Another sun up to sun down day in North Texas. It got rolling early, a 6:45 AM coach bus ride of 30 minutes for the Packers second major media availability of the week. Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers took to the podium at the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas and then the press corps swallowed up two conference rooms where players and coaches were scattered about. Check out the audio links below to hear some of the highlights.
The team also practiced for the first time at Super Week but the still very cold temperatures (for wimpy Texans, a high of 20), moved the practice from the SMU facilities to Highland Park high school, which spent over 4 million to build an indoor practice facility. Yup, a Hutson Center for preps, football is BIG in the Lone Star State. The media is not allowed to cover the practices but both teams issued their first injury report afterward. Amazingly short for the Packers, only 4 names. Erik Walden with an ankle injury was limited, Chad Clifton's chronic knees had him limited and Jason Spitz with a calf injury was limited. Linebacker Frank Zombo was a full participant after a knee sprain knocked him out of the Lions game back in December. For Pittsburgh, Center Maurkice Pouncey did not practice with that high ankle sprain. It's looking more and more like the fine rookie might not be able to go but he said he's shooting for a game time decision. Defensive end Aaron Smith was limited in practice coming off a triceps injury.
Aaron picked up some more hardware today, named the FedEx Air player of the year. While he got passed over for the Pro Bowl and won't win the MVP award Saturday, at least he's the people's choice. Finishing third in passer rating this year and ranking in the top 10 in virtually every stat with 3900 yards and 28 touchdowns, Rodgers outpolled Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for the award voted on by fans on NFL.com. In addition, the Green Bay coalition of SAFE kids will cash a check for $25,000 from FedEx. The Associated Press named Bill Belichick the NFL Coach of the Year, a three time winner now. Belichick got 30 of the 50 votes, Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris finished a distant second with 11 and a half votes. Todd Haley of the Chiefs got 4 and a half, Mike Smith of Atlanta, Lovie Smith of the Bears, Andy Reid in Philly and Steve Spagnulo in St. Louis each got one vote. Kinda surprised Mike McCarthy didn't even get a single vote, nor did Mike Tomlin, the two Super coaches.
Radio Row blew up today. When I arrived Sunday here at the Dallas Sheraton Media Center, there were a handful of tables broadcasting, a few more on Monday, same for Tuesday but today, wow. The place was jammed as the NFL Network moved in from Cowboys Stadium and the who's who list was amazing. Not often you can rub elbows all day with the likes of Jimmy Johnson, John Elway, Lynn Swan to name a few, but it got really easy on the eyes when Brooklyn Decker strolled in to promote her new movie and another supermodel Marissa Miller made the rounds as well. Tough job these Super Bowls, but someone's gotta do it.