by Kevin Roth
Call it a case of my expectations being too high, but I am moderately disappointed with the “Super Bowl XLV Champions” DVD/Blu-Ray. I have now watched it 3 times, and each time I have watched it I remembered more and more moments that I want to remember that were not captured on this NFL Films production. I’ll be the first to admit that I expected way too much, wanting every great hit, catch, soundbite, and pleasant memory of the season to have been captured. (I was especially hoping to see those couple of spectacular one-handed catches by Sam Shields and Donald Driver). I know there was a lot to try and pack in. But I really think the editors could have done better. I very much wanted the magic of the Green Bay Packers 2010 season to carry over onto this program, and I feel it fell short.
Adversity, drama, not captured.
If the goal of this video was to capture a basic overview of the season and show clips only of the Packers, to depict them solely as champions destined for greatness, then they succeeded. But that wasn’t the way it really went down. I would have rather seen more of the adversity, showing the devastation of the losses the team endured, the injuries, and the strength of the opponents. The 2010 Packers were not unstoppable, but they grew, gained experience, became motivated, and never gave up. The Packers played some really good teams, and were able to win some very difficult games. By the end of the season the Packers were close to unstoppable, but they really endured some hardships to get to that point. That point was just not adequately captured, and neither was the emotion or the drama I expected.
Rise of the unknowns
When the 2010 Packers lost a key contributor, an unknown player stepped up. Where were the small personal success stories of guys like Frank Zombo, Sam Shields, Howard Green, Charlie Peprah, or Eric Walden? The brief mention of Matt Flynn’s decent game vs. the Patriots was forced and rushed in my opinion.
Improvements over 2009
Our special teams, albeit far from being “fixed” if you ask me, grew by leaps and bounds this season. McCarthy’s quote of Masthay’s “finest punting performance he’d ever witnessed”, was glaringly not present. And the Yin to Masthay’s Yang was Jarrett Bush, who became a specialist at downing the ball on the 1 yard line. (And by the way Bush had an especially fine performance in the Super Bowl). Mason Crosby rebounded from a terrible 2009 season. Where was the commentary about growth on special teams? Not in this film. But also as I said, not all of the special teams woes have been addressed. There was the kickoff return of Atlanta’s Eric Weems, and the embarrasing return during the Patriots game by the lineman Dan Connolly for 71 yards. While it may sting a bit to see those types of plays again, they were still part of the season and were obstacles the Packers overcame.
Also lacking was a feeling of how important particular games such as the games vs. Chicago and Minnesota were. The video seems to go through game by game stating what happened in each as fact, not really stressing the significance. If you recall, this year Aaron Rodgers overcame a pretty huge obstacle in beating his old “mentor” (if you can call him that – #4 was a mentor, albeit an unwilling one) for the first time, and he did it twice. At the time the Packers played the Vikings in their first meeting in 2010, the Vikings were already not in a good way, and needed a win to re-energize them. Instead, the Packers picked them apart and the result was the beginning of the end for the Vikings’ most troublesome season ever. In the second meeting, the Packers so thoroughly defeated the Vikings in such an embarrasing fashion that they fired their coach, Brad Childress. That my friends, was huge (especially for me, living in Viking territory).
And then we have Chicago. I’m actually glad the first loss to Chicago went by fairly quickly, but the significance of that game was the Bears took the lead in the NFC North and we never got it back from them. The second game “forgot” to mention the controversy of Jay Cutler taking himself out of the game. The debate still goes on, and for that reason I feel like they deliberately took out any footage of Cutler’s “injury”. Another interesting tidbit that was not explained during the NFC Championship was that allegedly the Halas trophy was to be presented in the locker room of the winning team regardless of the outcome. If that doesn’t tell about how fierce of a rivalry this is I don’t know what does.
Green Bay Packers, “Coach Killers”
First Wade Philips, then Brad Childress. And it could also be argued that the 49ers’ coach Singletary was also dismissed in part due to another devastating defeat by the Packers. All 3 teams were beaten badly enough for those teams to unravel and eventually lose their coach. Of course the Packers weren’t really the reason that those coaches were fired in and of themselves, but it’s a good story and was not mentioned.
No mention of pro bowl nominations, coaching award nominations, records broken, or other major milestones. Boooo!
I was really hoping for some fun special features like featurettes of “the Championship Belt”, Rodgers’ victory speech at the Return To Titletown (which was phenomenal by the way), or the Raji Dance. The special features that were on the disc were fairly dry and uninteresting to me, perhaps with the exception of the Rodgers interview.
I know I’m being unfair and my expectations were too high, but I won’t be one of those jumping on the “this is the finest work produced by NFL Films to date” bandwagon. I’ll admit I haven’t watched many NFL Films productions, and maybe this was their finest work. But if that is true, that makes me sad. I am not saying I hate this video. I’ll watch it 100 times I’m sure. I was merely hoping for more.