Mike McCarthy settles Super Bowl team photo drama
While the focus in Chicago since the NFC Championship Game has been on Jay Cutler’s injured knee, the focus in Green Bay has been on how the 15 Packers on injured reserve were going to be out of focus for the team picture.
Originally, the Packers were going to take their team photo Tuesday on Media Day, which is the standard procedure for Super Bowl teams. When the players on IR caught wind of that plan, a storm quickly developed. That’s because the team isn’t flying the injured players to Dallas until Thursday, meaning they’d be pretty hard to locate in a Tuesday team photo unless you’ve got some handy Photoshop skills.
Linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finley, perhaps the two most high-profile players on IR, took to Twitter and other outlets to protest and, what do you know, the Packers called an audible. Now, the team photo will be taken Friday with some extra risers to fit everyone.
Coach Mike McCarthy said if that is the biggest issue the team faces leading up to Super Bowl XLV, everything will be in good shape.
“Really the reaction was a total overreaction,” McCarthy said. “As far as the IR situation, it's different. We have 15. It's a large number, so there are different components that went into why they traveled when they traveled. Tuesday the captains, Aaron (Rodgers) and Charles (Woodson), came up to the office. We had a couple of things we had to discuss and they brought the issue, I guess you would call it, to my attention.
“I had heard about the Twitter and didn't really frankly pay much mind to it because of the individuals involved. So we discussed it, we discussed a number of things, curfew and they did what good captains do. We had a conversation, I said I'll look into it, Ted (Thompson) was traveling to Mobile, Ala. I talked to him that night, and he said, ‘Hey, they usually do the picture on Tuesday.’ I said I'm going to move it to Friday. As you know how Ted is, he goes, ‘You take that picture any time you want.’ So we moved the picture to Friday. That's really the end of it.”
But it doesn’t mean McCarthy was pleased with Barnett and Finley.
“I think they made a poor decision, what they did,” McCarthy said. “But we feel great because if that's the biggest issue that we have in our preparation, we are going to have a hell of a week. So it's not that big of a deal.”
The focus of the coach is on the Steelers and the only thing he is concerned about entering the game is the 53 players who can help him. That’s why he didn’t approve of a distraction by players upset they were being left out of a photo.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune