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Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers Print
Editorial
Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 -- 1:00 AM

editor's view by Mary C. UhlerWhat a game! What a victory! The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. The Lombardi Trophy returns to Titletown.

Like Packer fans everywhere, I was glued to my TV set on Sunday to watch a great football contest. I wore my Aaron Rodgers jersey, a gift from my husband for Christmas of 2009. I consider it my lucky jersey, since we won every playoff game when I wore it!

The reason I received that jersey was because I have had confidence in Aaron Rodgers since he took over the starting quarterback role from Brett Favre. While I liked Favre when he played for the Packers, I didn't like the way he left the team. And then after playing for the Jets, Favre took a position with the Vikings as if to rub more salt on the wound. I decided it was time to give Rodgers a chance.

It takes teamwork

I think Aaron Rodgers and the current Green Bay Packers are a great team -- with emphasis on team. This is an unselfish group of guys who don't seem to care about individual accomplishments. Their teamwork has been evident especially during this season, when 16 players ended up on the injured reserve list.

Whenever another player went down, it seemed as if other guys stepped up even more. They helped each other and were flexible enough to move to another position for the good of the team.

On the sidelines, the injured players kept encouraging those on the field. We could see the pats on the helmet and the words of advice -- whether for good plays or not so good plays.

Above all, Rodgers led the team with calm confidence. He didn't let dropped passes or even sacks rattle him. He got back in the huddle and relayed the next play to his teammates. Often he threw the next pass to the player who dropped the previous ball as if to say, "You can do it. Let's try again." (That happened with Jordy Nelson in the Super Bowl, just like it happened with Greg Jennings and Donald Driver and other guys many times during the season.)

Caring about each other on and off the field

The Packers are obviously a team who care a lot about each other on and off the field. Caring for each other has been shown in the way the players get together outside of football. The receiving corps, for example, has been socializing with each other and their wives.

Donald Driver, who turned 36 on February 2 and is the oldest of the receivers by nine years, said he had never been part of a closer group in his 12 years with the Packers, reported an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The good thing about it is we're all married guys," Driver said. "When I came into the league, everybody was single. We had one guy that was married and that was Bill Schroeder. Robert Brooks got married and then I got married.

"But this group, we're all married and we can get together as married couples and have a good time. We all love one another and our wives love one another."

Those personal relationships off the field also seem to have an impact on the field. The receivers say they hold each other to high standards and expect to play the best they can. They may have fun outside of football, but they take themselves very seriously on the field and will give each other constructive criticism.

Reaching out to serve the community

The Green Bay Packers also care about the community of Green Bay and people in other areas of the country and the world, witness the amount of service being done by the Packers as an organization and as individual players.

Donald Driver is just one example of what the Packers are doing. Driver had a tough childhood himself, and he understands the problems of homelessness and poverty. He has set up the Donald Driver Foundation, which "understands that by accepting the challenge of homeless families and lack of education, we take steps in minimizing this crisis" (www.donaldriverfoundation.com).

The foundation has been helping families in Wisconsin and Texas, where Driver grew up, find places to live. The foundation also gives 10 scholarships of $1,000 each to students in Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin. The foundation has opened two computer labs in inner-city youth centers in Texas.

Another example is Packers' outside linebacker Brady Poppinga and his wife, Brooke, who were the first from the Packers organization to make a donation to make a donation to the CANA Marian Foundation Center, a Catholic facility in Rwanda. Although the Poppingas are not Catholic, they donated funds to build a bathroom for the school there and have supported other educational initiatives in developing nations around the world.

The Packers team and head coach, Mike McCarthy, partnered in August to make a $100,000 donation to train Rwandans in bread making and small-business skills at the CANA Marian Center. The project was begun with the friendship of Fr. Leszek Czelusniak, a missionary priest in Rwanda, and Ron Schoenfeld, founder of the Seven Loaves Project headquartered in Green Bay.

While we rejoice that the Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl champions, we can be even more proud of the people they are and the values they show both on and off the field.

 
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