By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 25, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Mike McCarthy's first Super Bowl will be special for obvious reasons, but the Packers' opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, make it even more memorable for the head coach.

McCarthy grew up in the Pittsburgh area and was a Steelers fan as the franchise dominated the NFL in the 1970s, winning four Super Bowls.

"We were the city of champions," McCarthy said. "(I've) got a lot of great memories as far as Pittsburgh goes particulary with sports.

When he was hired as head coach before the 2006 season, Thompson referred to McCarthy's "Pittsburgh macho" as one of the young coach's selling points.

"Pittsburgh is obviously a big part of who I am," McCarthy said. "My family's still back there."

The head coach's Steel City connections reach beyond blood relatives. Several members of his coaching staff have either played or coached for the Steelers.

Linebackers coach Kevin Greene played for Pittsburgh from 1993-1996. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers ran the Steelers defense from '92-'94 under head coach Bill Cowher, who also employed current Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements from '01-'03. Secondary coach Darren Perry played on the Steelers' Super Bowl championship squad in '95 and went on to coach the Pittsburgh secondary for four seasons.

Driver gets a title shot: Donald Driver slept very well Sunday night.

Why wouldn't he? The veteran wide reciever, a 12-year NFL veteran, was finally headed to the Super Bowl.

The Packers' all-time leader in 1,000-yard seasons, consecutive games with a reception, 50-catch seasons and career recieving yards. Already considered one of the franchise's all-time greats, none of his accomplishments mean as much as his first Super Bowl appearance.

"To me, it means everything," Driver said. "I think when you're playing in this league a long time, the ultimate goal is to get to the Super Bowl and then the ultimate goal after that is to win it.

"The biggest thing for me now is to put that ring on my finger and be part of my legacy that I've been to the Super Bowl and I've also won the Super Bowl."

Man of the hour: Sam Shields gets the credit for a pair of interceptions. B.J. Raji made "SportsCenter" with his pick-6 (and touchdown dance). Aaron Rodgers is, well, Aaron Rodgers. But if you're looking for a genuine MVP from the game Sunday, you have to give serious consideration to punter Tim Masthay.

Masthay had eight kicks against the Bears for an average of 41.8 yards (long of 65). Five of his kicks pinned the Bears inside their own 20-yard-line.

In addition, he was able to effectively keep the ball away from Chicago's dangerous return man, Devin Hester. With the Packers offense struggling after taking a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, Masthay's performance was indeed valuable.

In the postseason, Masthay averaged 33.9 net yards on his eight punts, with six landing inside the 20 and only one touchback (which was almost downed insde the one-yard line.

During the regular season, Masthay had a net average of 37.6 yards on 71 punts.

"He may be the most improved player on our team," McCarthy said. "If you want to look how the beginning of the season, just from a pure production standpoint."

Big audience: Viewship Sunday for the NFL's conference championships was the highest since the 1981 season.

An average of 53.4 million viewers were watching the two games Sunday, one of which featured the Packers defeating the Bears, 21-14, at Soldier Field. That broadcast, on FOX, attracted 51.9 million viewers.

The AFC Championship Game, broadcast by CBS, set a record with 54.8 million tuning in to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the New York Jets.

The 1981 championship games, played in January 1982, attracted an average of 60.2 million viewers, with 68.7 million watching the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Dallas Cowboys on CBS.

Going green: The NFC participant is considered the "home team" in the Super Bowl this year, so the Packers were given the choice of which jersey to wear. Despite winning three in a row while wearing their white uniforms, the Packers have chosen to wear their green tops with the traditional mustard yellow pants.

For the record, the Packers wore their green jerseys in Super Bowls I and XXI, winning both times. They wore the white jerseys in Super Bowl II, defeating Oakland and in the loss to Denver in Super Bowl XXXII.

Injury report: Chad Clifton missed much of the first half Sunday after suffering a neck stinger on the team's opening drive. Monday, he told reporters that he still felt sore but expects to be available for practice leading up to Super Bowl XLV ... Linebacker Erik Walden left the game Sunday with a sprained ankle. His status is unknown.

Practice schedule: The players will get Tuesday off and return to work Wednesday with film sessions. McCarthy said that the team will not hit the practice field until Friday.

Quick kicks: LB Clay Matthews was the only Packers player named to the Associated Press all-pro first team. CB Charles Woodson and S Nick Collins were named to the second team ... The Packers will leave for Dallas next Monday .. In addition to McCarthy and members of the coaching staff, running back John Kuhn also played for the Steelers, a member of the practice squad during the '05 season.