Green Bay Wasted A Super Opportunity
I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the final quarter and a half of Sunday's meltdown. I had to turn off the TV just as the Packers kicked a field goal to make the game 19-7 just past the midway point of the third quarter and return to church for volunteering purposes.
Needless to say, the worst of my fears was realized: I watched the Packers slowly lose the lead and succumb to one of the greatest postseason collapses in history.
I have no plans to watch that final quarter and a half, as it would probably just make me feel worse about the game than I already do. And while the bad feelings are mitigated in large part by the news of the untimely passing of Mike McCarthy's brother, I'm still left with the impression that the Packers wasted one of the best opportunities they may ever have to score another title during the Aaron Rodgers era.
As I detailed before the game, opportunities to truly contend are limited. For all we know, this could have been the Packers last, best shot to grab another championship before Rodgers rides off into the sunset. Whether they could have beaten the Patriots again, we'll never know. We'll always have to wonder what could have been.
This game reminds me very much of another road playoff collapse: the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on January 11, 2004, better known as the 4th-and-26 game. You know the story. I remember exactly where I was sitting in the basement of my family's house on North Main Street in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin when the game ended. I remember Brett Favre gifting an interception to Brian Dawkins in overtime. I remember seething as the game ended. And most of all, I remember a guy from my parents' church group saying "well, that's a bummer," and then leaving the basement, like he didn't have a care in the world.
That irritated the 15 year old version of me very much, but in hindsight I wonder if he had a point. He'd watched the same on-field disintegration that I had, but it didn't bother him. He'd probably barely think about it on his drive home, because he'd properly compartmentalized that part of his life. He was much better adjusted than I was. I could spin it as saying that he wasn't as much of a fan, and that may be true, but it's probably equally likely that he was just a better fan than me.
So yes, the Packers may have wasted an incredible opportunity on Sunday, the fact remains that the clock is slowly ticking towards another football Sunday. We won't see the Packers compete in a game that matters again until September, and even when we do, it won't be the team that we invested in this season. And that's okay. We'll still watch. We'll still enjoy the games. We'll still have fun with our friends and families as we see a new version of the Packers grow and develop and succeed. All that will happen again next year, just as it did this year. And no matter the outcome, none of it will be wasted if we remember the game's proper place.