Packers enjoy Pro Bowl but still wonder what might have been

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- When Packers coach Mike McCarthy left frigid Green Bay, the temperature was in the single digits. When he landed in Honolulu, it was a balmy 80 degrees.

The Green Bay Packers are thawing out in the islands, relishing every minute of their Pro Bowl experience. They would gladly trade in their floral leis, beach chairs and mai tais, however, to be preparing for Super Bowl XLVI.

"Just like every team in the NFL, there's only one team that's going to be satisfied when the season is completed. We won't be that team this year," said McCarthy, who is coaching the NFC squad for Sunday's game.

As a reflection of their stunning season, the Packers have six players in the Pro Bowl -- second only to the seven members of the San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay sailed through the regular season with a 15-1 record before coming apart at home in a 37-20 loss to the New York Giants in the NFC divisional playoffs.

"I'm not one to publically display the disappointment, but I am personally disappointed the season didn't go as we had planned," McCarthy said. "Give credit to the teams that are in the Super Bowl. It's just another reminder of how difficult it is to get there and even more so to win it.

When asked what the Packers needed to improve on, cornerback Charles Woodson didn't hesitate to answer: "Personnel."

Woodson, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, keeps replaying the playoff loss in his mind, including Eli Manning's desperation Hail Mary touchdown pass to a leaping Hakeem Nicks as time expired in the first half.

"If you watch that game, my feeling is that they just wanted it more than we did," Woodson said. "I think about one play, and I think about that Hail Mary. I go over it in my head and see the clips on ESPN and different sports shows and see the lack of effort from our team to get that ball intercepted or knock it down."

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, making his first trip to Hawaii, said he hasn't had time to look back at what the team was able to accomplish, nor to reflect on a season in which he passed for 4,463 yards with 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His quarterback rating of 122.5 set an NFL record.

"I think that's going to happen once I leave here and the offseason really starts, it'll be time to reflect on that," he said.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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