Football is supposed to be fun, and even though this season hasn’t been what we hoped for, there’s still plenty to be thankful for. There have been things to enjoy this year, right? (Right?)
Well, even if we have to look beyond this specific season, we still have plenty we’re thankful for as Packers fans. Here are the blessings our writers are counting this Thanksgiving.
Jonathan Barnett: the Packers
Honestly, just thankful the Packers exist. Portsmith Spartans left and went to Detroit. Decatur Staleys left and went to Chicago. Canton Bulldogs, Muncie Flyers and Kenosha Maroons all gone. The history of small town sports has been completely erased from major professional sports. Having a team in Green Bay is an anomaly that should not exist. Having the foresight in the 1920s and 1930s to create a team owned through stock was brilliant and amazing. The initial stock required that if all the stock was sold, all the money collected would go to building a veterans memorial. Through all the emotions I have gone through with this team, I have never had to deal with an owner making demands or he will move the team. The owner has been members of my family and people across the country. Win or lose, there is a team in Green Bay and that is something for which I will always be thankful.
Rcon14: Two whole generations of good quarterback play
While this may be coming to an end now, it truly is amazing that for my entire life the Packers have never played a bad quarterback on purpose. Now, both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have had years in which they were not good (Favre was legitimately atrocious in 2005), but the fact that thirty years have been covered by Hall of Fame quarterbacks is a legitimate marvel. The Packers are soon headed into the quarterback abyss where they’ll need to find the next one, and that is a dark and scary place to live, but you can’t say that the position didn’t provide ample opportunity over literally my entire life so far.
Tex: A lifetime* of consistently competitive and entertaining teams
I’m part of the generation of Packers fans who grew up in the 1990s. Although I was alive for a few years pre-Brett Favre, I don’t really remember anything from that era. But I also grew up as a huge baseball fan during the Milwaukee Brewers’ abysmal 15-year stretch in the 90s and early 2000s, so I know what it’s like to be a fan of a team that’s the worst of all possibilities: hopelessly bad, but also not very interesting or entertaining.
That’s why I’m not only grateful for the Packers’ success over the last 30 years; I’m grateful that they have been a team that’s usually at least entertaining to watch, regardless of the final result. I’d much rather follow a team that I can feel something about than one that inspires nothing but apathy. In the Favre years, when the team lost, it often did so via Brett’s self-immolation. The Rodgers years have been full of playoff collapses since Super Bowl XLV, but it takes a good team to get there and almost every one of those games has been competitive – the Packers have just come out on the wrong side of them.
Even though it has been agonizing in January for the last decade – and for the decade prior to 2010 – I’d much rather have that than follow a perennial loser that shows no signs of turning it around and that inspires no emotion whatsoever.
Paul Noonan: Passing
Guys, if you never experienced 80s football you have no idea how lucky you are to have never experienced 80s football. Deviating from Run-Run-Pass was considered controversial. Announcers would talk about the risks of an incomplete pass on first down meaning that you couldn’t run on second or maybe third down. It was really really boring, at least at the NFL level.
The Packers have always, always passed more than every other franchise. They have the greatest old-timey receiver ever, they won Super Bowls in the 60s based on passing, they passed a ton with Lynn Dickey in the early 80s, and starting in 1989 with Don Majkowski, this team has been pass-first for 33 consecutive seasons. The Bears were playing old-timey midwest run the ball offense literally until Jay Cutler. Their best ever offensive player is a running back (and a great one), but I’m glad the list of my franchise’s greatest running backs is short and disappointing, while the list of quarterbacks and receivers is long and illustrious. That’s football baby.
Jon Meerdink: Lambeau Field
Maybe it’s the ongoing debate over grass vs. turf, but I’ve really noticed games played inside this year. It’s true, not every indoor team is a turf team: the Cardinals somehow have both a dome and grass, which never ceases to amaze me. But indoor football, even on grass, still just looks wrong.
Football should be played outside. It should be affected by the elements. You should have games that are so bad from a weather standpoint that they throw off your stats for the rest of the season.
And the Packers have a gem of an outdoor football experience. I’ve had a lot of Packers’ internet acquaintances head to Lambeau for the first time this year, and I’m so excited for them whenever I hear they’re going. It’s something that every Packers fan should experience, and I love that its a default part of rooting for the team that we do.