They've been injured and inconsistent, undisciplined, and at times downright ugly. But for all the 2013 Packers have been in this tumultuous season, there's one thing you can't accuse them of being - boring. That's by no means a measure of success (as if their record wasn't telling enough) but it does serve as a good reminder that some of the most memorable seasons aren't always the best ones.
This past Sunday's game was also a good reminder. Not only because of the game that once again left most of us catching our breath (or taking nitroglycerin) afterwards, but because of the date. It was the 10-year anniversary of Brett Favre's legendary ‘Raiders game' on Monday Night Football following the loss of his father Irv. As I thought back to that season, I couldn't help but notice the parallels. Favre's Monday night brilliance, "We want the ball and we're gonna score" and of course, the infamous 4th and 26 play.
While 2013 hasn't had the emotional weight of that season, I'll be damned if it hasn't been one of the more memorable in recent history. In contrast, there's 2011. Aside from the final result, 2011 was an absolute whirlwind of accomplishment. It was a season of near perfection and while it was tremendously rewarding, I'm not sure it had the drama of this one.
Again, if given the choice between 15-1 with your starting quarterback eviscerating the league on his way to an MVP award and a muffed, injury-riddled 7-7-1 with that same quarterback standing on the sidelines, I'll take the former. Still, there's something to be said for seasons like this one - the adversity, the frustration, even the heartbreak. In a vacuum, these are things that are as welcome to us sports fans as a Santa Claus with no pants on. But as we often forget, letdown plays an important role in our fandom. Without it, the joys of winning are less euphoric. Comebacks are less unexpected. It's these imperfections and flaws that give us the perspective to appreciate the victories, no matter how small they may be.
Even in defeat, this Packers team has been an absolute blast to watch. An upper-echelon team led by Rodgers, his injury (among many others) transformed them into a scrappy underdog of sorts. It's unfamiliar territory given the team's recent strong of elite play, but again, there's something fantastic about watching Matt Flynn gut out a win versus Atlanta or a comeback for the ages featuring more than a handful of second-stringers against Dallas. And last Sunday, when the Packers once again looked defeated, I couldn't help but shake my head at my own disbelief as Eddie Lacy thundered toward the end zone, planted his feet and went twisting into the air like a 230 lb. drill. I should have known better. Of course this team was going to make things interesting. They've been doing it all season.
This Sunday, the Packers take on the Bears for the NFC North crown. Whether Rodgers plays or not, the Packers' bridge to the playoffs is a rickety one: unstable and full of unknowns, and maybe even pitfalls. But that's 2013 for you. It may not result in what we were all hoping for, but it's been damn fun to watch.
- Steelers vs. Packers Analysis: Five Takeaways from a Pittsburgh Win
- McCarthy Presser 12/23: Packers will make Quicker Decision on Rodgers
- Cheese Curds: Green Bay Packers News and Links for December 23, 2013
- Packers Playoff Picture: NFC North Winner-Take-All in Chicago
- Packers vs. Bears Week 17 Game Likely Flexed to 3:25 PM