From now until training camp there won't be much breaking news if you even consider all the crap we hear from Kiln, Mississippi as news. So I thought it would be a fun thing to just look back on fairly recent, but not too recent seasons for the Packers and reminisce about them. 2001 seems to fit within that criteria, and it was a very good year for the Packers, so why not start with it.
For me, number one, the 2001 season sort of ushered in the second phase of Brett Favre's career with the team. After having average years both competitively and statistically in 1999 and 2000, Favre and the entire team showed marked improvement in 2001. He was far enough away from his substance abuse days that he managed to have an MVP calibur year.
There was barely a dominant receiver on that team. Ahman Green led the team in receptions with 64. There were no 1,000 yard receivers that year. It was both Tauscher and Clifton's second year in the league and the offensive line was really starting to look good. The argument could be made that in the first half of the 2000's, maybe only the Chiefs had a better offensive line.
The defense was really good. They were ranked fifth in scoring defense, and was quite adept at rushing the passer. I think in his first four games KGB had nine sacks, or some crazy number like that, and he only came in on third downs that year. Cletidus Hunt and Vonnie Holliday both showed alot of promise. Darren Sharper again had a very good year, and Mike McKenzie really started to emerge.
The team went 12-4 and made the playoffs as a wild card where they would win their first round game against the 49'ers 25-15. Mike Sherman almost blew it by going for two to make it a ten point game instead of just kicking the pat to go up nine. We missed. were only up eight and the Niner's tied the game. But disaster was averted and for all our trouble we got a trip to St. Louis to face the greatest show on turf.
It was never really a game. We lost 45-17. I'd like to think that the Rams ran the score up on us but I honestly believe we were really just that bad that day.
As good a year as it was, I always thought what could've been if the Bears hadn't had an absolute fluke of a year and we won the NFC Central and got a first round bye. Two games stick out to me that Bears absolutely should've lost that would've potentially put us in front of the Bears: the game were the Bears were down a bunch to a good San Francisco team and came back and then the next week when the Bear scored two touchdowns in the final minute to tie the game with Cleveland and won it in overtime. Of course the Bears showed just how seriously they should be taken by getting just pummeled by the Eagles in their opening divisional round game, and that was that. We swept the Bears that year,and were the much better team, but we didn't get the breaks like they did.
Who knows if our meeting with the Rams would've gone any differently if it had occurred in the NFC title game and not in the divisional round?
Anyway, so that's what I remember from 2001. If people like this enough I'd be happy to write up another one, but your more than welcome to write your own recap for another year.