Makings of a Dynasty

This was no fluke, even considering the journey it took the Packers to get there. A Super Bowl championship may only be the start. Matt Tevsh offers his thoughts from Dallas on what the Packers will need to keep the Titletown train rolling full-steam ahead.

DALLAS -- Mike McCarthy's vision of bringing a championship back to the Green Bay came to life on Sunday night when his Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium.

Now comes the next challenge – winning another one.

"Handling success is a whole different thing," said general manager Ted Thompson in the victorious locker room on Sunday night. "It will be an offseason where Mike and I, I'm sure, will sit down and have some conversations. I'm sure he'll have some ideas. I'm not really thinking of next year right at this second, but we will because it's important to get back. But this is a pretty well-rounded team."

There was a similar feeling in the air back in 1997 -- the last time the Packers won a Super Bowl – when they were built much like the 2010 team to win titles thereafter.

But it never happened. A stunning upset to the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII the following season and Mike Holmgren's exit to seek a dual head coach/GM role after the 1998 season sent the franchise into a different direction.

On Monday, McCarthy gave Packers fans some assurance that a similar situation would not play out.

"I would hope this is my last job," he said, some 12 hours removed from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. "I'm a builder and we've built something special. This program is built the right way and has quality people -- Aaron Rodgers all the way through -- that are going to lead this football team for a long time, so I would definitely hope this is my last job."

Holmgren, who remains a legend to this day in Green Bay, did not always share the same sentiment. And in many ways, it cost his Packers from reaching even greater heights.

If Packers history has told its fans anything about chasing multiple titles, it is that players can come and go and winning seasons can remain, but stability at the top is the best formula for winning championships.

No more was that evident than in the 1960s, when Vince Lombardi turned the Packers into Titletown by winning five championships in seven seasons. After his departure in 1968, the Packers endured their longest championship drought – 30 years.

Even in a much different era, the same could be said for Curly Lambeau, who had a dynasty of his own winning three straight titles from 1929 through 1931 among five titles in 10 years. He ended up coaching the Packers for a record 31 years and is immortalized for taking a small-town team to pro football's top spot.

So now, a day after their fourth Super Bowl title, the Packers are set up for another potential dynasty. Next year's roster is shaping up nicely with 16 players coming off injured reserve, only a few key free agents, and another draft ahead in just more than two months. As hard as it is to quantify, the numbers and pedigree would suggest that this could be one of the most competitive, talented training camps that the NFL has ever seen.

If the 2010 Packers tell any story, it is that a total team effort can prevail with the right direction and message. What else can explain an even mix of strong core players and once-thought-of training camp bodies coming together for a Super Bowl title? Not to mention the journey of needing to run the table over the last six games in what might be the greatest Super Bowl run of all-time?

The answer lies at the top in a power triumvirate that needs to stay together for the Packers to make this more than a one-time thing.

Team president and CEO Mark Murphy is the right man at the right time to help the Packers through labor unrest now and into the future.

Thompson is one of the best in the business at building a strong roster able to withstand inevitable injuries.

And coach Mike McCarthy never has been more confident and more in tune with his franchise quarterback.

Times are terrific in Titletown and the best may be yet to come.


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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com


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