Views from the Bleachers: Leaders of the Pack

Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s all over.

Another NFL season has come and gone, providing us with all the usual storylines. From tales of unexpected triumphs and unexplainable failures (I’m looking at you, Dallas), to aging legends and rising stars, as well as a sex scandal or two, we’ve gotten what we’ve come to expect from today’s age of football.

However, as usual, all the events played out. But one story did manage to stand out among the Pack. 

It’s official, the Green Bay Packers have arrived, and in all honesty, they look pretty good as the new world champions.

There are plenty of reasons the Packers shouldn’t have won Super Bowl XLV.

They lacked experience compared to the Pittsburgh Steelers—a team bolstered with players who had already taken home multiple titles.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had far more to prove than Steelers counterpart Ben Roethlisberger. Rodgers had to attempt to take home his first Super Bowl ring and try to separate his legacy from the shadow of Brett Favre.

The Pack even suffered a few serious, in-game injuries, losing crux defender Charles Woodson and veteran receiver Donald Driver in the opening half.

None of this mattered though – they’d seen it all before.

We’re talking about the same Packer team that had lost 16 players, including six starters, to the injured reserve list over the course of the season.

The same team that was forced to win its remaining two regular-season games—including a brutal finale against the NFC North giant Chicago Bears—just to limp in to the playoffs.

The same team whose road to the championship forced them to take on MVP-candidate Michael Vick and the Eagles in Philadelphia, the deadly accurate Matt Ryan and the top-seeded Falcons in Atlanta, and Jay Cutler and the Bears, for the second time in four games, in Chicago. They never even had the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd at Lambeau Field.

In short, the Packers had sort of become used to the whole adversity thing. Last night’s game was simply a microcosm of all they had endured on their trip to get there. The final whistle and ensuing confetti drop was a fitting ending to a tumultuous season.

The victory also brings up an interesting question: If the Packers were able to win the Super Bowl with this many problems, what are they capable of doing in a more forgiving season?

There’s no question now that Rodgers has cemented himself as one of the league’s premier quarterbacks and we now know he has the poise to make big plays in high pressure games. Add his leadership to a healthy roster and this team has the power to run through anyone in their paths. It’s hard to imagine the Packers not winning at least one more title with the level at which the team is capable of performing.

I’m not going to predict a future dynasty or anything. Not yet, anyway. But there is no doubt the Pack will remain in title contention for years to come if they continue to play the rugged, never-say-die kind of football that has landed them crown of world’s best.