The Packers overcame a multitude of injuries to win Super Bowl XLV. So can they do it again? It doesn't happen often that an NFC team makes back-to-back championship games. In fact, the last team to do it was the Green Bay Packers, who made it to Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII.
Here are 10 reasons why the Packers will be the first NFC team to make repeat Super Bowl appearances in 13 years.
The Packers have been possibly the best in the NFL when it comes to finding quality depth. Players like Sam Shields, Charlie Peprah, Frank Zombo and Erik Walden all were unheard of just a year ago. Now they are all big contributors on a Super Bowl winning club.
With a plethora of key players returning from IR, the Packers training camp will be the most competitive summer in distant memory. If nothing else, the Packers now have the confidence that they can play with any team no matter who lines up on Sundays.
The Packers should only get better in year three in Dom Capers' complicated 3-4 scheme. The more players play in this system, the more comfortable they become and the more plays they make. If you thought the Packers defense was special last year, wait until next season.
Whether he likes to admit it or not, Aaron Rodgers finally got the monkey off his back by winning the Super Bowl MVP. No longer a "stats guy" unable to win the big games, Rodgers proved he is an elite quarterback and maybe more importantly, an elite leader. His confidence is through the roof and the only thing that can stop him from dominating this league for the next six to eight years is himself. How he handles his success will determine how many more Lombardis he brings back to Green Bay.
The Packers are the class of the division. The Bears may have been the division champs in 2010, but there was never any doubt the Packers were the more talented team. The national media knew it, the Packers knew it and the Bears probably knew it too.
The Lions will be much improved next season but they are not ready to make a championship run just yet. Maybe in two or three years, but not now. The true unknown is the Minnesota Vikings. They have a lot of talent on offense and defense, but they are getting older at many key positions and still have many looming questions at the quarterback position. They could easily finish fourth in the division next season, unless they strike gold in the draft or free agency and find a quarterback who can manage the great potential the Vikings possess.
Ryan Grant might not be back next season. He's expensive and coming off a serious injury. James Starks provided that extra boost the Packers needed in their championship run. Whether or not he can handle an entire NFL season has yet to be determined, but the Packers have to feel confident that, barring injury, they have found their big, talented back of the future.
Is there a better coach and GM combo in the NFL? It seems like an ironic question to ask less than three years after Packer Nation was calling for their heads. Nonetheless, what Mike and Ted have done in building this team is unparalleled. Mike McCarthy is an offensive genius and as long as Thompson can keep bringing in quality talent, Coach McCarthy will continue to win ball games.
The biggest improvement for the Packers from 2009 to 2010 was the incredible progression of their secondary. Two undrafted free agents, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, proved invaluable, shutting down opponents all year long. Charles Woodson continues to play at an MVP level and could be moving to safety this offseason. Three-time Pro Bowler Nick Collins just makes plays and is quickly becoming one of the top safeties in the entire NFL. In the pass-heavy league that the NFL has become, a good secondary is a must for any team hoping to compete for a championship.
There aren't many great teams in the NFC today. The Saints will continue to compete as long as Drew Brees remains in New Orleans. The NFC East is always tough and produces a championship-caliber team every year. But do any of these teams have the top-to-bottom talent that the Packers possess? The answer is a simple "no". A lot can happen over the course of an offseason, but right now the Packers are the de facto best team in the NFC.
Aaron Rodgers calls "The Jerm" the greatest tight end in the league. While that is debatable, there is little argument over Finley's unparalleled playmaking ability at the tight end position. At 6'5", Jermichael Finley is too big for safeties and corners and too fast for linebackers. He'll run around you, jump over you or run right through you. Before he got hurt last season, he was the Packers' leading receiver. Now he just has to stay healthy and big things will happen.
In order to win multiple championships, a team must have an elite quarterback. Aaron Rodgers fits the bill. He is cool, calm and collected under pressure, can make all the throws and is a great runner when things break down. With him under center, the Packers will be a favorite to win the NFC every season. When it's all said and done, his name and number will be up in the Lambeau Ring of Fame right next to Bart Starr and Brett Favre. And dare I say it, he is the most talented of all three. The Pack will be back again next year.