Start at the Top
The Steelers and Packers both enjoy consistent, long-tenured, and doting presidents. The Rooney family has owned/chaired the Steelers since 1933, while the community of Green Bay has defied the odds in small suburb, and is the only community-owned NFL franchise in NFL history.
Since 2008, the Rooney family has found investors to raise money and as a direct result has spent that money accordingly. In 2010, the Steeler’s payroll figure rose to $128 million (6th in the NFL), sadly only $2 million more than the Titans spent for their abysmal 6-10 season.
The Packers are more modest in their spending, finishing around $94 million (28th in the NFL). Still, when the Packers needed help in their secondary, Mark Murphy and Ted Thompson shelled out top dollar for Charles Woodson ($6.5 million in 2010). And when the Packers’ Greg Jennings rookie contract expired, Thompson and Murphy again delivered a $16 million dollar deal.
Risk and Reward
Of the 22 starters and 2 special team kickers Pittsburgh will field on Super Sunday night, 19 of the 24 were drafted or signed as free agents in their rookie seasons by the Steelers. The Packers drafted 20 of their 24 offensive, defensive, and special team starters. By comparison, the Titans only drafted 14 of their 24 starters and special team kickers. Draft well, develop better.
The Steelers and Packers also highly value veteran leadership, sometimes rewarding valuable veterans by extending their contracts later in their careers than the league average. Players like Hines Ward, Aaron Smith, and James Farrior will be playing in their 3rd Super Bowl for the Steelers. The Packers “out-depthed” a 16-man injured reserve list, with this strategy.
Although the Favre-saga proves the NFL practice of cutting ties to avoid messy divorces or serious declines in play, the Titans and Vince Young could have seriously benefited from retaining an aging Steve McNair to tutor and prepare for the future. You know, like Brett Favre did for that kid from California…
The days of high-powered defenses and mediocre passers are behind us. Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Tom Brady are the last 5 quarterbacks to win the coveted Lombardi Trophy, see a pattern? And although TitanSized.com readers prefer Aaron Rodgers to Ben Roethlisberger, both are top 5 QBs regardless of who you ask.
The Titans, like many franchises before them, are having a hard time replacing their last franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, Kerry Collins, Vince Young, Rusty Smith, or Chris Simms are never going to be that guy. And it is important to note that in the last 20 years, only 4 teams have won the Super Bowl with a quarterback they did not draft.
Secret to Success
There are obviously far more ingredients than these and it is always an interesting project to dissect the Super Bowl teams. The Titans and 29 other franchises can learn a lot from these two squads, their front offices, coaching staffs, and players. What do you think the Steelers and Packers do that separates them from teams like the Titans?