As has often been the case this season, I was unable to monitor the game this week. This time, it was determined far in advance that I was to be pre-disposed, as I and a few acquaintances were celebrating the belated birthday of my girlfriend in New York. It was only the second time I had ever been to the Big Apple; there is a noticable difference between it and our fair Wisconsin towns. A few notes on NYC:
- There are a lot of people. Seriously. If you haven't been there, it is a claustrophobic's nightmare. You cannot and will not find a restaurant, coffee place, theatre, subway station, or public area that is not oversaturated with people. This is doubly true when a celebrity is involved. For example, Ludacris was in NYC yesterday. I only know it was him because one of the NYPD officers who was directing traffic said so. When Luda arrived at whatever building he was going into, people went absolutely insane and rushed that street. It took 10 minutes to navigate past one city block. A short one, too.
- There is never anyone at the nut vendors. Honey roasted variations of almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, any-kind-of-nut-you-can-think-of...NOBODY WANTS THEM. I have yet to see anyone purchase nuts from a cart. Which makes me feel better about the level of common sense in people.
- Cab drivers hate slow cars. I was in a cab going from Penn Station to 60th and York, and we were driving behind one of those black Ford cars that seem to be everywhere these days. The driver in the car slowed down to pick somebody up, and our cab driver layed on the horn. The black Ford ignored him and came to a stop as the person they were picking up was walking from their building to the car. The driver must have hit a switch or something, because he let loose the absolute loudest car horn blast I've ever heard. Needless to say, the black Ford driver was perturbed, and actually started moving forward, making the passnger do that awkward half-run that you do when you're trying to catch a departing bus while carrying three full shopping bags. And the cab driver was still pissed off.
After the show, our group was walking back to Penn Station to catch a train, and we decided to go through Times Square. I saw a homeless guy asking for change for his invisible dog's medicine (he had one of those gag leashes that stays off the ground), a Batman costume arguing with a Statue of Liberty costume, and a comedy club promoter tell me he loved me after I declined his invitation to attend the show that evening. Needless to say, I had completely forgotten that it was Sunday, much less that there was football going on.
Thankfully, the massive sports ticker in Times Square hadn't forgotten. I managed to notice it right as the following message scrawled across the board:
GRANT RUNS FOR 147 YD AND TD IN 37-3 ROUT OF BEARS
In response to such happy news, I raised my fists to the sky and started a-whoopin' and a-hollerin', which coincidentally is commonplace behavior in the city, and especially in Times Square. The costume-Batman may have told me to eff-off, but I didn't notice.
I guess I could have started this post by just saying that I was in NYC on Sunday and therefore couldn't watch the game, but then I wouldn't have related those amusing-yet-insightful anecdotes with you, my fair readers. And who could live in a world without such stories? Not I. Anyway, on to the musings!
- The entire team was just clicking. Like Brandon said, this game was probably a fluke, but it's nice to see the Packers win one so convincingly.
- Ryan Grant. Who? Ryan Grant. He's back. The ticker-topic running back made Chicago's then-top-5 ranked run defense look positively silly. This is due in no small part to the offensive line finally getting their act together and creating holes
- A.J. Hawk may have found his niche. Leading the way with 7 tackles, Hawk's performance has decided any question as to Barnett's replacement for the season and, if he keeps it up, successor for next season.
Most importantly, however, is that the win brings the Packers back to 5-5, tied with Chicago and Minnesota (who lost to Tampa Bay) for the division lead with 6 games left. While a .500 record is nothing to brag about, in this year's NFC North it's more than enough to contend for the playoffs, especially when Green Bay has a 3-1 record in the division while holding an edge over Chicago (until their next meeting) and Minnesota having 2 division losses (one to GB).
Everyone knows how important a game this was, especially after last week's letdown. The Packers have fought their way back into playoff consideration, and the goal is still within reach. But I ask...