The Countdown To Super Sunday

With 10 days until the Super Bowl, we provide 10 noteworthy and quoteworthy things from Thursday. Among them: A happy ending to the photo flap, a reason to call Gamblers Anonymous and getting back to work.

We've got 10 quick-hitting notes as we're down to 10 days before the kickoff to Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Place your bets has supplied odds to Packer Report all season. We got those in our inbox on Thursday. The Packers remain a three-point favorite, with Bodog sportsbook manager Richard Gardner saying no betting trends have formed, other than the over-under moving to 45 from 46.

For what it's worth: Favorites are 32-12 overall and 24-18-2 against the spread. There was no over-under in Super Bowl I; in the other games, the final score has gone under 22 times and over 21 times.

If you want to bet over/under on an individual team, the total is 23.5 for Green Bay and 21 for Pittsburgh.

Of course, you can bet on anything — including how long Christina Aguilera will hold the note on "Brave" at the end of the national anthem — if you have money to waste or simply have no life. We have them all right here.

Part 2 of Say "Cheese!"

Nick Barnett, Jermichael Finley and the other 13 players on the Packers' injured reserve list can thank Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson for being in the Super Bowl team photo.

"The captains, Aaron and Charles, came up to the office," McCarthy said on Thursday. "We had a couple of things we had to discuss and they brought the issue, I guess you would call it, to my attention. I had heard about the Twitter and didn't really frankly pay much mind to it because of the individuals involved. So, we discussed it — we discussed a number of things, curfew — and they did what good captains do. We had a conversation, I said I'll look into it, Ted (Thompson) was traveling to Mobile (Ala., for the Senior Bowl). I talked to him that night, and he said, ‘Hey, they usually do the picture on Tuesday.' I said I'm going to move it to Friday. As you know how Ted is, he goes, ‘You take that picture any time you want.' So, we moved the picture to Friday. That's really the end of it."

McCarthy said Barnett and Finley made a "poor decision" to voice their complaints via Twitter, but in the end, the situation was resolved with no ruffled feathers.

"It's not that they are not part of the team," McCarthy said. "They are in the photo. You want them in the photo and that's important."

The waiting game

Early this season, there was plenty of talk about whether the Packers should have held roster spots open for Ryan Grant (ankle) and Finley (knee). The Packers went the conservative route and put them on injured reserve.

The Steelers had a similar choice with stud defensive end Aaron Smith. He tore his triceps tendon in his left arm on Oct. 24 but coach Mike Tomlin elected to keep the roster spot open.

Smith has been listed as limited participation the last two days but he didn't sound optimistic when talking to reporters.

"Even though it's healed, you have to get to the point where it's strong," Smith said.

Ziggy Hood, a first-round pick out of Missouri last year, has played nicely in Smith's place.

Back to work

The Packers return to the practice field on Friday through Sunday and will be in full pads for all three sessions. The team will travel to Dallas on Monday, with Media Day on Tuesday. McCarthy said the team will do some padded work while in Texas, too.

McCarthy wasn't sure if everyone would be available to practice on Friday but thought his team would be "close to full-go." The team did release injury reports on Wednesday and Thursday, and outside linebackers Erik Walden (ankle) and Frank Zombo (knee) probably would not have practiced.

Once at work

About 90 percent of the game plan will be installed over the next three days, with the finishing touches being put on in Dallas. Because of the extra time, McCarthy said the challenge is to avoid putting in too much stuff.

"I've always told the offense, we have enough plays to play doubleheaders, and that's really true because just the way our structure is built," McCarthy said. "It's not a big deal for us to take protection and put it with a different pass content and put it into a different personnel group just because of the way it's all put together. I think the biggest mistake is, you watch too much film and you have too much volume. But we are not going to do that. Our volume will be exactly the same for this game as it has been."

That Rodgers guy ...

Aaron Rodgers emblazons a side of Cowboys Stadium.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
McCarthy, on Rodgers having what it takes to replace a legend: "He needs to kiss his mom and dad for that. That's genetic. His character and his initiation into the starting role was probably as tough as it has ever been. He handled it tremendously from a personal standpoint. I think that speaks volumes to Aaron as a person, and that's exciting, because it's all about storms. When you weather storms, you learn from them. You grow from them and it just continues to galvanize him as an individual, and I think that's a big part of why he's a special person, alongside being a special quarterback."


That's the injured reserve scoreboard. The Packers finished with 15 players on IR, including six starters. The Steelers finished with six players on IR, including starting right tackle Willie Colon and his replacement, Max Starks.

The ‘60 Minutes' guy?

The Packers know all too well about Mike Wallace. In the game at Pittsburgh last year, Wallace — then a rookie — got behind Jarrett Bush for a 60-yard touchdown in the first minute of the game. He then caught the game-winning 19-yard touchdown as time expired.

This year, Wallace led the Steelers in yards receiving and led the NFL with 21.0 yards per catch. However, he's been held to four receptions for 26 yards in two postseason games.

A brief history lesson

A little perspective on how good these teams have been:

— The Packers are 28-16 all-time in the playoffs, good for a league-best .636 winning percentage. Pittsburgh is 33-19, with a second-ranked winning percentage of .635.

— Green Bay's 12 championships are more than any other team. No team, however, has more than Pittsburgh's six Lombardi trophies.

Punch line

McCarthy, on the "In Coach McCarthy We Trust" fence on Lombardi Ave. near the stadium. "I drove by it a couple times, especially when we were 3-3, just to see if anybody else added any paint to it. It's awesome. It's a great ride in every morning. It's very unique, just to drive down Oneida Street and you come through a very normal small town, Main Street environment, and then, bam, you know, there's Lambeau Field and Ruben (the security guy located at the southeast corner of the stadium) is waiting for you at the gate. It's a special place with special people."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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