Or maybe bratwurst?
Anyway, as has now been logged for posterity on this fine website, last week I thought the Packers would go down 28-24 to the Giants and thus ending their 17 game winning streak dating back to last season. The final score was close (38-35) but the outcome was reverse as the Packers won in thrilling, last minute fashion.
Truthfully, I don’t think I have ever been happier to be wrong.
More importantly, I learned a very valuable lesson as I wipe egg off my face: I believe in the 2011 Green Bay Packers. The team had not been tested quite like this and the way Aaron Rodgers imposed his will on that final drive against a good but wounded Giants defense opened my eyes as wide as saucers.
I had a fair amount of doubts that this team could go the distance due to a leaky defense and with injuries affecting the linebacking position. I thought the law of averages would catch up with Rodgers and the offense would finally struggle.
Shame on me. In hindsight, I made the fatal mistake of underestimating Rodgers and he made me pay for it. I thought someday he could be stopped. Not anymore. This offense is a juggernaut and the man at the controls won’t yield to anyone, so pedestrians had better get the hell out of the way.
To be clear, I was never “off” the Packers bandwagon so please don’t view this as me jumping back onto it. I knew this team was great. I had the utmost confidence in Rodgers and company to deliver when the chips were down.
Perhaps I was a bit more hardened than I thought, seeing good-to-great Packers teams of the past flame out in big games and having the season go to waste. This had come to define the Mike Sherman era and though Mike McCarthy has a ring, it’s hard to kick the memories of those teams in the 2000s. I thought maybe we were seeing history repeat itself in the 21st century’s second decade.
Nope. Not with this team and especially not with this quarterback.
At a time when Rodgers was unbelievably facing criticism for his “lack” of fourth quarter comebacks (mainly one idiot who is on a network that starts with E and ends with SPN), the soon-to-be NFL MVP basically went “OK, watch this,” and ripped apart the Giants secondary so bad some probably crawled back crying to their mothers.
I’d be willing to bet there are other fans out there who, like me, had doubts creeping into their mind. This was the first time the Packers were truly tested in the two minute drill in the fourth quarter. Rodgers shredded the Giants secondary and was in field goal range seemingly within a blink of the eye. Mason Crosby kicks the game winner and all suddenly is still well in Packer Nation.
I thought the Packers would lose in the regular season. It’s better to lose then than in January when it’s win or go home. I don’t want to say I HOPED for them to lose, but rather the pressure of maintaining a perfect season was becoming too much for this blogger to handle.
I’d note what the 1998 Broncos said after losing their first game after a 13-0 start—that the loss in hindsight loosened everyone up and made them that much more prepared for the run that would eventually lead to their second straight Super Bowl victory. I thought that the same in hindsight would end up being a good thing for the 2011 Packers.
Not anymore. My confidence has reached a point where I can say “bring it on!” It’s hard to believe you can draw confidence from a barn burner of a game, but this was the first true adversity the Packers had faced on the field all season and they aced the test with flying colors.
We are in the midst of a truly special and unique Packer season. Instead of biting my fingernails in worry each week, I have learned to sit back and enjoy the ride as I witness history right in front of my eyes every Sunday.
Regardless of how the Packers finish, this team is the first in the long and storied history of the franchise to start a season 12-0. In fact, win just two out of the last four and they will have won the most regular season games in team history,
That’s pretty neat, but then you have to consider the big picture. All those regular season wins are meaningless unless you bring home the Lombardi Trophy. Just ask some Patriots fans how they felt finishing 18-1 in the 2007-2008 season with that lone loss being in Super Bowl XLII ironically against the Giants.
I’m ready. The team is ready. The rest of Packer Nation is ready. Coach McCarthy, the train can leave the station. We’re all on board and excited for what is ahead.
History and destiny beckon. Let’s go get it.——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke
10 thoughts on “All Aboard! Why I Will Never Again Underestimate These Green Bay Packers”
You now know why I NEVER venture in to the prediction world. That and I’m unbelieveably superstitous.
One very obvious characteristic of our beloved Green Bay Packers is they are a TEAM. Defenses pay a high price if too much attention is placed on any one or two offensive strengths. MM and AR are more than capable of attacking any resulting weakness caused by over-playing a strength.
One thing I still worry about is the defense. It is apparent that there is to be no improvement this year. To use an over-used phrase, “it is what it is.” If they run into a team that can avoid turnovers the Packers could be in trouble. Without CM3’s pick six they could have lost that game. If that happens in the play-offs – season over. So, keep going for the ball and don’t turn it over yourself and things will be very good.
Yeah…I like your article. I don’t buy the hype that teams striving to have a perfect season are too uptight..and therefore somehow lose. Its discipline and focus….period. Loses occur for other reasons.
But…I’m not too optimistic about postseason. My theory is that the majority of teams that advance…have one common element…that of being a surprise team. The Ravens, The Giants, The Rams, The Packers all tended to be underdogs for a long time. One of the key reasons Champions rarely repeat.
I just have a odd feeling that when the squad retires… and if they go perfect, if… then I could see plenty of HOF candidates, some helped by the perfect season.
Near Locks – In one case, Woodson has his accolades, Rodgers in my view will make the HOF just because of what I see without stats. Making the hard plays look easy, the sign of a true legend:
Fence – In this case, Driver is still productive, and even though he doesnt have the flashy stats he could be a potential HOF but not first ballot:
Still Need More Body of Work – Shown as play makers on the team, but haven’t had enough time to build up the resume:
Blip On Radar – Noticeable once, but needs more time:
Potential – Not HOF worthy, but shown something special that at least draws consideration future:
There are others that can be argued, as I love Bishop, and while Cobb has just started his rookie season you get the feeling how he is being developed that he will be something special and not a 1-year flash in the pan.
Maybe a DeShawn Jackson in terms of skillsets.
I seriously predict, barring injury, a breakout season for Cobb.
no way in hell driver makes the HOF. the packers HOF sure, but Canton. Chris Carter is not in yet, and Drivers stats cannot hold a candle to CCs. I love driver, but he was never in the conversation as the best WR of his time in the league.
if raji keeps playing like he has this year he may not get a second contract let a lone a bid for the HOF. I think Woodson is in for sure. Rodgers needs more time obviously. Jennings and matthews will have the accolades and pub needed. Both are considered elite players at their position early in their careers.
How about this.
Say Driver wins 2 more Superbowls, this year and next year. Would you think he might still have a shot?
I mean sure its not guaranteed, but then you’re getting into Michael Irvin territory. Same type of stats in a way, lesser but those three rings would be hard to ignore.
The only thing that worries me about this team is the defense.
That being said, I think they have enough of the pieces to put it together.
Mike Neal hasn’t looked good but I think he’s going to come on in the playoffs. He’s got 4 games left to get his bearings.
Also if either Peprah or Burnett can watch some tape of Nick Collins and/or not bite on the play-action every time and cover, then the big play is eliminated.
If one or both of these things happen, this team will be scary.
From my point of view,I feel the Packers knew as did all,would have the provebial target on their back.
The Packers are IMO,just going week to week and getting a somewhat different punch in the mouth from each team.If they go 16-0,they can say to each of those teams without any reservation,we took your best shots and now we get to give you ours in the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
we cant play defense or run the ball. alls it takes is one off day from aaron…
You misuse the word “ironically” to mean “coincidentally.” “Irony: an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.” The Giants have been perennial contenders, even occasional Super Bowl winners. That they beat an excellent Patriot team a few years ago and recently played well but lost a close game to another excellent team (the Packers) is in no way an outcome that is opposite of what would be expected. At most, there is a minor coincidence here, certainly no irony though.
If Raji scores a goal line TD this week, it would be cool if there was a goal-post repair ladder conveniently placed next to the stands so he could do a Lambeau Leap. Would that be an excessive celebration penalty for using a prop?..It would be worth it..lol
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