There's an old saying about weddings....a bride should have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. I have no idea why this should be or where the saying came from (my Y chromosome keeps getting in the way of understanding that piece of wisdom), but it has been stuck in my head as we look forward to the game this weekend.
So as I write to frame this potential playoff game (HA!), I thought I would use this saying as a guide. After all, the Packers have been oddly married to the legacy of the 49er's ever since Mike Holmgren came to town. The Packers were one of the first teams to adopt some of the classic 49er ways, and for many years were just like 49er East. Since then the 9ers have fell away and the Pack has stayed strong and forged a new identity for itself, but still, the framing is oddly appropriate.
So let's dig in to the clique. For each of these I'm going to try and touch on one player on the Packers and one general thing about the organization that would fit each one of these requirements.Something old:
Lambeau Field. Lambeau is one of the oldest studiums in the NFL. Granted this isn't too hard really since the trend in the NFL is dump old faithful stadiums for newer sexier ones than a rich insecure guy dumps his first wife for a stupid 20 something only after his money...but even if this wasn't the case Lambeau has always been something special. Playing in Lambeau has also been a great advantage to the Packers, sporting the best winning record at home in December since 1992. I doubt that trend continues since the last time the 49ers have won in Green Bay was 1990 and this group of gold diggers are not world beaters really.
Chad Clifton. Not going to lie, this one was tough for the players since we don't have many older guys on the roster, but Clifton deserves some love his direction. He's been healthy his year, well accept for some rust early in the year, and he's been having a great season. Got to love what he's been able to put together, especially since he protects Rodger's backside so well.
Packer Plaza? It might be the worst kept secret in the world since May, but the Packers have been buying up some of the land around Lambeau in the hopes of creating a total tourist destination. The idea is to do something similar to what the Patriots have done with Patriot Place. So that means hotels, stores, even gas stations? Now I don't know many of the time lines, but this would definitely be something new for the Packers and could help make game day an even better experience.
James Starks. There are rumors that he may make the active roster this week. Now I know that I have been a doubter of this guy. I have doubted what he can do. I've doubted that he might get on the field. But I can admit when I'm wrong, and if he does get on the field I hope they use him and show us what this young man can do. Lord knows we need all the help we can get with the running game.
The West Coast Offense. Developed by Bill Walsh in San Fransico, it was adopted by pretty much most of the NFL and every team seems to have some flavor of it in the offense today. Really though the Packers were among the first to really develop it and follow it to extent San Fran did during its hey day, thanks to the influence of Mike Holmgren. Since Holmgren left town we have always been under the leadership over one of his heirs, be that Ray Rhodes, Mike Sherman, or Mike McCarthy, and one all of these guys still follow up the blue print Holmgren and Walsh drew up. So thank you San Fransico.
Dmitri Nance. After the injury of Ryan Grant, the Packers decided to raid someone else's cupboard rather than trading for an established name. Now some might call this stealing, but since there is a decent chance Nance might not be on the team next year between Starks' development, Grant's return, and the possibility of a high round stud RB drafted (hey a guy can dream right?). Nance seems oddly attractive. He definitely is a tough runner, and seems more north south than Jackson. I guess the main reason why he disappeared after getting stuffed was a concision, but thankfully he has been cleared to play and can help with our running game. Cause Lord knows we need help with our running game.
Third Jersey Madness. This week the Packers throw off that oppressive color green and don blue. Now I'm not sure how I feel about these throwbacks. A part of me loves throwbacks and the thought behind them. Teams are going to make different unis from time to time to make money. I'm cool with that, it's a business and businesses make money. I also know that I would rather classic teams like the Packers reworks something from the past rather than make something new. The Packers shouldn't do new uniforms. The current ones are awesome and shouldn't change. Now, resurrecting something different isn't bad to change it up either. These......I guess it all depends on the day for me. Also, have you seen the gallary the Packers put up with the jerseys? I was surprised. I guess I pictured the Packers getting their jerseys made by a souless corporation in a sweatshop filled with underaged Indonesian workers making pennies per hour, not elderly Wisconsin native slaving over sewing machines possibility making pennies per hour. Okay the last bit was a tasteless joke, but seriously what in God's name are these women sewing? It can't be the uni's....can it?
Aaron Rodgers. This as in blue chip. Just as Clifton deserves some love for the season he's putting together, Rodgers deserves a little bit of time in the limelight for two reasons: 1) he was the only (and I mean only) reason we were even in that game against Atlanta. No one else stood out in the least; and 2) Rodgers against the 49ers always makes me think about what could of been. Now we all know the story so I won't retell it, accept to highlight this....Rodgers in San Fran and being successful would of been one of those stories so sweet that it makes you want to puke. Worse the Mark Tausher growing up in Wisconsin and playing his entire career for the Badgers and the Packers. Worse than Cutler playing for the Bears after growing up a Bears fan. This was a guy who grew up outside of San Fran, went to college in the San Fran area, was always a Niner fan, grew up loving Joe Montana, and now being the starting QB of that franchise and leading them into relevance after being the first pick in the draft. You couldn't even make a movie about that because it wouldn't be believable for crying out loud. Instead Mike McCarthy helped make the worst decision of his life that worked out so well for him in the long run. Oh and we get a franchise QB that will probably be one of the top two or three QB's in the league someday. Ho hum.