Joining us to help round out our Packer/Super Bowl-centric week we have perhaps the hardest the working person in the Packers Blogosphere, Brian Carriveau.  Last year Brian joined the CheesheadTV team where he covered Training Camp then the regular season and ended the 2010 campaign down in Dallas.  Brian also is the editor of both the Packers & Brewers Maple Street Annuals. Brian shares with us some of his experiences from last week, some takes on the game itself and what the future may hold for the Packers.

I think pretty much everyone out there is familiar with your path from Railbird Central to CheeseheadTV.  Previous to the move to CHTV though, you were ‘only’ a part-time blogger, how has life changed now that writing online as well as hosting your periodic streaming shows is more of a full-time gig? 

I went out on a limb by leaving my job of over seven years as a teacher to become a writer and join the media movement. It was a risk and still is because I don’t get paid for a lot of what I do, but I believe in looking at the big picture and hoping somebody will take notice of what I hope is quality work. It was all made possible by an understanding wife who saw the need for a change in life, and I love her for it. I feel lucky to be able to be able to do something that a lot of people wish they could do, and that’s work at home with my dog by my side every day. And more opportunities are becoming available to me all the time, which is a step in the right direction. 

In addition to your Packers work at CHTV & Brewers posting here on Pocket Doppler, you’re also the editor of the Maple Street Annuals for both the Packers & Brewers editions.  Where did those opportunities come from and what is it like to switch gears to the printed medium?

Jim Walsh, publisher of Maple Street Press, was familiar with my work as a blogger and approached me to become editor of the inaugural edition of the Maple Street Press Packers Annual, which I think turned out to be a resounding success. While the print medium is dying a slow death in many different places, I believe there is one area in which it’s still seeing success, and that’s in magazines that come out on an annual basis. By that I mean things like season preview magazines, NFL Draft preview magazines, etc. While people may be going to read daily news online, they still seem to enjoy tangible publications that they will refer to for weeks and months.

As a way of bridging the print and the online mediums, a lot of the people who contribute to the Annual are bloggers. And as the world is starting to find out, there are bloggers out there that are some of the most knowledgeable people in the world in their particular area of expertise, which I think adds to the quality of the magazine.

This was the first year that CHTV was credentialed for the Super Bowl and you, along with Corey Behnke, were down in Dallas all last week.  I’m sure we could take this entire Q & A up with just that, but how would you sum up the experience?

Amazing? Unbelievable? Any of those might be apt adjectives. Apart from getting married, it may have been the best week of my life. It was such a rush to be able to be in the media workroom among some of the most respected people in the sports journalism business. It was really motivating to work in that environment, which made it pretty easy to churn out several articles and podcasts per day. I felt an obligation to bring Cheesehead TV readers and viewers quality work, and I think we accomplished that. It was also a blast to work with Corey, who is amazing at what he does. I think anyone that saw the CHTV photo galleries noticed that.

Any ‘star-struck’ instances where you were had to consciously dial down the fan in you to maintain a level of objectivity & professionalism when being in such close proximity to the Packers?

I’m a fan, but I think I’m a different type of fan than might be typical. I know no other way than to act professional in that type of environment. I think with a credential to the Super Bowl brings a level of responsibility, and I wasn’t about to screw that up. I’ll tell you what, though, I was nervous as hell asking Mike McCarthy questions during the press conferences. By going from not being allowed to cover regular season games to covering arguably the biggest event in all of sports, I skipped a couple steps in between. I must have rehearsed those questions in my head about 20 times before I asked them. 

Not including the game itself, what was the one moment you will cherish the most from your time down in Dallas this past week?

I had an absolute blast rooming with Alex Tallitsch and Jayme Joers of Packers Lounge. And I had a lot of fun at our “tweetups” meeting fans of Cheesehead TV and Twitter that I’ve previously only known through cyberspace. But being able to attend the press conferences, Media Day, other media availabilities and working in the media workroom was an amazing professional experience I’ll never forget.

The impression many got via media coverage was that the event was wildly mishandled and poorly planned by the local organizers in Dallas (e.g. the whole deal with some ticket holders not getting to use their seats be order of the Fire Marshall). Were things as bad as noted in the media? Or was this more a case of bad luck exacerbated by freak weather?

It’s impossible to prevent the weather, but there were many things that could have been done better. They knew they were hosting this event years ahead of time. They also knew the storm system that hit the area was coming days ahead of time. Salting the roads before the weather hit would have helped. And having more plows ready, even on a temporary basis, would have helped as well.

The ticket issue is a big black eye on the NFL. I understand that it was hard to appease the fans who were affected on gameday, but they also had weeks to install those seats. It’s ridiculous that mere hours before game time, those seats were declared unsafe.

And the national anthem was just downright embarrassing.

About the game itself, it seemed Aaron Rodgers was razor sharp and if it hadn’t been for all the drops (four or five by my count) he might have had another 100 yards passing and two more TDs. Did you get a sense that it was a truly dominant performance?

I think I’ve seen Aaron Rodgers have better performances, but that’s not to de-value what he did during the Super Bowl. He would have been my vote for Super Bowl MVP as well. Had it not been for those couple of drops, it might have gone down as one of the more dominating performances of all time.

Why do you think McCarthy totally abandoned the run game in the second half.  I realize that Rodgers was having a great game, but it seems that balancing that out would have only helped the passing attack and the few times we saw Starks get some action he seemed more than a little effective.

I think the Packers just recognized their best chance of success was going to be when they put the ball in the hands of Aaron Rodgers. I suppose they could have given James Starks a few more carries on early downs in second half, but it’s hard to argue with the outcome of the game.

Does this win validate Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy and finally put them above all the reproach and second-guessing they’ve received in previous years?

Yes. Anybody that still questions either Thompson or McCarthy for their past decisions is out of their mind.

With the Lombardi Trophy safely home in Green Bay, the big question now is how well are the Packers positioned to repeat this year’s performance for next year and possibly beyond?

I’ve said it many times now, the Packers are built for sustained success. I’m next to positive that they’ll be my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl again next season. They may lose a few players via free agency, and they’re bound to suffer injuries again (hopefully not as many), but all the key players are under contract for next season: Aaron Rodgers, Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings, B.J. Raji and more. Even with a few losses, they’re still better positioned than most other teams in the NFL.

…and now for the lighting round.

Your all-time favorite Packers player is:

Charles Woodson

Your favorite Packers blog to read that isn’t named Cheesehead TV is:

PackerRanter.com

If there were no Packers, you would have a blog about:

Other sports. Unfortunately I’m not a well-rounded person.

If you were a pro football player, your position would be:

Free safety

Should I ever run into you at a bar, I should buy you a _____________ for taking the time to answer these questions.

Sweetgrass by Grand Teton Brewing Company

Thank you Brian for coming on this Thursday, especially after the tremendously busy week he had last.  Make sure to follow Brian on Twitter as well as check out all of his Packers’ takes at CHTV and you’ll be able to read his musings on the Brewers right here on PocketDoppler.com as we roll into Spring.

Would you like to be the guest for a PocketDoppler.com Thursday Q & A? Let us know!

 

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  • Chris

    Very glad to hear Brian will be joining us soon to comment on the Brewers. Excited to have that voice on our team.