Hello Lounge, this is Mr. Bacon. I would like to reflect on our Packers‘ pre-season.
This season promises to give us the fix we need, as winter rolls into our country during a harsh economic climate in which people are losing their jobs. It’s a great way to forget about our troubles for three hours.
The NFL itself is going through a crisis, as the collective bargaining agreement looks to fall in 2010. Not to mention there is a real possibility that the ghosts of Lambeau will not be reawakened in 2011. To top that off, our brothers in Minnesota, whom we tolerate with their childish antics but not their stupid air horn, might leave the state, although it is just a rumor right now.
That is in the future, and this is now.
On Sunday, the first game of the Aaron Rodgers era begins. I say this because we all know that Rodgers and the team never got a chance to be Packers last year. I am not saying this because of our bad defense, but because the media and fans still connected with Favre as the issue was fresh. Now that we have gotten a full year over the drama, Favre is no longer associated with the present day Packers squad. Instead, he is now a beloved figure who will be always remembered best for marching into the Superdome in Jan of 1997 and helping our team win the Lombardi Trophy.
Now let’s get to the team.
Grant looks to become the #1 RB that Thompson shelled out the money for. Finley looks to become a potential pro-bowl TE as he slowly waits to explode in his second year. Jennings enters this season no longer some no-name kid from WMU connected with Favre’s milestone records, but a growing a WR who is entering the prime of what looks to be a potential Hall of Fame career with first ballot potential. Driver’s days of #1 WR are over, and he takes it with pride. Why should he not, he is surrounded by a solid core, and while Driver is #2, he plays against a #2 CB, which is a mismatch for Driver and his ability to play like a #1. Driver has a very decent chance at making it to Canton himself; he would rather have something else, a ring. Aaron Rodgers is entering his 2nd full time season, and his story is well known. As the quarterback to study under Favre, he is the first person to arrive and last one to leave. Because of that, he is the heart of the team.
The defense has two aging corners, Harris and Woodson, who even in the twilight of their careers, are still going to be Harris and Woodson. They too look for a ring before it’s time to call it quits. Kampman has gone through the roughest offseason, as his position not only changed but his former high school coach’s life was suddenly taken away. Hawk looks to improve his play, while his bash brother Barnett comes back from ACL Surgery. It might take Barnett a full year to be “Barnett the Terrible” again, but with his teammates around him, he will benefit from not having to do all the work. Barnett would never admit this because he strives to be the best even though he is injured. That’s what a team captain is.
Some coaches are back, as McCarthy is slowly becoming Wisconsin’s best McCarthy, ever. Bob Sanders has been canned, and we get Dom “MacGyver” Capers. He is somehow able to combine a bad defense, a Gatorade cooler, a tub of OxyClean, and turn it into a top 5 defense. Finally, we have Kevin Greene, who ironically, looks like a Viking. In fact, he probably is the only Viking in the Norris.
Then there is Ted Thompson.
When you look at Ted Thompson, you think he looks like Ted “Danson In The Dark” Danson. When you hear Ted Thompson, it sounds like he is drunk, slurring his words. When you hear of the decisions Ted Thompson makes, you lose your Armchair GM IQ.
However, I want you readers to do something for me.
Look at the starting lineup, stop for a moment and think.
I want you to think of this one question.
Which one of the starting eleven on offense or defense are a legit starter anywhere in this league, and not a backup? I am not talking about Pro Bowl or Hall of Fame caliber, but rather taking one of our starters, and placing him on a different team. You can see Ryan Grant starting for the Patriots, Bigby for the Cardinals, and Kampman for the Giants.
That is what Ted has done for us. He has done something every GM wishes to do.
Be able to retrofit a franchise for the future.
We have become big dogs in the NFC. Franchises are taking people away from our practice squad or waivers and putting them on their team. It could not have come at a better time because in every football generation there is a power shift from one conference to the other.
The NFC is starting to become the power. Brady no longer has the desire he did for Championships, and Manning is slowly creeping away as the Colts and Patriots are fading with them. Within the next five years, the NFC will have the teams that are awe-inspiring, and the cycle will continue.
Anyone who says don’t be excited about the Packers this year, isn’t a Packer fan. They are football analysts. It’s not because of pessimism either, it’s because when you’re a true Packer fan, you can feel this team has something special about it.
It’s the same feeling a farmer gets when he knows a storm is coming. Somehow he knows how severe it will be and if he needs to go into the Tornado Shelter.
Now an injury might derail the season, like Cullen Jenkins last year.
However, if we stay healthy…
This is the year when Driver and Woodson can walk off in to the sunset with a ring.
This is the year when Aaron Rodgers becomes elite, makes the pro bowl, and rids himself of Favre.
This is the year that when the world news is filled with bad stories; there is a team in Wisconsin who can provide one good one. It’s a team who retains the All-American values that they preach. Traits like good character, not complaining about being paid less than a higher draft pick, the “me-me” image, steroids, and being humble.
This is the year when the spirits of Reggie White, Ray Nitschke, Don Hutson, Vince Lombardi, and Curly Lambeau will look from above Miami and smile.
This is the year where we add a few pounds to the mantle while telling Pittsburgh that even though you have six Super Bowls, we have 13 Overall Championships.
This is the year the Lombardi Trophy is grasped in the hands of the team, and in the hearts of the faithful. In the hands of folks who share their love of the team with their family through the good times and the bad from generation to generation.
We are the fans with the:
So called “awful” color scheme
With the weird foam cheese wedges on our heads
Site of the “leap”
Crown jewel stadium of the league
Team that you’re realistically never going to get season tickets to before you die
Organization that all 31 teams wish they could be
They are the 2009-2010 Green Bay Packers
And like DeNiro said in Casino.
“…and that’s that…”
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