The growth of a coach
I've been a Green Bay Packer fan for over 40 years, and this is the first time in all of those years that I have been happy to be wrong about a coach. When Mike McCarthy was first hire as head coach, I like most Packers fans had no real clue who he was. I went to the 49ers media guild to find out something about this guy. I thought Ted Thompson had just lost his mind, how could he hire a guy no one heard of for this team. We had a great quarterback who's going to the hall of fame, there were other parts in place too that had me wondering, why give my team to an unknown? When coach McCarthy was introduce to us fans, you could see he had something, what, you just didn't know.
The first thing I needed to know was how would he get along with Brett, did he have the stones to coach him? We found out early he had what it took. He had no problem pointing out Brett's short comings as his quarterback, that got him off on the wrong foot with a lot of fans(me included). The bottom line, he was right and we were wrong, a coach is the head of a team, the quarterback is one of it's leader.
He had to take control of his team, and sometimes you need to start at the top. Brett had a lot of years doing things his way and it really wasn't working. Yes he won a lot of games, but he lost a lot of big games with Brett being Brett ( New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears twice in 07. I know it's not right to put a loss on one man,But all you need to do is remember with your head and not your heart and you will see I might be right. Brett will always be a hero in Green Bay and around the NFL, but his unwillingness to change and get on the same page with his coaches and team mates cost the Packers, big games.
It's became apparent very early there was a power struggle between coach and quarterback, something had to give. Now as a fan it's hard to watch a great marriage come to a end, but there was no way this was going to work without both party's parting ways. It wasn't that Brett had lost it or could not play at very high level, he just could not play for coach McCarthy. I think both Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson wish this had ended better for Brett , the Packers, and the fans who had to sit back and watch it unfold in front of us.
Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy took a huge gamble letting Brett go after a 13&3 season and just missing a chance to play in the Super Bowl. But they knew something none of us had even thought was possible,they could make this team better. By moving past Brett they show the rest of the team they were in control of the team, and coach McCarthy would be calling the shots(good or bad from now on)Now enters the biggest piece to the puzzle Aaron Rodgers, a man in a very bad spot, he had to replace a living legend, how hard can that be?
We can't forget, Brett did say he wasn't coming back( yes I know they really did not want him back ) so they moved on with Rodgers and no one was happy. Fans calling for Ted&Mike's head on a patter, hated Aaron for just being the next man in line. Now coach had his quarterback and the team seem to be ok with it. Just as Mike Hologram&Ron Wolf tied their self's to Brett, Mike McCarthy&Ted Thompson did the same with Aaron( how can you not love that kind of leadership at the top ) made me think back to how it was before Ron&Mike got here.
Remember that old saying be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, that's exactly what happen to Mike McCarthy. He wanted his own team,that he could put his own stamp on( I know. He had players from the old regime but it was going to be his way) as we have seen in the past it all start with a quarterback who has the potential to be great. Who knew when they drafted this guy late in the first round he would be that guy. Ted did. you don't pick a QB in the first round unless you think he will start for your team one day. Mike saw Aaron had that "it factor"that it take's to win in the NFL, there's a lots of QB's with strong arms, guys with great legs, some with both, but without that "it factor" they just can't win when you need it. Aaron proved to Ted&Mike with his hard work and that big chip on shoulder that he didn't just want to play good, he wanted to be great. In hind sight sound simple, but we all know that wasn't the case.
While his quarterback had outstanding seasons in 2008&2009, Mike McCarthy's haters were everywhere. He could have been like a lot of bad coaches we have seen over the years, take everything said about him personally, cry to the press that he was being treated unfairly by them and the fans... The only thing we saw was a coach talk positively about his team and where they were going. I'll be the first one to say I had a problem with his playing calling in the red zone. But the one thing I didn't question was that this coach had the attention of his team. He had instilled in these guys he was there for one reason to win, and he would work as hard as them to get it done!
The 09 season I think help ease some of the tension between coach McCarthy and fans, not all, some fans will never get over #4 not being part of the Packer family. I though you could see a more confident coach in 2010, he knew he had a good team, and didn't care that people knew he loved his team's chances to win it all. But like with all great plans, he saw bad injury after bad hit his team, not one time did he make an excuse or ask any fans to feel sorry for his team. All he said was "next man up"( the growth of a coach) he didn't let his players off the hook by saying how hard it might be to win games without key players. What I watch this team do over the last 8 games of the season was nothing of short of remarkable. Yes I know we lost to Detroit and New England, if not for those losses they never make that run. We saw a coach grow up right before our eyes, he let the whole football world and anyone who would listen to him know he had a championship team. I know as a fan I love his grit. Through out the whole playoff run, even the Super Bowl he only talked of winning, not I think we can win, he said the only reason we're here is to win and take the Lombardi trophy home! It took a few years and some thick skin but I think we might have witness the growth of maybe one of the best coaches in football
ONLY TIME WILL TELL
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