Less Than Picture Perfect
So it seems that Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson went to Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy and convinced him to shift around his Super Bowl schedule so that the team picture could be taken at a time when the injured players could be included. I thought moving the pic to next Friday seemed like a good solution, very inclusive, a way of acknowledging the contribution of those on IR — very Packers.
However, McCarthy didn’t seem to be in much of a magnanimous mood when speaking with the media on Thursday morning. He expressed his disappointment with Nick Barnett and Jermichael Finley, the two guys who publicly lamented the exclusion of IR players, and with a taste of that famed “Pittsburgh Macho” declared that there will be “no apologies.” That firm stance left me wondering about the future of those two players. Finley is a rising star, so I expect he will be chastised and will return to the team next year. But Barnett, over 30 and likely on the downside of his career, might have hastened his departure from GB by going public with his feelings.
As I think about the roots of why this whole issue surfaced in the first place, I recall reading stories last summer about the pictures adorning the walls of 1265 Lombardi Avenue, photos that honor the past championship teams. I recall that McCarthy noted that only title teams are so remembered in the hallowed halls of Packers HQ. With that sort of premium placed on such team pictures, I can see why it would be important to players to be pictured with their teammates, particularly if you were a guy like Nick Barnett who has a long history with the team, who has endured a lot of “close but no cigar” situations, a player whose clock is ticking — this might be his last chance to be remembered as part of a Packers championship team. To me, that makes his feelings all the more understandable.