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Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Feb. 7

Posted Feb 7, 2011

(Has it sunk in yet that you’re taking that trophy home? How did you spend the evening?)
It was a fun night. I can’t put into words the experience post-game in the locker room. But we had a party back at the hotel. We’re a community-owned football team, so you can see all the fingerprints on our trophy. It was passed around. Everybody had a lot of fun with it. Spent a lot of time with family throughout the evening. I’m sure it will sink in when we get off that plane in Green Bay.

(You made a lot of bold coaching moves over the last couple months. Giving pre-game to the captains. The ring thing. What went into that whole confidence thing from your perspective?)
I talked to our football team a lot about having real confidence, and those are just examples and opportunities to express that. I felt that the measurement of the rings, the timing of it would be special, it would have a significant effect on our players doing it the night before the game. Letting the captains speak to the football team before we go out in pre-game, frankly was really an opportunity to try to develop leadership. I wanted to look for ways for Aaron Rodgers to continue, for his leadership to develop and grow, and it has tremendously this year. Same with Charles Woodson. So it’s just all about staying focused on the program. It’s an excellent football team that we feel is going to continue to grow and get better, and it was just a thought of trying to develop leadership. Ego, everybody has an ego, but you have to discipline your ego and look for those types of opportunities, even coaches too. We have assistant coaches that talk before practice on Friday, and it’s an opportunity for them to grow and express themselves and give a good message, because it’s about the team, it’s about growth, it’s about development, and that’s something we did a very good job of as a football team, particularly through the injury phase that we went through.

(What factors contributed to your game plan of throwing from beginning to end? Was there something about Pittsburgh that made that the best way to attack them?)
Well, a huge part of our game plan was really putting the ball in Aaron Rodgers’ hands. He did a great job at the line of scrimmage. A majority of our plays were run and pass options. We were really feeding off of how they were going to play our personnel groups, and Aaron’s discipline, ability to throw the ball away when it wasn’t there, didn’t take any chances, just gave me the ability to be aggressive as a play-caller. But it was a game plan that we were going to put the ball in Aaron’s hands, put it on his shoulders, and we knew he would produce.

(You had a chance to put the game away at the end when you settled for a field goal. How upset were you that you didn’t put the game away at that point? How worried were you that Roethlisberger could come back and lead his team to a win? And how hard will it be to do this again? What are the challenges to repeat?)
The last drive, we had an opportunity there to get the touchdown. It was an opportunity that was missed. The second down call, I frankly could have probably given Aaron a better call there. And frankly, when Pittsburgh took the ball, it was a very similar situation to our game against them last year in the regular season. That’s what the offseason is for, that’s what you practice for. Adversity defense, to be in that situation again, and our defense to come up with the stop, which they’ve done time and time again. Concerned … you’re managing a game at that point. I look at it really as just a missed opportunity and our defense took care of it.

The second question, really, success is the hardest part of this business. Handling success, it comes at different levels. Obviously we’re at the highest level here today. We’re the Super Bowl champions, and that’s something we’re going to have to manage as a football team.

(You talked about dealing with adversity throughout the season. But as the tough losses mounted, how did you convince the players to stick to the plan and buy into it?)
It really comes down to the players and taking advantage of the opportunity. But from a coaching standpoint, it’s our responsibility to give those players, to put them in position to be successful, and I felt that we did that. You can go back to the last series for our defense. We had some injuries and did some things in the second half, frankly, we weren’t holding up against the run, and we just went to our fire-zone package. That’s what we do best. That’s what we’ve been doing since Doing since Day 1. It gives our defense an opportunity to play with more tempo. I never met a defensive player that doesn’t like to pressure. Just stayed true to the basics, and the players have totally bought in and were successful.

(Can you talk more about measuring for the rings on Saturday night? What did you tell the players and did you think you were tempting fate?)
I wish I’d have made a bigger deal out of it. I just told them that we’re going to get measured for rings tonight, at snack. I felt it was the right time to do it. I talked to Sean Payton about some of the things he did from a scheduling standpoint. Scheduling is so important during the course of the week, and you want to do certain things at certain times, and I felt that was the appropriate time. I thought it would be special. I thought it would give us a boost of confidence to do it the night before the game. But that’s about as far as I took it.

(You were so confident before the game. Why? Have you given any thought to what this offseason will be like?)
Really haven’t given much thought to the offseason yet. That’s something we’ll do when we get back. That’s normal operating procedure for us after a season concludes. But you just have to trust your preparation. The coaches get to go watch the film first, put the game plan together. We felt that we had an aggressive game plan on both sides of the ball, going against Pittsburgh. As the players got into it, you could see they had the confidence, you could see the excitement. We felt we were a better team than Pittsburgh. No disrespect for them, we really respect the way they play. We knew they were going to be a physical, tough football team, but we felt we were a better football team coming in here, and we needed to go out and prove it. That’s why we were so confident.

(How anxious are you to get to next September and get your whole roster back?)
It’s going to be exciting. On paper, it’s a lot like this year. Coming out of training camp, it was the best football team that I’d stood in front of. I knew we had an excellent opportunity to win the Super Bowl, and definitely, you look at our returning roster next year, it’s going to be the same type of situation. I’ll be very excited to coach these guys. It’s a great core group. Our locker room is better than it’s ever been. Winning definitely helps it, no doubt about it. Definitely I’ll be very excited just like the rest of the coaching staff to get started when it comes around.

(They say winning any championship is a career-changing experience. When you woke up this morning, did you feel any different?)
I think waking up tomorrow will be the first real experience of getting a good night’s sleep and stepping into my new life. This was tough duty, answering this bell right here to be honest with you.

(Polamalu and Harrison were defensive players of the year two of the last three seasons. How were you able to take those two out of the game, other than Harrison’s sack?)
I can’t say enough about our tackles. It was obvious when we went into the game, we left them in one-on-one situations throughout the game, and Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga got it done. They did an excellent job. Chad has been playing extremely well down the stretch for us. He’s played very well against some big-time defensive ends. We knew that was a big part of our plan. And for us to stay the course, to stay aggressive the way we did, that was going to have to happen, and those guys played great.

(You have a few guys, like Cullen Jenkins, unsigned for next year. Are you confident everyone will want to come back? Also, the last NFC team to win a Super Bowl and win a playoff game the next year was the Packers in 1996-97, so how intimidating is that history that teams that win this thing don’t go on to have success the next year?)
Well, I look at history and tradition as an asset, and we feel very blessed in Green Bay to have a tremendous history and tradition, and that’s something that now we’re a part of, we’re permanently part of, and that will be something that we’ll use as a strength and an outlook. So I don’t look at it as pressure. I don’t feel stress from it. I embrace it. It’s something that players feed off of. We celebrate it as fine as any sports organization in the world, and we’ve added to it. So to me, our tradition and history and our ability to repeat, that’s exciting to us. That’s the next challenge.

(Have you had a chance to talk to Donald and Charles, and what can you say about the way your team rallied behind those two veterans when they went out? And talk about dealing with so much adversity all season, next guy in.)
I had a chance to see them both briefly after the game. That’s one of the toughest things about the Super Bowl. You don’t really have the opportunity to get your team together in the locker room. We’ll do that tomorrow in Green Bay. We have had some experience in that situation. When players go down the next guy steps up. I know Charles was very emotional at halftime. I know Donald was very frustrated that he couldn’t go. Our players just kept playing. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game and that was the case.

(Can you talk about the job Dom Capers has done with your defense in two years, and about him getting a title after 25 years in the league?)
Dom was probably one of our biggest free-agent transactions. We get beat up so much about not acquiring anybody, but Dom has done a tremendous job. He has brought a scheme to Green Bay that is a scheme that gives us a lot of flexibility. It makes us aggressive. It gives us the opportunity to really have more linebackers on our roster. I think it is better for our overall football team and helps on special teams. He has coordinated an excellent staff. You have a bunch of new guys that come in the first year. The biggest responsibility in my opinion as a coordinator is coordinating that staff into one unit. He has done a great job with that. It’s an excellent defensive staff. And then most importantly, the players have totally bought into the system. You can see the growth from Year 1 to Year 2 and that is what you look for, whether it is a player in his development or whether it is a system of offense, defense or special teams. And his experience, he brings 20-plus years of coaching in the National Football League. For him to get his first Super Bowl, that’s very, very special for him personally and glad to be part of that. But Dom Capers is a tremendous, tremendous football coach.

(The last Packers coach to win a Super Bowl left a couple of years later. Do you see yourself being in this job long-term? Do you see this as your last job?)
I would hope this is my last job. I’m a builder and we have built something special. This program was built the right way, has quality people in Aaron Rodgers and all the way through that are going to lead this football team for a long time. So I would definitely hope this is my last job.

(What is your view of the way Rodgers played last night, and how in sync do you feel you are with him now?)
I thought Aaron Rodgers played like Aaron Rodgers, and that’s why he is the MVP. He has been so consistent throughout the season, and even more so in the playoffs. But the play-caller and the quarterback are on the same page. Just the conversation we had in the locker room before the game. It was simply let me be aggressive as the play-caller; you have to be the disciplined one and keep us in favorable plays and throw it away if you have a bad look, and he did a great job with that. I think he has the best set of skills in the league as far as his pinpoint accuracy, his athletic ability, and all of his best football is in front of him. It’s a special relationship. It will go on long after football, but he did exactly what he was supposed to do. He let the play-caller be aggressive and he managed the football game.

(The last two coaches to win the trophy, Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin, said they only got an hour or two of sleep and they slept with the trophy. How much sleep did you get, and did you sleep with the trophy?)
My wife is too good looking not to sleep with her. I didn’t sleep with the trophy. The trophy is with our director of security, Doug Collins. I don’t know if he slept with it. You’ll have to ask him.

 
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