Words cannot express my emotions at the end of the NFC North Championship game, where the Green Bay Packers all but gift-wrapped the victory for the Seattle Seahawks in the final minutes. One momentum play after another, one bad bounce after another, and the domino effect of mistakes took their toll. Still, I couldn’t love this team any more than I do right now.
This one definitely hurts, but even we fans probably don’t feel the pain the players and coaches are feeling today. My mind raced last night with all of the “what-ifs,” and I didn’t even play the game. I didn’t put over six months of sweat, blood, and devotion to playing professional football at one of the highest levels we’ve seen lately. How bad do these players want to have back those chances, those moments, those opportunities?
I have my criticisms like everyone else, but right now, I’m not going to let them consume me. I’m not going to let them take away what an unbelievable season this was.
And really, I’m not going to let them take away the guts this Packers team showed during the game. Yes, they lost in excruciating fashion, but for a team that was a big underdog and not given an ice cube’s chance in hell by the media pundits, I was so proud of their performance. They dominated the entire first half of that game. They stole five possessions away from the Seahawks. They punched that team in the mouth and made them look vulnerable in all three phases.
This 2014 Green Bay Packers team is a Super Bowl team to me. They missed the big game, but they showed that they had what it takes.
That’s also why this game was so devastating, though. Their plane tickets to Arizona were all but printed. We can go through and look at every play that changed the ending, but where does it lead us? What do you make of a game where Brad Jones forces a fumble and never gets a penalty? Or where Ha Ha Clinton-Dix makes two fantastic interceptions but lets by a floater for the 2-pt. conversion? Or where Russell Wilson’s first good throw of the game was the only one that mattered? Or where Mason Crosby makes all five of his field goals and the team still loses?
Pardon my language, but s–t happens. And sometimes it happens to good teams, to good players, to good people. I can complain and I can criticize, but I can’t stop loving my Green Bay Packers.
In the end, this season was phenomenal. I had a lot of fun watching this team play, through both the ups and downs. (Really, isn’t that what it’s all about?) That said, I’ll close with why I have a lot of hope for the future:
- Home Playoff Monkey Gone – Sure, the playoff blues continue for Green Bay, but at least they got one monkey off their back. They showed that they can win at Lambeau again in the postseason. And really, how can you be that angry at a team for reaching a round that 28 other teams have to watch from home? This is the best season they’ve had since 2010. By far.
- Aaron Rodgers – People say we’re wasting his best years, but then I look at Tom Brady and laugh at them. Rodgers is the one person that makes this team a perennial contender, and he will continue to play great for a while. There are a lot of legendary quarterbacks with only one ring . . . and some with none.
- Offensive Line – Wow. That unit dominated every game they played the second half of this season. They will continue to do great things in the coming years, because I only see them getting better.
- Wide Receivers – Cobb will be back, count on it. He and Nelson will keep this unit great for a while. Throw in the rising Davante Adams who should make a jump in production next year, the hopeful Jared Abbrederis, and the wild card Jeff Janis, and we could see a Big Five offensive set that makes defenses sweat.
- Richard Rodgers – We’ve been looking for a tight end since Jermichael Finley’s fall, and Rodgers could be the one. If he builds on what he did this season, he could be a deadly force in the middle of the field next year.
- Solid Safeties – We have playmakers again! Burnett and Clinton-Dix have become a great tandem in the secondary. They complement each other like peanut butter and jelly. Clinton-Dix’s ability to play the high cover safety has allowed Burnett to shine against the running game. Good things are ahead for these two.
Go Pack Go! We are Cheeseheads for life.——————Follow @ChadToporski