It makes sense to have thought it out well in advance. In McCarthy’s case, that meant even before the Packers advanced to their first NFC Championship under him three years ago. Simply put, getting the administrative stuff out of the way, and quickly, gives the team the best chance to focus on winning the game.
“I had a few coaches reach out to me, so I'll bounce some ideas off them,” McCarthy said. “I have the schedule in place, preparing to be in this game.”
In a nutshell, it will go something like this. The players have Monday and Tuesday this week to take care of tickets and travel arrangements and the like for family and other Super Bowl guests. Then Wednesday will become like a Monday, the day after the game, with film study and some meetings. That’s the day everything gets back to football.
Thursday will be another day of rest, followed by a three-day practice week Friday through Sunday, when the game plan for playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV will be installed.
“We'll be ready to play,” McCarthy said. “When we get on the plane Monday we'll be ready to play the game.”
The team will fly to Dallas next Monday, with initial media obligations upon arrival, followed by Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday. Then the team will again have a normal three-day practice week Wednesday through Friday heading into the game on Sunday, Feb. 6.
One of McCarthy’s messages to the team is that, from a preparation standpoint, the focus isn’t on the Super Bowl. It’s on the Steelers, who won two championships over the previous five seasons.
“It's time to move on now,” safety Nick Collins said. “We won it last night. I think most of the guys celebrated for a little while, but this is business. We want to go down there and keep the same mind frame that we've had all year. Just stay focused and stay humbled.”
Added receiver Donald Driver: “Right now our mind and focus is just to beat the Steelers.”
One with a ring
Only one player on the Packers’ roster has a Super Bowl ring, but it doesn’t mean nearly as much to him as winning one this season would.
Running back John Kuhn was on the Steelers’ practice squad as a rookie back in 2005 when Pittsburgh beat Seattle for the title. But he said he keeps the ring in a safe and doesn’t look at it all that much.
“I got a lot of great experiences out of it, and it was a tremendous time, a great week,” Kuhn said. “But I've always told myself I wanted to get on an active roster and win one on the field.”
Kuhn said he’s already anxious for the game because he’s been thinking about playing in a Super Bowl ever since watching the one five years ago from the sidelines at Ford Field in Detroit.
His advice to his teammates over the next two weeks will be to “embrace every moment” and “soak it in,” with one additional thought.
“Remember that at the end of the week all your memories will be that much sweeter if you get the win,” he said.
McCarthy announced on Monday that the Packers would be wearing their green jerseys for the Super Bowl as the home team. The playoff run, of course, has been entirely on the road with the Packers wearing their white jerseys.
Of course, if the playoff run is technically viewed to have started in Week 16 vs. the New York Giants when the Packers first faced elimination, then the opening two “playoff” games were as the home team in green jerseys.
The Packers’ offensive linemen and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have received plenty of publicity for their little dress-up stunt back in the summer at the annual welcome-back luncheon. They sported cowboy clothing and hats to signify their goal of ending the season in Dallas, Texas, playing in the Super Bowl.
But now they may have some teammates looking to one-up them at some point in the near future.
“I think the D-line has something up our sleeve for this trip,” warned nose tackle B.J. Raji.
Let the craziness begin
Linebacker Clay Matthews already got a taste on Monday of some of the wild topics that surface in the media coverage of the Super Bowl.
He was asked how much attention his and Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu’s hair will get. Matthews of course has his long, blonde locks while Polamalu has grown a sizeable black mane already featured in shampoo commercials.
Matthews hinted that may be the next step for him, using his hair to endorse a product of some kind.
“I'm working on something right now, so don't be surprised,” Matthews said. “But we'll see.”
McCarthy said outside linebacker Erik Walden has an ankle injury from Sunday’s game, and he couldn’t say for sure whether Walden would be available to practice when the team returns to the field on Friday.
Left tackle Chad Clifton, who left Sunday’s game for three series with a neck stinger but returned to finish the game, said his neck was sore and stiff, but he expected to be fine for practice on Friday.