In 2002 the NFC North was created when the league did a complete reorganization of the teams. Gone was the NFC Central and gone were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sent to the newly created NFC South. Since that time the Green Bay Packers have won this division six times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011, and 2012)….and every other team in the division has won it a total of five time (the Chicago Bears winning it in 2005, 2006, and 2010, the Minnesota Vikings winning it in 2008 and 2009). This is a pretty impressive feat for the franchise, especially considering that in that time there has been a coaching change, a complete scheme change on defense, and at least one total rebuilding effort for the organization.
It’s always satisfying to win the division. It’s often the first step a team has in accomplishing their goals for the season and clearly the best way to make the playoffs….but in the end winning the division is not enough. The Packers have been there and done that on wrapping up the division and now it’s time to treat this accomplishment in the same manner and look to what the real test of the this season…the playoffs. Specifically it’s time to look at winning the remaining games to secure a high spot in the playoff race and hopefully get the right match ups in order to avoid a one and done playoff run again this year. This is why 2011 is remembered as a disappointment while 2010 is remembered as a season for the ages. This is how the 2012 Packers will be remembered as well.
It’s time for the Packers to buckle down and make their push for the Super Bowl. It’s time for them to become the hot team at the end of the year. That means cute plays, like that lateral punt, need to disappear and the offensive line needs to get shored up. Slow starts aren’t welcome anymore either. It’s time to become the class of the NFC and not just the class of the NFC North.