Packers coach Mike McCarthy calls Pittsburgh trip a 'special opportunity'
GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy plans to take advantage of the Green Bay Packers' short flight to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
McCarthy returns to his hometown this weekend when the Packers travel to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Sunday night game. The Packers' 12th-year coach said the short flight to Pittsburgh opened some time to see his family Saturday night, and possibly grab dinner together.
“Any time you get to see your family for a little while the night before the game,” McCarthy said, “it’s a special opportunity.”
McCarthy did not reveal how many family members he’ll have in the stands at Heinz Field, but said ticket requests were handled long ago.
It will be the first time McCarthy has coached a regular-season game in Pittsburgh since 2009, when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found receiver Mike Wallace for a 19-yard touchdown on the game’s final play, handing the Packers a 37-36 loss. The Packers also played an exhibition in Pittsburgh before the 2015 season.
Of course, their most notable matchup was the Packers' 31-25 win over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
The Packers are facing very different circumstances now with a 5-5 record, trying to keep their season alive without two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy said his return home is special, but hasn’t overshadowed the importance of winning.
“We all understand what this trip and this game means,” McCarthy said. “We need to be 6-5 when we get on that plane ride coming back home. That’s ultimately the focus. But yeah, definitely, I love Pittsburgh, and it’s good to go back there and see your family and compete against the Steelers.”
At least one player noticed this is a special week for McCarthy.
Receiver Davante Adams said McCarthy addressed the team this week about the tradition and history shared between the Packers and Steelers. He also watched clips from Super Bowl XLV.
“You can tell that it means a little bit more to him,” Adams said. “Our job is to make sure we do everything we can so we can be on the right side of this one.”