The first thing Scott Wells remembers about that Super Bowl 10 years ago is how cold it was the week before the game.
“We were in the middle of an ice storm in Dallas, which is unusual,” Wells said. “But I lived in Dallas for six years as a kid and I don’t know how many ice storms I was in. That was unique to the experience.”
Wells played center for Green Bay back then, but now he coaches the offensive line and wrestling at his alma mater, Brentwood Academy.
Super Bowls are typically played in warm-weather cities, but snow canceled more than 300 flights at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, creating problems for fans trying to get to the game.
Six people were injured by ice that fell from the roof of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium.
“Anytime you go to one and win you have great memories,” Wells said. “For me personally growing up a Cowboys fans, being born in Texas, and playing in their stadium was great.”
Green Bay beat Pittsburgh 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV, a showdown between two franchises with rich traditions.
The Packers had won 12 NFL Championships (nine league titles, three Super Bowls.) The Steelers boasted a record six Super Bowl victories.
“For me personally, it couldn’t have gotten much better,” Wells said. “The environment was perfect, the opponent was perfect and the franchise I represented was perfect.”
Wells believes the winter weather helped the Packers, who spent most of their time within walking distance of the practice facility in a Dallas suburb with few distractions as they avoided the icy roads.
Winning the Super Bowl was the top moment in his 11-year career although getting drafted and his first start were also memorable moments.
Green Bay drafted him in the seventh round in 2004 out of Tennessee and he made his first start in the 14th game of his rookie season in a win over Detroit at Lambeau Field.
“But as a professional, you’re all chasing the ring, you’re all chasing the Lombardi Trophy,” Wells said. “I’ve talked to other people that have won it and anytime you achieve that, the funny thing is it makes you want it even more.”
That made the following year extra disappointing when the Packers went 15-1 during the regular season, only to lose to the New York Giants 37-20 in the divisional playoffs.
“That made me really appreciate winning it the previous year and how difficult it is to do it,” Wells said.
Wells also lived 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh for six years, so he appreciated how devout the Steelers fans were in addition to loyal Packers fans.
Hampered by several early-season injuries, Green Bay became the first six seed from the NFC to win the Super Bowl.
They never trailed by more than seven points in any game and won three road playoff games in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago.
“We did not lose a game by more than four points that year and that included a loss at New England when Matt Flynn was our starting quarterback,” Wells said. “We were close all year and we lost a couple games in overtime. We had to win the last two regular-season games just to get in (the playoffs).”
A near-record crowd of 103,219 attended the Super Bowl in 2011, way more than the pandemic-restricted 22,000 that will be allowed in this year’s Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
Green Bay grabbed a 21-3 lead late in the first half, but Pittsburgh narrowed the deficit to 28-25 midway through the fourth quarter.
Mason Crosby’s field goal with 2:07 left ended the scoring as the Packers held on to win their fourth Super Bowl.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, in his third year as the starter, was named MVP after passing for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
He appears to be the MVP favorite for this season.
“If I had a vote, I’d vote for him for MVP and this year I think it’s tough because you have some good competition,” Wells said before Green Bay’s season-ending loss to Tampa Bay. “I think he’s head and shoulders above everyone else the way he’s playing.”
It’s hard to imagine a center who has snapped the ball to better quarterbacks than Wells. Early in his career it was Brett Favre, followed by Rodgers.
He also snapped to Rodgers when they were both backups early in their careers.
“Most guys don’t even get to snap for one Hall of Fame quarterback,” Wells said. “Absolutely, I was blessed to have that opportunity to play with both of those guys.”
The former center began watching Favre when Wells was in middle school and saw him still play at a high level when the three-time league MVP was the same age as some of the Packers coaches.
The most-asked question Wells gets: What are the differences and similarities between Favre and Rodgers?
“Brett is the old gunslinger,” Wells said. “He’d throw it up and let his receiver make a play and Aaron is a surgeon with that football. He puts it to where his guy catches it or nobody catches it and it was amazing to be part of both of their careers.”
Wells’ perspective changed between the two quarterbacks. He was fighting to keep his job early in his career with Favre and he was a little more established with Rodgers.
Wells played with another talented quarterback in St. Louis in Sam Bradford, whose career was plagued by knee injuries.
Wells remains in contact with his former teammates, including tackle Chad Clifton, whose kids attend Montgomery Bell Academy.
The former Packers talk on social media and 35 former Green Bay players will be on a Zoom call organized by the team in the coming weeks.
Wells’ character was tested during his rookie season in 2004 when the Packers waived him on Sept. 5 and signed him to the practice squad two days later.
“A lot of us, when we get cut, that’s the first time you’ve ever been told you’re not good enough,” Wells said. “Everybody in the NFL, most of them were stud athletes in high school and pretty good athletes in college or they wouldn’t get that far.”
There were two ways to go after that humbling experience.
“You either use it as motivation to continue to get better or you crawl in a hole and point fingers and say, “I’m better than they think I am,’ and you self-destruct that way,” Wells said.
Wells persevered, became a starter and played for Green Bay for eight seasons, capped by his first and only Pro Bowl appearance in 2011. He spent his last three seasons with the Rams, who were in St. Louis then.
The toughest players Wells ever played against?
“Pat Williams gave me fits early in my career – the nose tackle for the Minnesota Vikings,” Wells said. “He was big, he was quick, his football IQ was ridiculous. He always seemed to know where the ball was going.”
Chicago linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher were also difficult to block.
“Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are two of the best tandem linebackers, I think, that there’s been on a single team,” Wells said. “I know Urlacher got a lot of the hype and he was an outstanding player, but Lance Briggs – that dude could hit and over and over he never got tired.”
In wrestling, Wells went undefeated in the heavyweight division, winning two state titles during his junior and senior years at BA, but felt rusty after not doing it for so long when he started coaching.
“The wrestling team is very diverse in personalities so I have your typical athletes, a couple of robotics kids, guys that are into drama, singing and the fine arts,” Wells said. “My own son, (Jackson), I coach him and he’s an artist.”
Wells and his wife, Julie, have six children, ages 11-17, including three adopted kids from Uganda.
“My wife and I have always wanted a big family and we felt called by God to (adopt),” Wells said. “We had lost babies (stillborn) on Thanksgiving Day (2005) and all of the emotions that are involved with that.
“But we wanted more children. They’re just part of the family. There’s a lot of need in that part of the world for outreach and help. Obviously, we love the kids. It’s a blessing every day when I get to come home to them.”
BA coach Cody White said Wells has tremendous credibility with the football players.
“He has such ownership in the school because he’s a graduate,” White said. “Having experienced success in the football realm at the highest levels, the kids buy into what he’s saying. Scott was very successful in the NFL because of incredible technique and fundamentals at what he did so he does a really good job of being able to coach the little detailed things to allow them to have success.”
There’s still a starter from Brentwood on the Packers’ offensive line.
Former Brentwood standout Lucas Patrick became the starter at right guard after Lane Taylor was injured in the season opener.
“It’s a great honor that that young man played in our program, had a great career at Duke, met his wife at Duke and a guy who went from a tryout and now to have gotten (an NFL) contract, stuck in the league and to be a starter – that says so much about who he is and his family,” Brentwood coach Ron Crawford said. “It’s cool to see him on TV and know his story and root for that guy who’s overcome a lot of odds to get where he is.”
Patrick (6-3, 313 pounds) signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He was cut in September, signed with the practice squad and made the roster a year later.
“Guys that stick it out, aren’t afraid to fail, but believe in themselves it’s a great story about that kind of guy,” Crawford said. “He can play any of the three interior spots, they liked his (intelligence) and he’s incredibly tough.”
A Packers analyst has even coined a “You got Lucas’d” phrase for big hits.
Two Bills from Williamson County finished one win short of the Super Bowl after Buffalo’s loss to Kansas City on Sunday: tight end Dawson Knox (Brentwood Academy) and linebacker Tyrel Dodson (Centennial).