Sydney Speaks! Not just another coach

Harry Sydney explains why Packers fans should be impressed with how head coach Mike McCarthy has turned the Green Bay Packers from a pretender into a Super Bowl contender in a very short time.

Unbelievable! Unbelievable and that's not even getting close to describing the 2007 football season for the Green Bay Packers. Expectations before the season were that of hoping that this team ‘competes' and maybe make the playoffs. Many were upset that the Packers didn't have home-field advantage because one of their three - HEAR ME, THREE - losses was to Dallas. This team lost only three games and in every game if someone wanted to they could make a convincing argument in the favor of why they lost. It could have been because of a player not playing because of an injury, like in the Dallas game when Charles Woodson didn't play. Could he have made a difference? Or what about last weekend when the Bears beat them up we all saw how the weather affected the game.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not making any excuses for the losses because I'm not that guy, but look at what this team has accomplished in such a short time. Also don't get me wrong because I expect so much more, but let me explain:

I saw a coach not scared to make a mistake like when the Packers attempted an onside kick. I saw a throwback coach that got better every game by challenging himself and his players. He challenged everyone to be the best they could be, but he didn't ask them to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself. That's what makes Mike McCarthy special.

Rarely do you have a young coach that has earned the respect of his team so quickly. People often talk about having a method to their madness, but they can't walk their talk. Mike McCarthy has delivered what he promised when he became the coach of the Green Bay Packers. Mike McCarthy has had a reason for everything he has done and he always seems a step ahead and pays attention to everything around him. He understands the big picture and the Green Bay Packers being 13-3 is a direct result of his leadership.

I know I have to give examples, so here are a few: McCarthy changed the way this team lifts weights, or how about how he changed training camp to practice at night and giving the players off on Wednesdays. How many of us wondered if he knows what he is doing? Guess he does. What you think??!!

But one of the biggest things that happened this year was the way he got Brett Favre to buy into his philosophy. He had to, and I don't care whether they did it together or how they did it because the important thing was it happened and this team was better because of it. Don't get me wrong because they both are about winning, but they had compromise on how to go about winning and once they did that all things became possible.

Mike McCarthy's job was to convince this team that it is good enough to win now and that it didn't have to wait. Now, as I look back, I remember things he said like when they were talking about the draft and free agency. He said that he had excellent talent already on the team, and they just needed to realize it and many had to stay healthy. He counted on his players and they didn't let him down. He gave them the opportunity to be athletes like when he realized that he didn't have the personnel to run effectively, so he put the five receivers out on the field. It was like he told Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Ruvell Martin and Koren Robinson to make them stop you. Then he turned to Brett and said you don't have to win it alone anymore, let these guys lead the league in yards after the catch, which they did.

McCarthy convinced Brett to trust him and Brett did which was evident by the year he has had. I'm not just talking about all the records he broke because that was inevitable, but Brett Favre really became the team's leader this year and his teammates followed him.

I hope that the Packers organization and fans understand just how special this team and year has been. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be proud of what this team has accomplished. I really believe that Mike McCarthy should be coach of the year hands down because he's NOT JUST ANOTHER COACH!!!!!

Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at

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