Rodgers: ‘This is what I’ve been dreaming about’

NFL Network’s Michael Irvin sat down with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to discuss his journey to Super Bowl XLV and how he has balanced the pressures and expectations that come with replacing a legendary quarterback for a legendary franchise.

On how nervous he is about his first moment on the field for Super Bowl XLV:
“I’m not overly concerned right now, but that’s just talk.  I think once we get into it, obviously there’s going to a lot of emotion, a lot of nerves — that’s why I’m hoping we defer so the defense can go out there first, so I can kind of relax a little bit.”

On how he feels about being in the Super Bowl:
“I’m ready. This is what I’ve been dreaming about since I was Joe Montana in my backyard, throwing to my brother who was John Taylor or Jerry Rice.  I know this is a big game, but I’m just going to try and enjoy it as much as I can.”

On his NFL career:
“The journey has been the sweetest part.  It’s been a lot of character-building along the way.  The best day of my life, the day I got drafted by the Packers, was also one of the toughest days to wait that long, but you realize that things happen for a reason.”

On the wisdom that Brett Favre imparted on him in their time at Green Bay:
“That was a valuable time, it really was.  I really learned a lot about practice habits from him, and I think you realize as a young player that a lot of the time, the practice goes as the top player or top leader goes.  Practice time is so vital to the success of the team, so he would everyday bring energy and enthusiasm, and I learned a lot of important lessons like that.”

On whether he thinks winning a ring would end the Brett Favre questions and comparisons:
“No, I don’t.  I think it’s going to be part of my career as long as I’m fortunate enough to play in Green Bay.  I enjoy any comparison and any opportunity to be mentioned with him — he’s going to be a Hall of Famer, and my career is tied to him as the guy who followed him.  We’re forever going to be linked.”

On the leadership necessary to win three road games for a spot in the Super Bowl:
“The way our season went — I got hurt, I missed a game, we’re 8-6, we had to win our last two just to get in — we went through a lot of adversity.  For me, it’s just been trying to be consistent as a leader, and show the guys that I’m going to be consistent with my preparation and the way I practice and the way I lead.”

On whether he expects the team to be able to run against a tough Steelers defense:
“I hope so, I really do.  I think it’s going to be important for us to have some sort of balance because their front seven is as good as any in the league.”

On whether it puts more pressure on him if the running game doesn’t work:
“Bring it on, baby.  Every quarterback wants the ball in their hands, especially in crunch time.”

On whether, as quarterback, he’s worried about the Pittsburgh defense:
“I like the guys that I line up with every week and I’m confident that we’re going to have a game plan that’s going to be able to give us the opportunities to be effective.  As a quarterback, you want the ball in your hand and you want to be able to make plays on the biggest stage — and here we are.”

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