Q. Has it sunk in yet? CHAD CLIFTON: Yeah, it kind of has. Everybody’s just obviously really excited about this opportunity. That’s the reason you play the game, to get to the Super Bowl. So everyone is really, really excited.
Q. You guys are the fourth team in the Wild Card era to win three road games in a row to get here. How hard was that and why were you able to do it?
CHAD CLIFTON: That’s difficult going on the road and playing in someone else’s stadium in front of their fans. I think it just speaks volumes about the team that we have here though that we’re able to do that through the course of the season with the injuries and the guys able to step up and make plays and play well. It speaks volumes.
Q. Can you go back to that Buffalo game. Did you envision getting to this point?
CHAD CLIFTON: Yeah, just speaking personally, the Buffalo game was kind of a low point for me for this season just with the knee injury. But, hey, I was able to bounce back from that and come in and play some good football and so was the team.
Q. What have you guys done today or from the time you get to the facility, what is the schedule?
CHAD CLIFTON: Just administrative stuff today, team hotel down there and that sort of thing. So real loose, just trying to get our bodies back and then we’ll start getting on it to Pittsburgh later on in the week.
Q. What has the last week been like?
CHAD CLIFTON: Come in Wednesday, start studying the tape, breaking down film, then kind of getting our bodies back. Then later in the week we’ll start practicing.
Q. What do you know about Pittsburgh’s defense?
CHAD CLIFTON: They’re obviously a great defense. Playing them last year, a little bit familiar with them. But, yeah, phenomenal defense. I would say that is the strength of their team. No. 7 on the offensive side, he makes some plays for them too, but it’s a really stout defense.
Q. Are they more physical than maybe some defenses in your conference are?
CHAD CLIFTON: Well, they’re definitely a physical defense, no question about it. Are they more physical than say Chicago? I don’t know about that. Chicago’s got a pretty stout defense as well. But no, they’ve got an outstanding defense, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.
Q. How’s your neck today? How challenging was it to play?
CHAD CLIFTON: It’s pretty sore today. It’s a little stiff. But it’s something that I’ve played with before. Stingers are pretty common in the league. So just fortunate that I was able to come back and play.
Q. Donald talked about finally playing for the Super Bowl. Kind of the same feeling?
CHAD CLIFTON: Oh yeah, absolutely. This is my 11th season, finally getting to the Super Bowl, getting down to Dallas. That is the reason each and every one of us play the game to get to the Super Bowl and have a chance to win the Super Bowl ring and win the Lombardi Trophy. So, yeah, just extremely thrilled right now.
Q. Have you ever had any thought that’s it might not happen?
CHAD CLIFTON: Well, there’s been a lot of very good players that played in this league and haven’t made it to a Super Bowl or won one. So I feel really fortunate that we’re going. We’ve got an extremely tough team to play, and we’ll see what happens.
Q. Can you talk more about 10-plus years, Jason Taylor of the Jets has played for years, and they haven’t been to the Super Bowl. As a veteran, when the game is decided and final on Sunday, can you take me through what that emotion is like, knowing that you’ve gone so long through the ups and downs throughout your career and with this franchise that you’re getting this opportunity?
CHAD CLIFTON: Yes, you try not to take anything for granted. Like I’ve stated previously there’s been a lot of guys, Jason Taylor being one, that’s never made it a the Super Bowl. So you don’t take these things for granted.
We’re fortunate. We’ve played well this year through a lot of adversity, and towards the end of the season we’re playing great football, so that’s where we’re going.
Q. How are your knees at this point?
CHAD CLIFTON: They feel good. They really do. Night and day compared to the beginning of the season.
Q. We saw the retirement press conferences. Is there any chance at all that you’d hang it up if you won the Super Bowl?
CHAD CLIFTON: No, I don’t believe so.
Q. How much confidence is this offense playing with right now? You’ve been on some pretty talented offenses over the years. Where’s this one right now?
CHAD CLIFTON: I think as a whole we’re playing pretty well. Obviously yesterday in the second half of the football game we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. But you look at No. 12 and what he’s able to do through the course of the playoffs and even before, he’s playing unbelievable football, being productive and running the ball as well.
So with the talent we have at the receiver position, and the way we’re running the ball, I think that’s a credit to us.
Q. Can you tell us how the running game has improved?
CHAD CLIFTON: Yeah, well, I think Starks has really come in and kind of sparked it a little. We’re blocking pretty well for him. He was able to yesterday he was able to get off some big chunks of yardage, and that just keeps the defense ‑‑ they can’t just pin their ears back and play the pass the whole time. So whenever you’re a more balanced team, that’s going to help.
Q. What adjectives would you use to describe Aaron Rodgers’ performances?
CHAD CLIFTON: Oh, man, I think just outstanding. Unbelievable. You look at that Atlanta game, which everybody has, and I think that’s the best I’ve seen a quarterback play. Just the plays he made with his arm and with his legs, he’s a special player.
Q. Were you at all surprised a bit at the way he handled the entire season and the preseason obviously with the whole Favre thing and being so diplomatic in handling all of that?
CHAD CLIFTON: What you see on TV is what you get. He’s a down-to-earth kid. He works his butt off, very competitive. So I’m not surprised with the way he handled it. He’s a professional.
Q. You said in the early part of your career you signed a long‑term contract. If you could just reflect on your career as a Packer and what it’s meant to be in this organization for your whole career?
CHAD CLIFTON: It’s a special place to play. Lambeau Field, the fans here in the state of Wisconsin, it reminds me a lot of a college-type atmosphere in the SEC with playing at Tennessee. The fans are die-hard. They’re loyal and same goes for Green Bay fans. It’s been a great place to play. I’ve been very fortunate to spend 11 years here.
Q. Do you know how many get-well cards you got from Tampa when you were in the hospital?
CHAD CLIFTON: We got a lot. I don’t know how many we got, but we definitely got a lot of cards and a lot of support.
Q. (What was the welcome like last night at the airport)?
CHAD CLIFTON: That was amazing, yeah. I don’t know the total number of people we had there, but it had to be between 3,000 and 4,000 people that were inside the airport cheering us on as we were walking through. That was awesome.
Q. How is Tauscher?
CHAD CLIFTON: Oh, Tausch is great. If you guys know Tausch, he’s always happy. It’s hard to get that guy down. He’s thrilled for the team that we’re going to the Super Bowl, we finally made it.
Q. You talked in the preseason about the Super Bowl and you were out there what what you expected. Is it fair to say you are maybe more surprised with the path you took to get there?
CHAD CLIFTON: You know, like I said previously with the injuries we had early in the season, maybe some people wrote us off. But again, I think that’s just a credit to the players we have in the locker room.
Guys stepped up and played and played well and put us in position to get us where we’re at today.
Q. Do you think you can physically take this week off?
CHAD CLIFTON: I feel like by Friday, I think that’s our first practice, I should be fine. I don’t foresee missing any practice time this week.