After spending the week talking more with travel agents, ticket brokers, public relation types and family members, Mike McCarthy finally got back on the practice field today. He said it was great to be doing football things again. The team has been off the field since wraping up the NFC Title on Sunday in Chicago. There were treatments for injured players, film sessions with assistants and the like, but the initial game plan implementation for Super Bowl 45 is now underway. The team will work out Saturday and Sunday and have a final walk through Monday morning before departing for Dallas. Signs throughout the locker room have been posted all year with slogans like "Bear Week-Intensity", "The Vikings-Focus" and this week it's "Super Bowl XLV-4 More Quarters". That's been McCarthy's playoff mantra since the post-season began, 16 quarters, they have 12 down.
Only one player was down at practice, linebacker Erik Walden did not participate with an ankle sprain suffered at Solider Field. McCarthy said he might be held out until the Wednesday practice in Texas. Walden replaced Frank Zombo who has missed 6 weeks with an ankle sprain but he practiced on a limited basis and is the only other player listed as questionable for next week. Chad Clifton, AJ Hawk and Greg Jennings were all limited in practice Friday but listed as probable for the Super Bowl. Full participants and probable for the game were Desmond Bishop and Jason Spitz.
ESPN certainly had the team covered today, aside from Ed Werder, Sal Palantonio and Kenny Mayne were in the locker room working it over.
McCarthy was asked about his Super Bowl memories today and the first one he recalled was the 1975 Steeler victory over the Vikings, 16-6 in Super Bowl 9 at Tulane Stadium. He grew up watching three more championships over the next 5 years, not from his living room, but from his dad's Pittsburgh bar which didn't have a Sunday license to serve drinks. He helped clean the place Sunday mornings and then watched the games. As an adult and coach, never had the desire to attend a Super Bowl except in 2007 when he had to go, to accept the Motorola Coach of the Year award. His daughter Alex has been pleading with dad to take her to the big game but he told her I will when I take a team, she's now 19 and just as anxious to get to Dallas as he is.
My next blog installment will come from North Texas. I'll be arriving Sunday night and offer continuous thoughts and notes leading up to Super Bowl XLV.
Here's some Friday locker room quotes from the guys as they wrap up their work this weekend.