Like many of you who are reading this, I had to go out and shovel snow before the Packers game on Sunday night.
Notice how I said shovel. Not blow or push with a skid loader. Shovel.
I refuse to get a snow blower. I’m 31 years old. I’m more than capable of operating a shovel. I see way too many men under the age of 35 using snow blowers and skid loaders for snow removal these days. Further evidence of the downfall of society, I say.
A shovel is reliable. You don’t need to worry about it not starting after a blizzard.
A shovel is low maintenance. You don’t have to worry about filling it with gas, changing its oil or taking it in for a tune-up.
A shovel is inexpensive. You can pick up a good snow shovel for a couple bucks at just about any store.
A shovel is a great teaching tool. If you have kids, making them shovel snow builds character.
A shovel can be used as a weapon if someone attacks you, or if a Bears fan starts talking trash.
The Packers are a team of shovels right now. We all want them to be the latest fancy model of snow blower, but they’re not. And that’s just fine.
As I was shoveling over a foot of snow off my driveway on Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice a few of my neighbors and their snow blowers. Sure, they were exerting less energy and moving at a faster pace than I was, but I was earning the right to maneuver my car out of my garage without getting stuck.
I had to work harder for it, so I appreciated it more (at least, that’s what I was telling myself as my fingers went numb and my eyes started freezing shut).
The packers have shoveled their way into first place in the NFC North. With the exception of the Giants’ game, guys like Don Barclay, Brad Jones, Casey Hayward, Ryan Pickett, Mike Daniels, DuJuan Harris and Tom Crabtree have helped hold this injury-ravaged team together and put it in position to make a late-season run.
Even the high-profile snow-blower types of guys have put in shovel-like performance. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown for 300 yards since week seven. Randall Cobb hasn’t had 100 yards receiving since week six. Tramon Williams doesn’t have an interception since week two.
But the Packers keep winning. They’re making plays at the right time on offense and relying on a young and upstart secondary on defense. Special teams are also playing a role, despite Mason Crosby’s struggles.
It’s not exactly fun to watch someone shovel the driveway. You see a person with a red face caked with snow, huffing and puffing like they might have heart attack at any moment, and you’re not sure if you should call the paramedics, offer to help, or bring the person a beer.
Hopefully the snow-blower teams are thinking the same thing about the Packers. Hopefully they still see the high-scoring Packers of 2011 and underestimate this current group.
The guy with the shovel will always have a clear driveway. His shovel will always start and never break down. There’s no need to do a bunch of other stuff in order to get the shovel to work properly. It’s always going to work.
It might be tough to watch, it might be frustrating, it might even make you want to quit every now and then, but watching the Packers shovel their way to wins has been rewarding. In the long run, I think it’s making the Packers a better team.
Here’s hoping the Packers keep shoveling a path all the way to New Orleans.——————