I’m not going to tell you anything in this Packers rant that you don’t already know, if you’ve been paying close attention to this year’s Super Bowl-bound squad.
But for the Packers to leave Arlington, Texas, a week from Sunday with the Lombardi Trophy included in the team’s return luggage back to Green Bay, one player for sure will be a key factor — and his name is not Aaron Rodgers.
While A-Rod will be more in the spotlight along with his Steelers counterpart “Big Ben” Roethlisberger, I suspect the contributions of veteran Packers CB Charles Woodson will be equally significant on Super Sunday, if not more.
With apologies to PFW/PFWA Defensive Player of the Year Clay Matthews, Woodson is not only the most integral chess piece in Dom Capers’ multilook 3-4 defense, he’s also the Packers’ acknowledged team leader, whose admittedly calculated pep talks, both before and after games, have offered his teammates genuine motivation all season long.
In the Packers’ player interviews with the media early this week, Woodson’s value, both on and off the field, was brought up more than once. And there was one quote from Woodson himself that seems particularly worthy of mention in this rant.
“You have to give it some thought,” Woodson said of his locker-room speeches. “You don’t want to just go up there and rant. You want to give it some thought because you’re talking to your peers, and you’re talking at a time where the games are bigger than ever.”
What’s great about Woodson is that he doesn’t just talk the talk.
Far from it.
He walks the walk far more often than not, with a key pressure from the slot here, a key breakup of a pass there.
Here, there, everywhere.
In a conversation with former Packers OG Aaron Taylor the other day, he said the best players on both the Packers and Steelers are going to have to play their best game of the year 10 days from now.
Don’t be surprised if Charles Woodson walks away with the Super Bowl MVP award — and then tops off the day with his best speech of the year in a victorious Packers locker room.