Posted by Tim Cigelske on November 27, 2011 Jump To Comments
There are no shortage of factors that go into predicting the odds of the Packers repeating as Super Bowl champions.
Youth, talent, depth, coaching, injuries, momentum and past performance are all relatively easy to analyze, and have been discussed at length starting immediately after the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.
The one factor I find particularly interesting but difficult to measure is motivation. There’s good reason to believe that a Super Bowl champion’s hunger to win it all the next year is diminished, from reasons ranging from losing the drive to win to individuals hoping to cash in for themselves to chemistry just not materializing again. It’s the so-called Super Bowl hangover effect.
Other than the salary cap and league’s parity formula, this X-factor of team psychology may heavily account for the reason the past five Super Bowl champions are 0-3 in the following postseason and no team has successfully repeated as champions since the Cowboys in 1993 Patriots in ’04.
That list of failed runs to repeat includes the 1997 Packers. To prove a point, that team had its share of mental hang-ups, including Leroy Butler’s brash 19-0 prediction before a 3-2 start and the impending departure of Mike Holmgren.
Fortunately, there is ample reason to believe this Packers team is different, yet again. More evidence is shown in the Journal Sentinel’s fascinating and in-depth article about Aaron Rodgers’ motivation techniques.
It’s a portrait of a manager that is wise well beyond beyond his 27 years. He’s demonstrated being cool under pressure. Even a glance to a teammate (“The Look”) can communicate a powerful message. And he can admit when he’s wrong and make amends.
But to me, what’s most impressive is that Rodgers does his homework to pinpoint exactly what triggers each individual’s best performance, whether it’s a free agent punter or a talented but frustrated receiver.
In a squad with this much talent, it’s important that this team doesn’t fall prey to a battle of egos or complacency if they’re going to win the uphill battle of repeating as world champions. They need a leader who’s as good at relating to others as his physical talent.
Once again, the Packers are in good hands on that front.