Super question: Is Packers’ best-ever team around the corner?

Memories of some football seasons age like wine; others age like milk. In the NFL, there is an extra week to consider them all.

The idle week before Super Bowl Sunday gives both teams time to rest their aches and pains, while giving network staff more time to sell ad spots. The event, which in its infancy struggled for sponsors, is today’s reigning champion of advertising extravagance.

Players are required to appear at the Super Bowl press day, to better familiarize them to the viewing public and generate even more human-level interest in the game – although the outcomes there are so-so. The media appreciate the access, no doubt. But judging from the vapid replies given by some players during these interviews, you almost get the impression that they are only there so they won’t get fined.

An extra week of preparation also spawns a bundle of Super Bowl-related feature stories from various outlets, where nostalgic hooks and what-if musings turn up often throughout the waiting.

ESPN took one such shot, ranking the individual performances of all of the Super Bowl MVPs. Not surprisingly, Tom Brady of New England came in at No. 1, thanks to the Patriots’ coming from 25 points down to win last year – the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. For his part in leading the Green Bay Packers to the crown seven seasons ago, Aaron Rodgers was ranked No. 14.

One of the more enterprising features appeared in Sports Illustrated magazine, which rated each franchise’s best Super Bowl-era team that did not win the big game that year.

Eyebrows of Packers fans may have risen in unison when their best team listed in the story was the group from 2007.

That team finished 13-3 and won the NFC North Division by five games, but lost in the conference title game. With a few breaks here and there, the story read, that Packers club could have finished 15-1.

This ignored the 2011 team that actually did finish 15-1, averaging a massive 35 points a game and having their way with opposing defenses all year.

(It can be noted that if the story centered on each non-winning team’s best chance to win a Super Bowl, irrespective of talent on the roster, the Packers of three years ago wins going away.)

There may be disagreement about whether the 2007 Packers were better than their 2011 team, but there is no question that both of those clubs just ran into the hotter team in the playoffs, which both times happened to be the New York Giants.

Retrospectives, as they apply to now, are equal parts fun and useless. For the Packers, however, a look back at the ’07 and ’11 seasons was instructive in its coinciding with a couple of recent hires.

New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine comes on board with a good track record. He was 10-22 as a head coach in 2014 and ‘15, but those seasons were with the Cleveland Browns — who, since his departure, are on pace to win their 10th game sometime around 2035.

Of more relevant note to Packers fans is Pettine’s teams’ record in defending the pass. In six of his seven seasons as a coach or defensive coordinator, his teams finished in the top-eight in fewest passing yards allowed.

Hopefully the trend will continue. Maybe even more encouraging than getting Pettine was the hiring of Joe Philbin as offensive coordinator. Philbin was the Packers’ OC from 2007-2011 before taking the head coaching job with the Dolphins.

When Philbin came on as the Packers’ offensive coordinator, they jumped from 22nd in the league in scoring to fourth. The Packers also finished fifth, third and first during Philbin’s days in Green Bay. Their worst ranking in points scored during that time was 10th in the league. That was in 2010, the year they won Super Bowl XLV.

That sort of drop in production, the Packers could probably live with.

Veteran sportswriter Gary Seymour’s column appears weekly in the Leader. He can be contacted at sports@wolfrivermedia.com.