The Green Bay Packers begin their Super Bowl title defense Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints to kickoff the 2011 NFL season in prime-time.
As the Saints can attest, getting back to the Super Bowl is a difficult task — even if you don’t get bounced by “the worst team in playoff history.”
But with a severely truncated training camp giving teams far less time to learn playbooks and find their form, the Packers may begin the season with a decided advantage over much of the league.
Former Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson summed it up during an interview with the Post’s Mark Maske:
“I think there’s a vast difference between the real good teams and the bad teams this year. Whereas in previous years, the bad teams, with all the offseason work and free agency and being able to draft some players and get them ready for the season and play some young players, there were always upsets early in the year. I think the veteran teams are going to dominate early in the season this year.”
Whether or not the Packers should be the prohibitive favorite to come out of the NFC, they will be expected to put up a ton of points, starting Thursday in a game many predict to be a complete shoot out.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will take his shots downfield with a bevy of play-making receivers including Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and tight end Jermichael Finley. But earlier this week he took his shots at a fellow quarterback for displaying questionable fashion taste.
Wednesday on his weekly radio show, the Super Bowl MVP was shown a GQ spread featuring New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez in skinny white slacks and a black tank top. Rodgers’ take: “That’s embarrassing. Page 94 of the GQ thing here. That’s terrible.”
Sanchez took the comments in stride, which seems to be his M.O. — even when he has the urge to fight his head coach.
You can expect Rodgers to be sporting something a little less “embarrassing” when he and teammate Clay Matthews are featured on special-edition Wheaties boxes. The two boxes, which will only be sold in Wisconsin, will debut in about a month. In a statement, Rodgers said it’s a privilege and honor to be selected and it’s something he never imagined as a child.