By now, you’ve all probably read everyone’s take on last night’s embarrassing showing by the NFL. I’m a bit late to the party but I have the benefit of some extra time to digest what took place and having read it all too. I don’t have it figured out, probably never will. But I do know that I feel very disappointed.
I’m not going to break down the numbers, re-hash the stats or talk about the “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. So what am I going to do? I’m just going to shoot straight from the hip. I’m going add this one to the list of disappointments in recent Packer history:
– The Terrell Owens TD catch in the end zone to beat the Pack during the 1998 season playoffs. A loss that ironically was affected by another bad call by a referee as an obvious Jerry Rice fumble was ruled down by contact. Back then there was no instant replay and the call stood. 9ers drove down and. . . .
– 1st playoff loss at Lambeau Field against the Atlanta Falcons (a dome team) during 2002 season playoffs
– 4th and 26 a year later
– The embarrassing playoff loss to the Vikings during the 2004 season playoffs
– The entire 2005 season
– The gut-wrenching NFCCG loss to the Giants during the 2007 playoffs that would be Brett Favre’s last game in a Packer uniform
-The 2008 offseason and eventual trade of Favre to the Jets and the drama that it brought with it
-Last year’s playoff loss, again to the Giants, after a 15-1 regular season
You’re probably all saying “well most of those are playoff games. Of course they’re disappointing!”. No, last night’s Packers vs. Seahawks matchup wasn’t a playoff game, but it sure felt like it, didn’t it? As I’m sitting here watching the replay of the game’s final play for about the 50th time and over 24 hours later, it feels as though the Packers lost much more than a single football game. Over the past day, not a single side bar on ESPN’s network is without at least one topic related to yesterday’s contest. When was the last time a regular season game, especially this early in the season, got this much play?
It still stings. It’s no more acceptable even with a full day having passed to process it and make sense of what we saw. There are at least 5 more days until the next game. That’s 120 hours of ESPN coverage (and that’s JUST ESPN) that will surely have some footage, interview or comment about this game coming right at us.
Long-time writer and Senior member of our team Adam Czech said it best when he said, “I’m pissed. . .”. I am too, I really am. But at some point, I have to move on and function. As a fan, I can’t carry this around forever and continue to cry “foul” at every turn and make excuses. At some point, I have to move on and focus on other things. Work, the weeds growing in the backyard, anything else!
As I need to move forward, so do the Packers. They have that game in 120 hours against the New Orleans Saints. It will take place Sunday in what is sure to be the not-so-friendly confines of Lambeau Field. Oh, Packer fans are amongst friends and most everyone is looking to have a good time and see the Packers win. Anyone who’s been to a game there can attest, it’s a great atmosphere. But this Sunday’s going to be different.
When the Saints lost in OT at home and dropped to 0-3 this past Sunday, I thought to myself, “this is the last type of Saints team I want coming into Lambeau to face the Packers.”. Sure, the Packers can and should win this game (I guess I just tipped my hand for the “Predictions” post) and that was my thought BEFORE last night’s game. Now, I see no way they don’t. As angry and hungry as the Saints can possibly be after a horrid start to their season, the Packers now hold the trump card.
If there was ANY silver lining to be found after last night’s loss, it’s this: You’re about to see a very tight, focused, possessed, angry, hungry, and PISSED OFF football team take the field this weekend. As soon as last night’s game ended, the Packers left the field to regroup and get the heck out of dodge. I don’t blame them. One problem: there was the PAT and by rule, it had to be attempted. Finally, the Pack’s FG block unit emerged and stood with their backs to the line of scrimmage to allow the final play. It was a sign of protest against their employers. Bold, but very much justified and likely leaving them feeling even more humiliated. But they handled it like they do much every situation: with class.
You see, that’s the Packer way. That’s what makes this team GREAT. Regardless of how much truth there is to the story about the “G” on the Packer helmets standing for “Greatness”, this is really and truly a GREAT franchise. The term “Packer way” and “Packer people” has stood the test of time. It’s understood as soon as it’s spoken and my friends, we should all be proud to support the classiest team in the league.
When Head Coach McCarthy took the podium last night after the smoke had cleared, he did so with the same candor that he always does. Firm but fair, he fulfilled his obligation to speak to the media who surely would have a question or two for him after what had just transpired moments prior. He calmly said he would not take any questions about the officiating and alas, not one question was uttered about it. That’s a man who garners respect. That’s the man I want leading this team. His infectious attitude emulates throughout the locker room and it’s why you rarely see Packer people shed in a bad light compared to some other teams.
Remember back in 2006 when the Packers were looking for a new Head Coach and many wanted Sean Payton? Remember when Payton’s Saints took out the Vikings and ol’ Brett to reach the Super Bowl and then beat Peyton Manning and the Colts to win it all? Several out there were still wondering what life would have been like had Ted Thompson given the job to Payton instead of McCarthy. 2 years, a Super Bowl championship, and a major, classless scandal later, how are you feeling about it?
Winning just feels good. It’s the ultimate rush and it’s all that some care about. Just ask Russell Wilson. Coach Vince Lombardi once said “If you can accept losing you can’t win. . “. Not everyone gets a trophy and it’s why there are sports. To soothe the competitive nature inside of us as humans. On the flip side, losing can send a man straight to therapy. It tears at his very being, his very soul. It makes him question himself and that’s tough to deal with.
That’s what we as fans are left to deal with. No, it’s not fair and it’s wrong. We like justice in America and someone should have to pay for this gross miscalculation. Judgment came today and it said “deal with it, Packer nation”. And so we shall. I urge you all to exercise what I call the “24 hour rule”. I give myself and others 24 hours to say what they want to say about the last game, win or lose. After that, it’s the following week and next game. Now I know that is asking a lot with 24-hour coverage of the travesty in our faces. It’s asking a lot given that this is being called by some, the biggest debacle in NFL history. But I’m still asking it of you, as Packer people.
It’s week 4. The Saints come marching in and are hoping to kick this Packer team while they’re down. Barring any interference by those individuals called referees, I don’t give the Saints much of a shot. It’s just a bad time to try to get right against a team that was just so very wronged. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that GREATNESS will prevail this coming Sunday. This team has the leaders and players to make it happen. Kevin Greene was overheard during Super Bowl XLV telling OLB Clay Matthews “It is time”. It IS time. Time to move on.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: