ESCANABA - What a great testament to teamwork, resiliency, overcoming adversity and setting a goal and staying focused on reaching it.
That is the remarkable story of the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers, who basically survived to not only get into the playoffs but then won four straight on the road capped by a difficult 31-25 conquest of Pittsburgh Sunday.
The Packers not only had a league-high 15 players on injured reserve during the regular season, including several key starters, but also lost three key starters just before halftime in the championship game.
Dennis Grall, sports editor
The fact Green Bay, under the direction of overlooked coach of the year Mike McCarthy and his tremendous staff, could still triumph is an extremely heart-warming story.
With standouts like Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant and Nick Barnett among the regular season victims, the Packers lost Donald Driver and Charles Woodson Sunday and also watched Sam Shields and Nick Collins go up the tunnel for treatment.
General manager Ted Thompson, who does not have a charismatic personality and angered many Packer fans by getting rid of Brett Favre to open the door for Aaron Rodgers, has built a tremendously deep roster that could be in the Super Bowl hunt for several years. That all depends how the team responds to this year's success. They must remember the hard work that allowed them to reach their goal this year and not get big-headed or soft.
Sunday's game was a typically white knuckle experience for the Packers. Staunch defensive stands against Philadelphia and Chicago preceded the Super Bowl victory over the Steelers. The offense displayed its power, despite a weak ground game, by shelling Atlanta.
Season-ending victories over the Giants and Bears were needed to even put the Packers in the playoffs, and that run extended the impressive streak to six wins.
Rodgers was Sunday's MVP, and his impressive performance would have been even better if stone-hand receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones would not have dropped several routine passes. Those drops also prevented the Packers from making this victory more comfortable and impressive.
It is the fourth Super Bowl title for the Packers, who have an NFL-best 13 championships. The Super Bowl XXXI conquest of New England is still fresh in the minds of Packer Backers everywhere, and they also remember letting Super Bowl XXXII slip away to Denver.
After 14 years of being loaned out to a variety of teams, the Lombardi Trophy is back home where it belongs. What an awesome feeling for Cheesehead Nation, which can now elevate this determined group of players to the same pantheon as Vince Lombardi's Glory Year teams and Mike Holmgren's unit that included Favre and Reggie White.
It's too bad the Super Bowl was marred by the incredibly poor halftime show by Black Eyed Peas, and the high cost of tickets which prevented many fans from attending.