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Wednesday Walkthroughs: Packers’ rough season makes us thankful for past successes

The APC writers share what we’re thankful for this year.

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With Thanksgiving Day almost upon us, there was really only one prompt that we could use for this week’s Walkthrough. Throughout Green Bay Packers fandom, it has been a rough stretch over the past month or so, but looking back and being thankful finds several of our writers expressing their gratitude for successes gone by and the benefits that have come with following the Green and Gold over the years.

Here’s what we’re thankful for this year.

Matub: Plenty!

Every fall, when the mercury drops and the leaves begin to change, I pull out my DVD copy of the 1942 musical Holiday Inn. You may not have heard of the musical itself, but I can almost guarantee you’ve heard at least one of its songs. “White Christmas” was actually written for this movie and not the other Bing Crosby vehicle that came out a few years later.

Holiday Inn follows Jim Hardy’s attempt at starting a business that is only open on holidays. Some folks from Hollywood like his idea and ask him to write music for a musical movie based on the premise. The whole thing is very meta. When Thanksgiving comes around, Jim is very depressed and sarcastically writes a song called “I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For”. He listens to his work and makes snide remarks about how he, in fact, is not thankful at all.

We are all Jim right now. We’ve got plenty to be thankful for, but it honestly feels like we’ve got nothing. So chin up, Packer fans! We may not have Aaron Rodgers, but we’ve still got...uh...hmm.

Well, crap.

Tex: Welcoming Packers fans and the APC community

Last Sunday, my brother and I drove up to Lambeau Field to see what ended up being an absolutely terrible game against the Ravens. We spent most of the game trying to ignore a select few drunk and belligerent fans around us calling for Brett Hundley’s head and screaming about how the Packers would be so much better off with Joe “Big Tom” Callahan in the game instead.

And yet, we still managed to have a most excellent day, and so I’m thankful for the openness and welcoming nature of Packers fans and for the fact that we still had a great experience even though the game sucked. I’m thankful for the group of Packers fans who welcomed a pair of strangers into their tailgate party without hesitation and for their ability to instantly make us feel at home. I’m thankful for the fact that we got to spend a great day together in the company of some wonderful people, and that it made the trip entirely worthwhile.

Beyond last Sunday’s experience, though, I’m thankful for the excellent people I have the privilege of working with here at Acme Packing Company, and for the readers and commenters who make our work possible.

Now let’s make it through the rest of this year, and hopefully at this time in 2018 we’ll all be talking about how thankful we are that the Packers’ roster has been in good health

Shawn Wagner: Winning seasons and the NFL Draft

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this up-and-down Packers season, it’s that I have an incredible amount of respect for diehard Cleveland Browns fans. Winning three games in a 16-game season seems to be an annual challenge for that franchise and fanbase. Their team remains winless this season and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002, yet they continue to be avid followers.

Green Bay fans have had much more to cheer for and support since 1992, including two Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterbacks and playoff appearances the past eight seasons. When Aaron Rodgers is back and healthy next season, Green Bay will contend for a deep postseason run once again. Perhaps the team’s struggles without Rodgers will even open eyes around the front office on the makeup of this team and staff that need improvement.

Either way, I myself have been a spoiled fan since I was born, with two Super Bowl titles to reminisce about. Other fan bases can only dream of making the playoffs one out of 10-15 years, much less the Super Bowl. I’m thankful for being born into a Packers family and having had the chance to begin my fandom as a young child watching games with my father and attending with my great uncle.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to be in my first year writing for APC and being able to share my views and observations with other Packers fans across the country and world. I look forward to writing more articles this season and feedback from our readers. One of the things I’m most thankful for in football is NFL Draft season and I am excited to be able to provide scouting reports and mock drafts throughout the offseason.

Paul Noonan: Football Outsiders

They’re not perfect, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that there would be no publicly available football analytics without Football Outsiders. As someone who watches any given sport and tries to figure out how it’s like baseball, I find their general philosophy syncs up with mine almost perfectly, and while it’s nice to have their stats available it’s even better to see certain concepts make their way into the mainstream of football thought over time. Simple things, like what constitutes a successful play, were not seriously discussed before they came along. Regression concepts were completely foreign.

I remember one of their first big insights that stuck with me. The Chargers had a season where they were a good offensive team on first down, second down, and overall, but for some reason they were just awful on third down. Football Outsiders correctly identified this as a luck-based anomaly, and because third down plays are so much more important than first and second down plays, a small correction on their third down conversions the following year lead to an outstanding offense.

Had Football Outsiders never existed I would not be doing what I’m doing, so thanks to Aaron Schatz and crew for kicking off Football Sabermetrics.

Bob Fitch: Quarterback Success

Echoing Shawn’s comments here a bit, I’m of an age of spoiled Green Bay Packer fans. In fact, the only reason I came to root for the Packers is because my first ever football memory was sneaking out of my bedroom to watch the Packers beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. That kicked off years of watching #4 run around and throw other-worldly passes, drafting Aaron Rodgers in the first round, and watching him (mostly) seamlessly take over the reigns. Who wouldn’t be thankful for that?

When you invest yourself so heavily into one team, it can be awfully hard to have perspective. Remember fretting over Tavarus Dantzler? Jeff Janis? These are the most ‘first-world’ problems to have as far as a football team is concerned. Not a day has gone by where we have had to seriously worry about the long-term quarterback situation since Favre completed his first season in green and gold. The quarterback is the most important position in the National Football League, and that has never been more obvious than the 2017 season. For that, I am thankful that the Packers have found not one, but two generational talents to lead us to victory.

Oh, and Mike Daniels. Everyone should be thankful for Mike.

Jon Meerdink: Commenters

The internet adage advises against reading the comments, but I love sorting through the stuff on Acme Packing Company, especially on our weekly Walkthroughs post. More often than not, there will actually be an interesting discussion going on, and it seems like the APC community is generally pretty efficient at weeding out trolls and malcontents. Stuff like that really sets Acme Packing Company apart from the other SB Nation sites and the internet as a whole and it makes this place a real joy to be around.