New England claimed Super Bowl XLIX with a 28-24 victory over Seattle on Sunday. Vikings.com will take a glance this week at the offseason moves an in-season factors that preceded the past five champions' path to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Super Bowl XLV
Packers 31, Steelers 25
Feb. 6, 2011, Arlington, Texas
2010 Packers regular season record: 10-6, Second in NFC North
Season before: 11-5, lost in the Wild Card round
Season after: 15-1, suffered an upset loss in Divisional Round
Coaching: Mike McCarthy was in his fifth season in charge of the Packers in 2010, Joe Philbin was in his fourth as Green Bay's offensive coordinator, and Dom Capers was in his second season as defensive coordinator.
2010 draft picks [round, (overall), position]:
1 (23) T Bryan Bulaga
2 (56) DE Mike Neal
3 (71) DB Morgan Burnett
5 (154) TE Andrew Quarless
5 (169) G Marshall Newhouse
6 (193) RB James Starks
7 (230) DE C.J. Wilson
Notable undrafted free agents:
Frank Zombo, Sam Shields (both played in the Super Bowl; Zombo started and tallied a sack)
Added through free agency:
Punter Tim Masthay
Offense Returned: Aaron Rodgers was in his third season as starting QB, and benefitted from the return of receiving targets Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, as well as Jordy Nelson elevating his play in the playoffs. Rodgers also benefitted from the return of all five starters on the offensive line (Bulaga replaced Mark Tauscher at right tackle in the fifth game). All four others on the line started all 16.
Offense overcame: Season-ending injury to Ryan Grant by mounting enough of a rush attack; Starks more than tripled his rush yards in the postseason over the regular season.
Defense returned: talent on the line (Ryan Pickett), at linebacker (Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk) and in the secondary (Charles Woodson). The Packers improved points allowed from 297 in 2009 to 240 in 2010.
Defense overcame: The suspension of defensive lineman Johnny Jolly by getting impactful help from B.J. Raji and the free agency departure of Aaron Kampman to Jacksonville.
Defining theme during 2010 offseason: maintaining offensive continuity. The Packers returned so many players key to their passing attack and to protecting Rodgers that Green Bay was able to handle the loss of Grant.