From a football standpoint, it seemed to be natural for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers to meet in the most recent Super Bowl. It was something that they hadn't done to that point, but with two of the more storied franchises over the last half century of the National Football League getting together in the League's most important game, one could assume there would be a special moment here or there, and the Packers were rewarded with a win and their fourth Super Bowl trophy. Though their road back to Titletown wasn't all milk and honey along the way, this NFL Films disc helps show the Packers' trip in the 2010 season.
The feature clocks in at about an hour in length and starts from the beginning. Not the beginning of the season mind you, but shows us how future Super Bowl MVP and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers came to the Packers, slipping down in the draft from a Top 10 pack to being grabbed at #24 by the Packers and then learning and honing his craft while Brett Favre played for several years. While the feature does not get into Favre's prissy departure with (and barbs at) the team that he became a star at, the team did have some growing pains to undertake with Rodgers at the helm, notably ending with their exit from the 2009 postseason, a wild 51-45 loss to the Arizona Cardinals where a Rodgers fumble led to an overtime game-winning touchdown.
While the team still smarted from their departure, a move was made to install consultant Dom Capers as the permanent defensive coordinator. Capers, a onetime NFL coach and longtime defensive presence on several NFL teams, changed the Packers' defensive scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4. The change helped the mainly young defensive core of the team (linebackers A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews, cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams and lineman B.J. Raji) a chance to grow and gain confidence in their play), and with a high-powered offense that Rodgers was conducting, the prospects were intriguing, particularly with Favre playing with division rival Minnesota.
After the season's first six games, people wondered if the Pack would even get there. Splitting their first six (and losing 3 of 4 in the process), and barely hanging on in the season's first week to beat a Philadelphia Eagles team that graced the league with the reintroduction of Michael Vick. The team found their footing though, winning the next four (including two over Favre's Vikings, exorcising the demons from 2009 when the surging Vikings beat the Packers in offensive shootouts). The team wilted a little, losing three of their next four (including to the playoff-bound Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots) before steeling their resolve to beat the New York Giants and Chicago Bears in their final two home games.
Then it was onto the postseason, where just like the regular season the Packers went to Philadelphia and beat a tough Eagles team, then exacted revenge on the Falcons in Atlanta before beating the Bears on the road to face the Steelers in Dallas for the Super Bowl where they held off the Steelers (in part to Rodgers' 304 yards and three passing touchdowns) for a 31-25 win. The disc shows us how the season played out in further detail, combining striking photography with NFL Films' penchant for extraordinary access to the team through the year.
Having seen a few of these NFL Films season retrospectives through the years, this one impressed me with the reach and frankness in some of the moments, and helps set the stage for tense moments even though we all know how things played out. For Packer fans (and football fans in general) this is definitely worth your time in watching, and cheese heads will love it.
1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen for the feature. It looks good, though NFL Films shot productions usually are, the sitdown interviews sprinkled into the film give the characters an almost three-dimensional look. But game footage looks clear and sharp without little edge enhancement or haloing and looks natural as can be. Solid standard-definition viewing.
Dolby Stereo two-channel for the production and supplements. I wasn't expecting much more than that, but there is one scene before the NFC Championship Game against the Bears where some jets did their obligatory pre-game flyover of the stadium where I thought I'd maybe hear some subwoofer activity, but was surprised (or even impressed) that I didn't. The action is in the front channels and sounds clear and strong without little adjustment, and was impressive to listen to during the film.
Additional NFL Network-produced interview footage with the players and coaches from the Packers abounds, starting with interviews conducted on the Super Bowl media day (12:51), with thoughts from Rodgers and others. The Lombardi trophy presentation is included (5:22), followed by an interview of Rodgers (4:23) which shows his story from being drafted onward, while another piece focuses on veteran Packer (and wide receiver) Donald Driver (3:43). Features on McCarthy (3:20) and Williams (3:16) are next, along with an interesting piece on Capers as he talks about his mentor, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau (3:47). Finally a piece on the respective fanbases' healthy respect for one another wrap things up (3:52).
The Green Bay Packers Super Bowl film is a mix of highs, lows, triumphs and tragedies, as most seasons are, and NFL Films does their usual outstanding job in presenting as much of these events as they can. The film combined with the supplements makes for an excellent retrospective and Packers fans shouldn't hesitate to grab this at their first opportunity.