Aloha! Rivera's all-star season

In the third of a series this week on Green Bay Packers participating in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, we take a look at Marco Rivera. The guard earned his second straight trip to the Pro Bowl, despite what appeared to be a major setback late in the preseason.<p>

Brett Favre was recently named the toughest guy in America by Men's Journal, a logical choice considering Favre's NFL record starting streak for quarterbacks. Consider Rivera at the same level as Favre when it comes to toughness.

For the second straight season, Rivera played through a significant injury throughout the season and performed at a consistently high level. Despite spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the preseason, Rivera started all 16 games, thus maintaining an 81-game playing streak, 83 including playoffs, the fourth-longest active streak on the team.

In 2002, Rivera did not miss a start despite a torn medial collateral ligament in both knees. The year before, he suffered a broken left hand in practice in early December but finished the season and did not miss a start.

"He is without question the toughest guy I have ever coached from a mental and physical standpoint. It's amazing what he is able to do when he has had injuries."

For his effort, Rivera was named to his second straight Pro Bowl, joining guards Larry Allen of Dallas, and LeCharles Bentley of New Orleans.

"My biggest question going into this season was, 'Can I do it again?', because you never stay the same," Rivera said. "You either get better, or you get worse," Rivera said. "Can I repeat it; can I do it again? Obviously, I proved to myself that I can."

Behind Rivera, the Packers featured the best rushing attack in the National Football Conference, allowing Ahman Green to break Jim Taylor's single-season rushing record and Favre to pass for more than 3,000 yards.

Despite the line's performance, only Rivera was named to the NFC squad when the selections were announced in December. Flanagan was given a free ride to Hawaii when Chicago's Olin Kreutz withdrew because of a leg injury. But many felt guard Mike Wahle also was deserving of a spot on the Pro Bowl squad.

"I'm biased to my guys," Favre said in late December. "But I don't know if there's been a more dominating line up to this point in all of football. It's not one guy, it's five guys.

"I was really, in all honesty, expecting to hear all five guys' names, at least as (alternates)." The offensive line, behind Rivera, allowed just 19 sacks last season, tied for second with Indianapolis in the NFL. Detroit led the NFL in that category by giving up just 11 sacks.

Note: Todd Korth is managing editor of Packer Report. Contact him at

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