Monday, February 7, 2011
Green Bay Packers: Super Bowl XLV Champions
There is absolutely no better feeling.
Last night, my team, the greatest franchise in professional sports, won the Super Bowl. Every year, while watching the world champions celebrate amidst the confetti, the championship T-shirts, and the Lombardi Trophy, I wish it were my team up there. My teams are small-market in nature, the perennial underdog, and there's a tendency to feel like the time to celebrate will never come again. We're squeezed out by the New Yorks, the Philadelphias, the Chicagos… but we always come back for more.
Even 24 hours later, it's still difficult to put together a cohesive narrative. To gain a proper perspective, check out this post by Big Dunc from a few years ago, Wisconsin Sports Despair. After you hit that up, I'll communicate via bullet points.
*These have ruled my life for the past month or so. Most obvious to my friends and family was the playoff beard I've been growing since January 1. As the Pack got deeper in to the playoffs, it came to mirror the dedication of the players. Shaved it off tonight, but it was full and impressive. I believe that, given the same amount of time, I would easily surpass Brett Keisel.
*Lucky Glass: When my family drove to Washington, D.C. in 1993, we made my first trip to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. At their gift shop, I purchased a Packers high ball glass. During the 1996 Packers season, it became my lucky glass. I would only drink from it on game days, and I could only use it after the Packers' first touchdown. Nothing except soda is allowed in the glass. This superstition continued through to Super Bowl XXXI, but was broken during the 1997-98 season because the glass was not brought with me to my first year of college. Obviously, this was the deciding factor in the loss to the Broncos. The lucky glass was retrieved during the NFC Championship Game, and was filled up shortly after Nelson's touchdown last night. I scarcely had a chance to take a sip before Collins scored on his Pick-6. The lucky glass is at its most potent when full, but loses strength as the soda loses its carbonation. Quite the catch-22, but that's the way magic works, kids.
Each of the past two Sundays, I made a point to hit a local card show. Also central to the ritual was an at-home workout using the game Wii Active. (Which, by the way, is actually a pretty decent workout, especially during the winter months when it becomes such a pain to leave the house.)
Starting the with Atlanta game, my wife and I invited her best friend over to watch the game. Things went so well that we continued having her over for the next two games. She fulfills what I like to refer to as the Non-Family Member Female Element. For the 1997 Super Bowl, I was still a senior in high school, living at home. My family watched the game together, and the only other person at our house was my sister's best friend. Superstitions must be adhered to, or else they fail to work.
For the final three playoff games, I engaged in a bit of clandestine good karma gathering. I will not go into it here, but I'll be damned if it didn't work.
*I'm generally not the type of person to trash talk in a public forum, and I try very hard to avoid getting caught up in the hype. Thus, for the past month, Packers posts were kept to a minimum. Although this blog typically centers around the Brewers, if I had my choice of only one team winning a championship, it would easily be the Packers.
*I need to take back what I wrote on November 28, 2010. It was still bullshit. Not insurmountable bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless. The NFC ended up sending a capable representative.
*Big Dunc: Oracle
Big Dunc looked far into the future with a post last August, rating each of the local teams' chances for being crowned champions within his lifetime. Calling the Packers' chances of winning it all a 97% certainty, I'd say he pretty much knows what he's talking about.
For the past four weeks, I've been entertaining my family and actual friends on Facebook by posting a Packer football card each day. It was nice to get feedback from huge Packer fans who are also non-collectors.
*After watching my Packers lose to the Cardinals last season, I remained surprisingly calm. Playoff losses had been happening more frequently, and since this was early on in the playoffs, I wasn't too upset. I, too, saw what the future would hold. I merely turned to my wife and declared, "It's alright, the Packers are going to win the Super Bowl next year." No lie.
*For what was a tense game throughout, there was only one play that made me really angry. On the play where Tramon Williams received a personal foul penalty on his punt non-return, I may have shouted very loudly that he was a "retard." Not so much for his helmet slap, but more for the way he idiotically remained so close to the bouncing ball. Next time, Tramon, put some more distance between yourself and one of the most physically unpredictable objects known to man.
*The shelf-life of certain web content is another unpredictable thing, so I made sure to record some images that might not have lasted very long, and which might not exist any longer. For posterity…
Here's the header taken from the Packers' official page following the victory over Chicago. Looks great, even though it doesn't celebrate the ultimate goal.
This is a screen capture from a Bears blog. The juxtaposition is absolutely monumental. Make sure you keep a close eye on your advertisements, web masters.
This one I found today, and I expect these will pop up in various outlets. There's a Haitian child somewhere who will sleep much more warmly next week.
*To close my thoughts (for this post, at least), I think it needs to be said how razor-thin the margins for success in the NFL are. If any of a number of things go differently in Super Bowl XLV, the Packers don't win the game. The same can be said for the regular season. Case in point: The second Eagles/Giants game. If Philadelphia doesn't make that miracle comeback, the Packers do not yet realize the control of their own playoff destiny. If the Eagles don't pull out that game, they probably go up against Minnesota the next week with more urgency, and who knows if the Packers even make the playoffs then. Conversely, let's say that the most frustrating game of the season, the week 3 MNF matchup against the Bears, goes in favor of the Packers, we would have been the number 2 seed, not the #6. What does Atlanta look like then, with a possible playoff game under their belt and Green Bay coming in to play for a trip to the Super Bowl? All of these alternate realities make my head hurt, it's best not to think about them too much. It's just scary to think that a Giants' punt out of bounds could have turned a Super Bowl champion team into a club that misses the playoff altogether.
*Alright, final thought. At one point in the fourth quarter, I caught myself whispering to myself, "Come on, guys. I believe in you."