Each week throughout the season, PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush hooks up with a personality who has connections with the Packers and asks him five Packer-related questions. This week, Dan connects with ex-Packers OG Aaron Taylor. Currently a football analyst for CBS College Sports, Taylor played for the Packers from 1994-97, including the team’s last two Super Bowl participants.
1. To what extent are you able to keep up with the current Packers team?
Taylor: I watch what I can when I can. For the majority of the year, unfortunately, their season is my season, and Sunday is usually a travel day for me. I can only see highlights and the sports shows. But the opportunities I’ve been able to see them, I have been really impressed. They remind me a lot of our (last) Super Bowl teams, with the same kind of aggressive defense with great playmakers and the same kind of quarterback, who is a flat-out difference maker, whether it’s with his hands or legs.
2. Do you have any special memories of the Super Bowl XXXI victory over New England that you played in back in January 1997?
Taylor: I remember getting ready for the game. I think Don Beebe and Jim McMahon were the only guys on the team with prior Super Bowl experience, and they both said the pregame hype would be like nothing you had ever felt before. The guys were all so excited, but they suggested we try to save our energy a little bit, and I found that to be very helpful. Desmond Howard played great, and so did Brett (Favre). Reggie White had the big late sacks, But the thing that was really unique to me was that, in every other game I had ever played, there was always something else left to be done. But that was only time in my football experience where, when the game ended, I was just sitting at the top of the mountain along with of my teammates. It was a surreal experience with all that confetti coming down, I’ll tell you that!.
3. What was it like one year later being on the losing end of the Super Bowl to the Broncos?
Taylor: It was like going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. There were a lot of tears in the locker room after that game. I think we missed a great opportunity. Denver deserved to win. We just got outcoached and outplayed. And a lot of that happened, quite honestly, because we were overconfident and thought we had been there, done that. We did not expect them to run the ball he way they did, and we were very confused offensively, trying to pick up Denver’s blitzes. We were so close to achieving something so difficult — winning back-to-back Super Bowls.
4. What do you think will be the key matchup in this year’s Super Bowl?
Taylor: The NFL has become a QB-driven league, and I think how Aaron (Rodgers) and Ben (Roethlisberger) perform on the biggest stage will have the biggest impact. Rodgers has been out of his mind in the month of January. But Ben is a veteran quarterback who is very hard to bring down and can hurt you in a variety of different ways. The defenses are mirror images. The key players on both teams are going to have to show up and play their best football of the year.
5. Do you have a favorite current Packer?
Taylor: I would have to say Charles Woodson. I love the aggressiveness and physicality he brings to the cornerback position. They use him so effectively; teams have to searchlight for him. He causes a lot of problems. I’ve always been a big fan of aggressive, old-school football, and when I see a cornerback like him filling a LB-FS-type role, I find it very fun to watch.