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History deftly set the stage

There’s so much more to the season than just the Super Bowl; there’s more to it than strictly 2010, too.


The Super Bowl XLV Champions DVD, which premiered Monday night in downtown Green Bay and went on sale Tuesday, provides a definitive reminder of the building blocks of this championship season right from the beginning.

The footage is only 5 years old, that of a 42-year-old Mike McCarthy being hired as the franchise's 14th head coach in January 2006, but as soon as it's shown, it has already earned a comfortable place in the historical record following the older clips of Vince Lombardi, Reggie White and Mike Holmgren.

Hearing McCarthy say at his introductory press conference that he promised to make "every effort to bring a world championship back to Green Bay" makes the footage as historic as the hiring itself.

The same goes for the clips from a little more than a year earlier of the day Aaron Rodgers waited interminably to be drafted, and then fell to General Manager Ted Thompson and the Packers with the 24th selection in the first round.

Seeing a chronology of Rodgers' early years, from a barely 21-year-old answering his first questions as a pro quarterback to the devastating sack-fumble that ended his first playoff game a year ago, emphasizes both how far Rodgers came in such a short time and how much he still had to prove.

As for the 2010 season itself, there's a bit of everything in the game-by-game recap -- from on-field brilliance to new camera angles to memorable soundbites to a little humor -- to re-charge the short-term memory banks.

The mixture of Rodgers' pinpoint throws and his improvisational skills tells of a complete quarterback.

The pure dominance of pass-rusher Clay Matthews against Buffalo and Dallas sets up his big moment in the Super Bowl.

Footage of linebacker Desmond Bishop's interception return for a touchdown against Minnesota from an on-field camera positioned behind the Vikings' offense is a fresh look at a huge play.

McCarthy rattles off his team's laundry list of injuries following the overtime loss at Washington, but the adversity doesn't stop there. Following Rodgers' concussion in Detroit, an NFL Network studio clip catches Hall of Famer Rod Woodson giving the Packers "no chance" of winning at New England the following week without Rodgers.

Moments later, after the down-to-the-wire loss behind backup Matt Flynn, McCarthy is at the podium claiming no moral victories with the line, "We came here to win." Poignant stuff, so much so that the narrator doesn't even have to say the Packers wouldn't lose again.

After invoking images of William "The Refrigerator" Perry playing fullback by helping John Kuhn power his way to a touchdown at Atlanta in the playoffs, nose tackle B.J. Raji is heard calling himself "The Freezer" on the sideline. Then, as Raji intercepts a pass and returns it for a score the following week in Chicago, receiver Greg Jennings screams with delight to anyone within earshot on the sidelines, "Did you see the big boy?"

A review of the Super Bowl is the climax of the 75-minute documentary, of course, and NFL Films comes through with as much detail as the comprehensive build-up.

In a montage of the big moments, the little things stand out, such as Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller breaking into the open but being ignored by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as he throws an interception to Jarrett Bush.

There's also Jennings, after his first touchdown catch, describing to teammate Jordy Nelson how an entire side of his body hurts following a hit from safety Troy Polamalu. If watched closely enough, the video also catches cornerback Ike Taylor ever so slightly deflecting Rodgers' rocket throw to Jennings to convert third-and-10 in the fourth quarter.

Once again there's plenty with Matthews, too, who predicts in the huddle the Steelers will run at him, implores teammate Ryan Pickett at the snap to "spill it" his direction, and then pops the ball from running back Rashard Mendenhall's grasp with a full-body blow.

It's all there to be re-lived, and the focus on the intensity of the Super Bowl itself is captivating. In retrospect, the inaugural moments of McCarthy and Rodgers as Packers are no less so.

Mike Spofford is a 1995 Masters graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University who worked as a sports reporter for two daily newspapers in Wisconsin. Spofford has been a staff writer since 2006.

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