GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Aaron Rodgers has seen first hand how Packers fans can take over opposing stadiums, and he expects the same come Sunday in Los Angeles when they face the Chargers.
“They’re expecting 3/4 green and gold, so that would be nice. I’m sure it’s tough for the home team as they wait for the stadium to be built, and have those home games be more like a road game when a team like Green Bay comes to town.”
“We played in QualCom back in 2011 and we were up 45-38 late in the game. I remember Phil [Phillip Rivers] was having to go silent count because our fans were so loud. I remember walking on the field in pregame and heard this absolute roar coming from my left, and I couldn’t believe the noise from the Packer fans. Our fans obviously travel really well. I’ve filmed a couple of commercials in that stadium. It’s obviously small for an NFL stadium, big for a soccer stadium, a really nice environment. There shouldn’t be any bad seats in the house.”
The Packers are at the midway point of the season and their record of 7-1 has only been matched or exceeded twice since the Lombardi era.
In 2011, Green Bay went 13-0 before losing their first game en route to a 15-1 record. And in 1996 when they started 8-1, they finished the regular season 13-3 with an eventual victory in Super Bowl XXI.
Rodgers cites several reasons for this year’s success but the bottom line is that it’s truly been a team effort.
“This doesn’t come around all the time and we’re fortunate to be 7-1, and guys like myself that have been around a long time, we realize how special this opportunity is,” says Rodgers. “We’re savoring it. We’re keeping the guys focused and not complacent and excited about the opportunities and we’ll let all the cliché’s and stuff like that sort themselves out, but we realize how special this is right now.
It has become crystal clear that there has been a major culture change ever since Matt LaFleur was hired as the team’s 15th head coach in franchise history. And one of the biggest differences from the previous two losing seasons, is the weekly approach by everyone in the building.
Rodgers added, “I think the mentality can change for sure. It can go from ‘hey here we go again’ mindset to ‘hey we’re going to find a way’ mindset. I think that’s what we’re starting to develop. You know the comfort with winning, an understanding of what it takes and Matt talks a lot about not blinking in the face of adversity. And pushing through tough situations. And that’s what we’ve done really well so far, is deal with those adverse moments and respond consistently and I think the mindset for the guys is a very confident one.”
The former MVP credits all three phases of the team for their success so far and the ability to finish off opponents late in the game has been one of the major keys in earning the second-best record in the NFL after eight weeks in the season.
“I think we are just learning how to win in different ways, and dealing with adversity a little bit better. I think we’ve definitely finished as an offense. A lot better than in years past, especially on the road. When you think about all three of those road wins, we had close-out drives.”
“In the Chicago game and in Dallas, and the other night we’re backed up on the 2-yard line, that’s winning football. That we just didn’t do a whole lot of last year. Timely stops on defense coming when the momentum is starting to swing, or it’s kind of evening it up,” stated Rodgers. “We just didn’t have those big momentum plays to close out the games last year, as well as we have so far. I think we’ve definitely found different recipes to victory every week. I think the staples are there though, when you we’ve pushed through adversity, we’ve closed out games and all sides of the ball. You know we’ve had some really important special teams plays, whether it’s a kick by Mason [Crosby] or a punt by JK [Scott], which have loomed large. And that’s the fun part, we’re not just having to put up 40 [points] every week and make it work on offense. We’ve won games on defense. We’ve won games with good special teams play, and we’re gaining confidence every week.”