I might be the only Packer fan who thinks this way, but I’ll say it anyways:
Can we cool it with the going undefeated talk?
Yes its true, the Packers are the only undefeated team left in the league this year. Throughout the season, they have shown the ability to steamroll opponents in scary fashion. Aaron Rodgers is performing at a level that cannot be described, and is currently in the midst of perhaps the best start to a season any quarterback has ever enjoyed. Games against the Broncos and Falcons were class A beat downs. And while the rest of the NFC has struggled to separate themselves from the Packers (although the Saints are hanging around), I’m here to remind everyone of one simple fact:
Going undefeated in the regular season means absolutely nothing. It’s what happens in the playoffs that really matters.
Sure, it would be nice to go undefeated. It would prove through a 16 game stretch that the Green Bay Packers, OUR Green Bay Packers, were the best team in the league, head and shoulders above everyone else. I think every Packer fan would wear that as a badge of pride, knowing that the 2011 team was essentially better than the 2010 team, which won the Super Bowl. Plus, it would make the 1972 Dolphins squirm a little bit, knowing that their precious undefeated season was in jeopardy of being bettered. Oh, the humanity of it all!
However, what would happen if the Packers did go undefeated in the regular season, just to lose in a much, MUCH more important game in January? Would we continue to wear the undefeated season as a badge of pride? Or would we look back at the season and wonder what could have been?
The 2010 team proved one thing: anything can happen once you are in the playoffs. Going on the road for three consecutive games and winning all three just to get to the Super Bowl is extremely impressive. Winning the Super Bowl, defying the odds in the process when you consider the path the Packers took to get there, is even more impressive. They gave us a season for the ages in the process, memories of a lifetime.
Now consider the 2010 Atlanta Falcons. a 13-3 regular season, number one seed in the playoffs. And a one and done thanks to the Packers. Do the Falcons fans think back about last year and say “That was a great season.” Or do they instead think back and wonder what could have been, if only they had not run into the Packers in the playoffs? I’m guessing the latter is the consensus, and that is what the Packer faithful will do if a great regular season is replaced by a post season disappointment.
Going undefeated would be a great accomplishment. To do something that no Packer team since 1929 has done would be absolutely amazing, and put the 2011 team on the list of best teams ever. However, anything less than a championship after going undefeated would be seen as a failure, and left Packer nation scratching their heads as to what went wrong after such a dominating season.
One game at a time. That is how I am taking this season. In the past I’ve looked too far into the future and been disappointed (2007 among others). Speculating what could be is fun, but is going 16-0 and losing in the playoffs really worth the potential heartache? Not for me. I’ll savor every moment of this season, looking at each game as they come, and hopefully at the end of the year celebrating the Packers 14th world championship.
It does no good to celebrate too early. Just ask the 2007 Patriots. Anointed champs before the playoffs, and went home the most disappointed undefeated team in history.
Anything can happen once you get in the playoffs. It’s getting there that matters.
Filed Under: John Rehor