CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Packers don't have stars, just a spot in Super Bowl

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DALLAS -- Isn't it funny in a city with an NFL team that has a star on the side of its helmets, and an NHL team with the nickname Stars, we have a team devoid of stars playing in a Super Bowl?

Where are the Green Bay Packers' stars?

You look up and down the roster and search in hopes of finding one.

I'll give you Aaron Rodgers -- sort of.

Charles Woodson? OK, but his best football is behind him.

Clay Matthews? Getting there.

Where are the stars?

Greg Jennings? Nice receiver. Not a star.

B.J. Raji? Not yet.

Tramon Williams? One year doesn't make a star.

Get the picture?

As the Packers showed up for their first media session here Monday night in preparation for Super Bowl XLV, a session usually reserved for the top-level players, it became even more apparent that this team lacks star power.

It is a testament to the resiliency of a group of players and coach Mike McCarthy that they are here, and it certainly backs up the notion that they are a young team building to something, but Super Bowls are places we come expecting star power.

We want guys named Hollywood and offensive glamour-boys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Emmitt and The Bus.

The Packers don't give us that. Not yet, anyway.

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I asked Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk if he or the team thinks the idea that this is a star-deprived team is an insult.

"I don't know if I take insult to it," Hawk said. "I don't know what our image is nationally, as far as the guys we have. But I find that hard to believe. That's all right if they do think that. I don't think we'd ever be insulted by that. We're here. We have a chance to win it all. That's all we can ask for."

Hawk made those comments Monday night as one of the players the Packers made available to the media. He is far from a star, but rather a good, hard-working player.

That's what this Packers team is all about. Rodgers, if he wins, will be elevated to the star level. If he loses, there will be a debate.

Maybe part of the reason this is a team perceived as having a lack of stars is because it has only two players who have played in a Super Bowl. It is also a young team with an average age of 27.

This is a team in the formative stages, and with Rodgers leading them the Packers should contend for Super Bowls for a while.

That means that stars might be made Sunday.

For now, they're a blue-collar group that has overcome a ton. The Packers lost 91 games to injury from projected starters. They lost running back Ryan Grant, tight end Jermichael Finley and linebacker Nick Barnett, all key players, for the season with injuries. Finley looked early on like he might have that star potential, but it's hard to show it off when you're not on the field.

Credit McCarthy for keeping the Packers moving forward, despite all the injuries. McCarthy seemed like a proud new father when he spoke about his team's resiliency after the Packers beat Chicago to reach the Super Bowl.

"Really, the way that our season went -- the trials and tribulations that we encountered, to me, that was how we were shaped," McCarthy said. "I think it's made us a better football team. It's challenged our character. I think we've really grown through it."

Charles Woodson is one of two Packers with Super Bowl experience. (Getty Images)  
Charles Woodson is one of two Packers with Super Bowl experience. (Getty Images)  
That ability to stay together as a team is how they were able to win five consecutive elimination games to get here, including three road playoff games.

That teamwork is what the Packers are all about.

"I think the thing we look at is there are no individuals on our team," Packers receiver Donald Driver said. "The accolades come when you're playing well. When it's all said and done, if you're playing as a team, the individual goals don't matter. You'll accomplish those on your own. We don't look at being individuals. One individual person can't win a Super Bowl. You win a Super Bowl as a team. And right now we're united as one."

That's coach-speak. And it sells inside the locker room.

But fans want stars. If you lined up the Packers players, aside from Rodgers and Matthews because of his flowing blonde locks, most fans outside of Wisconsin couldn't pick the Packers out of lineup.

The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger. And Hines Ward. And Troy Polamalu. Even coach Mike Tomlin looks like a star, actor Omar Epps.

McCarthy? He looks like your next-door neighbor.

Where are the stars?

By midnight Sunday, we might have our answer. But right now, it sure is hard to find any wearing Packers green and gold.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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