Coach Boone: Put your hand down.
Coach Boone: You're smiling.
Petey Jones: Yes.
Coach Boone: Yes, sir. Why are you smiling?
Petey Jones: 'Cause I love football. Football is fun.
Coach Boone: Fun, sir? It's fun?
Petey Jones: Yes.
Coach Boone: You sure?
Petey Jones: I think...
Coach Boone: Now you're thinkin'. First you smile, then you thinkin'. You think football is still fun?
Petey Jones: Uh, yes.
Coach Boone: Sir.
Petey Jones: Yes- no, sir.
Coach Boone: No?
Petey Jones: Um, it was fun.
Coach Boone: Not anymore though, is it? *Is* it?
Petey Jones: Not right now, no.
Coach Boone: No, it's not fun anymore. Not even a little bit.
Petey Jones: Uh... no.
Coach Boone: Make up your mind. Think since you're thinking. Go on, think. Is it fun?
Petey Jones: No, sir.
Coach Boone: No? Absolutely not?
Petey Jones: Zero fun, sir.
Coach Boone: All right, listen up! I'm Coach Boone. I'm gonna tell you about how much... *fun* you're gonna have this season.
The last few weeks of the NFL season have been a good reminder to me that football is a game. I just want to write this as a simple encouragement to enjoy the game of football. I know that winning is ALOT more fun, but despite the outcome of today's game, watching the 2nd half with my 6-year old nephew was the highlight of the week. That was a fun half of football to watch. (and seeing my nephew copy all my gesticulations was even more fun!) The high school team that I volunteer for as an assistant coach went 1-8 this year (ironically, our season mirrored the Packers a bit, with 3 QBs getting hurt), yet I will continue to volunteer my time because I love the game and love teaching and coaching the young men I get to spend every afternoon and Fri. with.
I understand it is very possible that the Packers non-winning streak continues and they miss the playoffs. I prefer to hope for a better finish to the season. Otherwise, why spend my time watching the remaining games.
Here are a few reasons for optimism for the Packers yet this season and the future.
1. First of all, for this season. If the Packers are able to beat Detroit next week, which is very possible, with our without Rodgers, the Packers will be in the driver's seat when it comes to the division. Obviously, this gets much easier with Rodgers, but the Packers proved they can move the ball with Flynn at QB, I think the Bears will be hard pressed to finish better than 8-8 this year, and the Lions proved today that, well, they are the Lions.
2. Despite the other injuries, if Rodgers had stayed healthy, the Packers would potentially be looking to clinch the division on Thanksgiving. The Packers could be 9-2, the Lions 6-5, and the Bears 5-6. A win over the Lions would put them ahead by 4 games with 4 to play, and the Packers would own the head-to-head tie breaker. 9-2 may seem unrealistic, but you will have a hard time convincing me which of the last 4 games we would have lost if Rodgers was at QB.
3. The Packers are not as bad as they have appeared at times. Even with the Rodgers injury, I think the Packers are 7-4 or maybe better if they had 3-4 of their other starters healthy. Hoping for all the others to be healthy is unrealistic, but pick any 4 of the following; Barclay, Shields, Hayward, Perry, Finley, Jolly and Cobb. Simply not having Newhouse at tackle is probably worth 1 win.
4. I think this year the injuries have hit even harder than they did in 2010. The Packers bounced back from that with a 15-1 season. While that will be tough to repeat next year, especially with so many players scheduled to be free agents, I don't think the Packers are on their way down by any means.
In the end, are there flaws to this year's version of the Packers? Absolutely. There always will be. The 2010 team had flaws. The 15-1 team had flaws. Rather than focus on the flaws, I prefer to look for the positives and enjoy the game. I will leave the fixing to the guys that are paid to do it. I find Sundays much more enjoyable that way.