Mike McCarthy has had a decent amount of success in the NFL as a head coach. This was especially the case when he coached Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. In fact, the Packers even went to the Super Bowl and won against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2010 season. While the Packers had a great team that season, McCarthy made an incredible move the day before the Super Bowl that led to the team winning the game the very next day.
Aaron Rodgers was a breakout star during the 2010 season
Back in 2010, Aaron Rodgers was just making his way into the NFL. He had been in the league during the previous five seasons, but had only been starting for the Packers since 2008.
The 2008 season came after Mike McCarthy, Brett Favre, and the Packers went to the NFC Championship Game the year before. Aaron Rodgers was the future, though, and it was time for him to prove himself. He ultimately proved that he had a ton of potential in 2008, too, as he threw for 4,038 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. The Packers, however, were not a very good team that year, as they went 6-10 overall.
In 2009, though, Rodgers really proved that he was a great NFL QB. He threw for 4,434 yards, 30 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, and he earned his first Pro Bowl selection that year. The Packers went 11-5 that season and reached the playoffs, too. They, however, lost in the Wild Card Round to the Arizona Cardinals.
Green Bay was a good team again in 2010, as the Packers went 10-6. Rodgers ended up throwing for 3,922 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions that season, while Greg Jennings also had a great year at receiver. He caught 76 passes for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns. Green Bay’s defense was also incredible that season as they only allowed 15 points per game behind the play of A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews, and others.
This ultimately made them a very strong team heading into the playoffs.
Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay Packers defeated the Steelers in the Super Bowl
Green Bay played the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round during the 2010 season. Rodgers threw for three touchdowns in the game and the Packers ultimately won 21-16. In the Divisional Round, they then played the Atlanta Falcons and won in a blowout as Rodgers had an incredible performance. He threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns against Atlanta.
Then, in the NFC Championship Game, the Packers took on the Chicago Bears. They eventually won that game, too, 21-14, to advance to the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the Super Bowl, the Packers jumped out to a big 21-3 lead in the second quarter. This came after a couple of touchdown passes from Rodgers and a pick-six from Nick Collins. The Steelers then came back and only trailed 28-25 in the fourth quarter, but the Packers ended up winning 31-25. Rodgers threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns in the game and won Super Bowl MVP.
While Rodgers and the Packers played well, a decision made by Mike McCarthy the day before might have been what led to the win.
Mike McCarthy’s most important motivational exercise
After the Super Bowl, Rodgers made an appearance on 60 Minutes and talked about how Mike McCarthy actually had the Packers get fitted for their Super Bowl rings the night before the game, prior to even taking the field.
“I thought it was a good gesture,” Rodgers said in 2012. “I don’t know if it was a confidence builder. I don’t think he thought a whole lot into it; I think he was just thinking it was a great time to do it. We all expected to win, thought we were going to win, but I think it meant a lot to the guys that there was such a confidence with coach McCarthy and the staff that we should get our rings sized there.”
McCarthy also explained his reasoning behind the move.
“I talked to our football team a lot about having real confidence, and those are just examples and opportunities to express that. I felt that the measurement of the rings, the timing of it would be special, it would have a significant effect on our players doing it the night before the game,” McCarthy said, according to FOX Sports.
Mike McCarthy took a risk with the Green Bay Packers that night. It ultimately paid off in a big way.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference