After flirting with a perfect regular season and entering the playoffs as the NFC’s top seed, not many expected the Packers to drop out of the playoffs in the manner that they did.
Coming into the playoff matchup with the New York Giants, it felt as if the Packers were locked in towards winning the second of back-to-back titles and it was just a matter of playing out the games.
The crashing down caused significant heartache, disappointment, and regret of a missed opportunity. For many, those feelings have not subsided yet. After reading Albert Breer’s article for NFL.com, we can add head coach Mike McCarthy to that list of people.
In speaking with Breer, McCarthy admitted he wasn’t over the playoff loss and that “it’ll always bother [him].” McCarthy continued, “That’s the thing that kicks me around at night: Did I do the right thing the Giants week? Is there something I could’ve done differently with our team? That’s what you learn from.”
While McCarthy admitted the playoff loss still bothers him, Aaron Rodgers said he was able to move past that game. Graham Harrell begs to defer.
“He starts to get worked up,” Harrell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He starts mumbling under his breath whenever he sees stuff about how close we were. At times, he says, ‘God, we played so bad.’ It just eats at him.”
From the perspective of fans, it’s definitely a good thing that McCarthy and Rodgers are still upset about the loss. This Packers team is made up of guys who have dealt with rejection, being overlooked, or whatever the case maybe.
Just look at “America’s Game: 2010 Green Bay Packers” and the stories of Aaron Rodgers being overlooked, Clay Matthews having to fight as a walk-on at USC, and McCarthy paying his dues by slowly working his way up the coaching ranks. Add in Donald Driver’s experience growing up in poverty and being a seventh round draft pick. All these individuals used the painful experiences and memories as motivation, to fuel their fires and reach the top level.
Coming off the Super Bowl win in 2010, these individuals had to find new motivations. The majority of the year, it wasn’t a problem as the Packers cruised to 15 wins, one more win than they accumulated in 2010 during the regular season and playoffs.
Whether it was complacency or something else, the Packers came out with a distinct lack of fire against the Giants. While New York played like they were fighting for their lives, the Packers were flat and sloppy.
With the sting of defeat that was felt that night in January lingering still, the Packers have an opportunity to use that loss as motivation for the upcoming season. The Packers are unarguably one of the most talented teams in the NFL and have a great shot to compete for a Super Bowl this year and further down the road. The motivation must be proving that this group of Packers ins’t just a “fart in the wind,” but one of the best teams in the history of the game.
This Packers team is too good right now to be wasting opportunities and it is refreshing to see that that they know that. As hard as the loss was to stomach, it could be the spark that ignites a fire of desperation under the Packers.
Michael is a sports writer currently attending Seattle University. You can follow Michael on Twitter .