bay Packers debuts on Wednesday, September 7 at 9:00 PM ET, one night before the Packers kickoff the 2011 regular season at home against the New Orleans Saints, the previous Super Bowl champs. Featuring exclusive video and sound of the Packers during team meetings, practices, games and inside the locker room, America’s Game offers an all-access look at the Super Bowl champions. The show is narrated by the Emmy-nominated actor of Mad Men, John Slattery.
In the hour-long special, Rodgers, McCarthy and Woodson recount the inside story of the 2010 season. After a heartbreaking loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card game a year before, the Packers entered 2010 with high aspirations. Despite a 3-3 start and injuries to key players, the Packers qualified for the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, sparking a postseason run to the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl title.
America’s Game, an Emmy Award-winning series, delves deep into the story behind the making of Super Bowl champions. Each episode is a 60-minute documentary in high definition, featuring key members of the winning team telling behind-the-scenes accounts from their championship season. With the signature NFL Films footage, combined with news clips and photos, highlights from team radio broadcasts, inside looks from team meeting rooms, sideline audio and other exclusive features, America’s Game provides an epic and intimate portrait of championship teams.
Below is a sampling of what’s notable and quotable from America’s Game: 2010 Green Bay Packers:
Rodgers slides on draft day to the Packers at pick number 24
Entering the 2005 NFL Draft, Rodgers was considered a potential number one pick to go to the San Francisco 49ers, his favorite team growing up. However, then-offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy and the 49ers selected Alex Smith, leaving Rodgers to slide all the way to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24. He was picked to be Brett Favre’s successor.
“I dreamt about being the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. I used to draw little plays on note cards and dream I was Joe Montana throwing passes in the backyard with dad.”
– Rodgers on his childhood
“On the inside, there was a lot of disappointment, embarrassment, just thinking about how hard you worked. … But it was honestly the best thing that happened to me. I was 21 years old [and] I thought I was the best thing since sliced bread and I needed a little humble pie.”
– Rodgers on slipping in the first round of the draft to the No. 24 selection
“Drafting a quarterback in the first round is a statement, we all know that. I think he was offended by it and wanted to prove that he was still the best quarterback on the team, in the league and I was going to be on the bench for awhile.”
– Rodgers on being a high draft choice with Brett Favre still on the roster
McCarthy’s preseason motivational ploy pays off
Prior to the start of the season, McCarthy placed an empty picture frame alongside the team pictures of past Packer championship squads.
“Mike put a blank picture up there – there’s no faces, there’s nothing on it – and said this is where our picture will be.”
“We can have our picture up on this board immortalized for every team to ever follow after you that lives on. That’s what we’re playing for, that’s our ultimate goal. Stay focused.”
The Lombardi Trophy Returns Home
With a 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers won their fourth Super Bowl and brought the Lombardi Trophy back to “Titletown.”
“It was really an exciting time for everybody involved in Green Bay, and even more so for my family in particular. I know everybody takes a lot of pride in the success of their son and siblings and everything, but we would have definitely preferred it had it been someone else, you know, other than Pittsburgh.”
– McCarthy on facing his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV
“That’s how our season was. Things break, things happen. Fix it and move on.”
– Woodson on Packers overcoming injuries to himself and WR Donald Driver in Super Bowl XLV
“One of my best friends on the team and the guy I respect the most is out. Just don’t know what to say to him, so I just tried to go over there and comfort him and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to get this win for you.’”
– Rodgers on Woodson leaving the Super Bowl with an injury
“To hear what Clay [Matthews] says to [defensive lineman Ryan] Pickett and to the guys in the huddle about he thinks it’s coming his way, and [says] ‘Pickett, spill it,’ in my opinion it ranks as the most incredible play in the Super Bowl.”
– Rodgers on LB Clay Matthews forcing a fumble by Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall that was recovered by the Packers
“We knew when we got into the playoff run that we had as good a chance as any, and the confidence just kept building and we finished it in North Dallas. What’s special about the 2010 team is they never lost sight of the goal. They always believed.”
– McCarthy on the Packers run to Super Bowl champions
“That’s the reason why you love the game. It’s for that moment. It’s to win the Super Bowl. It’s everything.”
– Woodson on winning the Super Bowl
– “They thought I was done. They thought I couldn’t play the game anymore. ‘He’s lost a step, can’t coach him, sleeping in meetings, bad locker room guy.’ Could I still play football? No question about it.”
– Woodson on leaving the Oakland Raiders and signing with the Packers in 2006
“They made one more play than we did. The one thing that did come out of that game, our guys had a lot of confidence that if we played that team again that we would be ready for them.”
– McCarthy on the Packers’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the regular season