Green Bay stories

Many things get lost in the joyful aftermath of a Super Bowl victory. Or, to put it more accurately, a few themes take hold and do not let go.

So it was when the Green Bay Packers proved six points better than the Pittsburgh Steelers in the XLV edition in Arlington. As usual, the tale of the winning QB trumps all with Aaron Rodgers, and a whole lot of "Lombardi Trophy goes home" and "Title back in Titletown" headlines.

Okay, fine, but the real joy and satisfaction of a Super Bowl victory is the multitude of stories found within the winning side, of players coaches and even executives who find career fulfillment, or even redemption, on the sports' most grandiose stage.

We'll get the Rodgers tale out of the way first, for it has multiple threads. First, Aaron himself had to succeed a near-deity, some guy named Brett. That's harrowing enough, as anyone who followed Unitas, Montana, Marino, or Elway could tell you.

The circumstances - retirement press conference, then drawn-out retraction months in the making - made it worse, and drew in two men, general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy, who stood by Rodgers while undergoing severe public floggings.

From the talk-show loudmouths to the Web sites dedicated to firing Thompson and/or McCarthy, it got divisive and downright mean in the otherwise pleasant (and passionate) Packer fan base. But then that Brett guy ended up in Minnesota purple, and Rodgers, well, you know here he is now.

Thompson, never one for told-you-so feelings, is supremely vindicated. His careful, steady building of the Packer roster emphasized long-term results and not short-term headlines. And it allowed Green Bay to weather all kinds of injuries, right through the Super Bowl, when quality vets Charles Woodson and Donald Driver went to the sidelines.

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