McCarthy to Packers: ‘Just don’t look into the lights’

Mike McCarthy was the second coach to take the podium on Monday. Here are a few highlights from his session with the media:

  • McCarthy echoed the thoughts of Mike Tomlin from early Monday in saying he wants the Packers to enjoy the experience of playing in a Super Bowl: “We don’t want to take away this experience. I told them to be very realistic, be practical. Enjoy it, it’s unique, an opportunity to be in front of the media every day. It will be a great experience for our players and our coaches. But at the end of the day, this is about beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
  • When asked how he would keep hammering home the point to his team that they’re preparing for a football game despite the hype surrounding a Super Bowl, McCarthy had this to say: “Just don’t look into the lights. That will probably help you.”
  • McCarthy drew a few laughs when responding to a question about his summer job as a toll-booth collector between graduating from Fort Hays State University and his first coaching job at the University of Pittsburgh:  “I know a lot has been made about it. I don’t want to disrespect the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I did my job and I studied while I was there when there were no cars coming through the booth. It was a good experience. I always felt that was the normal way; you have summer jobs, you do those types of things, and I’m glad I took the path that I did as far as a young man back then being exposed to those types of things.” 
  • After a vote by the team’s six playoff captains, McCarthy said QB Aaron Rodgers will lead the team in prayer and Charles Woodson will be the last one to speak to the team in the locker room: “It’s worked out very well. It’s something I think has definitely worked. It’s an opportunity for our leaders to step to the forefront and I’ve watched them two grow, particularly this last month as leaders, and our football team has responded in a very favorable way.”
  • The Packers arrived “as late as possible” in North Texas in an effort to maximize the team’s preparation time in Green Bay, according to McCarthy. He said 90 percent of the team’s game plan has been installed.
  • If there’s any question about McCarthy’s focus this week, here’s what he had to say about this being the first Super Bowl he’s attended:  “I just always waited until this moment, and I’m glad I did. … I’m going to do as little as I possibly can to enjoy myself.”
  • McCarthy doesn’t see the Steelers’ sizable advantage in Super Bowl experience extending to the game on Sunday: “I don’t think it is going to be a factor. We’re really focused on keeping it between the lines. The advantage Pittsburgh has over us in my opinion is today through Saturday.”
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