The Green Bay Packers head into Super Bowl Sunday as a narrow favorite, but not because of their defense. All the talk this week centers around Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s ability to bring Green Bay their first championship since 1996-97. Rodgers is riding a hot hand this postseason going into Super Bowl XLV. The Pittsburgh Steelers have always been a team that has thrived on their defensive reputation dating back to the “Steel Curtain” dynasty of the 1970’s. While Green Bay has made all the headlines as the first NFC six seed to make it to the Super Bowl, some may look past their defense.
Throughout all the injuries sustained this year for the Packers their defense has remained a brick wall. Green Bay has been lead by the efforts of Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson along with a plethora of role players. One of those roles players is A.J. Hawk. The former Ohio State linebacker is a valuable asset to the Packers defense this season piling up 111 total tackles with 72 of them being solo efforts along with 3 interceptions and 1 sack.
A.J. Hawk joined Joe & Evan on WFAN in New York to discuss how pumped he is to play in Super Bowl XLV this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is he enjoying the hoopla that is Super Bowl week in the media, comparing the hype of the Fiesta Bowl in college to the pinnacle that is the Super Bowl in the NFL, is he ready for an old-time defensive football game against the Steelers and what better way for the NFL season to come down to two teams that play such great defense for the Super Bowl title.
How pumped up are you to play in the Super Bowl XLV this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers?
“I’m definitely excited. It’s time for us to get to some practice here and do some work. Today will be our first day on the field, just taking care of all our obligations from before and this afternoon we’ll get on the field and get to play some football, so I’m real excited. Sunday can’t get here quick enough for me.”
Are you enjoying the hoopla that is Super Bowl week in the media?
“Yeah I mean I think you kind of have to. I talked to some guys who have been here before and they said it’s going to be crazy. There’s going to be a lot of stuff you have to deal with. Just try to enjoy it. Don’t try to fight it. I’m just going with it and rolling with it. Just you know trying to figure out the best way to go about it. It’s been fun so far.”
You were so successful in college at Ohio State. How would you compare the hype of the Fiesta Bowl as compared to the hype leading into the Super Bowl? Did it prepare you for the ultimate game in the NFL that is the Super Bowl?
“Yeah maybe a little bit. My freshmen year at Ohio State we won the National Championship. I was able to be a part of that and it [Fiesta Bowl] can prepare you for it [Super Bowl] a little bit, but I would say this is like a National Championship times one-thousand. It’s so much bigger. The hype surrounding it. Everything going on with it is a lot, a lot, a lot, bigger deal I guess you would say. I’m really lucky and honored to be a part of it. You can’t just be happy to get here. We came here to win the game.”
Are you ready for an old-time football game where the Steelers are going to run it a lot to keep the Packers offense off the field as much as possible?
“Yeah that’s what…I much rather do that then play a team that’s going to try to throw sixty times a game. I think that’s how football should be and I think on the biggest stage it should be. For us a physical, down-hill type game. As a linebacker I welcome that challenge. That’s how football is meant to be played, so I’m excited.”
Pittsburgh’s defense gets talked about, but you have some defense there in Green Bay. You guys have carried the team in the playoffs besides the Atlanta game. What better way for two great Super Bowl defenses to face off huh?
“Yeah I mean were ugh…you know what better way than too. I guess their defense is ranked one in scoring and we’re two, so I think it’s a good testament to show you that defense really does win championships. Whichever defense plays better Sunday I’m guessing is going to win Sunday.”