Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Groundhog Day Packers

Hmmmm...what day is it? Monday? Wednesday? Five weeks ago? Three? Now? If you're like me, you've just finally taken your head out of the gas oven and begun to come back to reality. Which, if you are a Packers fan, isn't so great right now. In fact, with the loss Monday night, this season's Packers have set a franchise record for the biggest drop off from one season to the next in terms of wins and losses. And that's going back to 1919 when they were first organized. Not a record you want to be a part of. Or even be aware of. So forget what I just told you.

Anyway...many Packer fans have sensed it over these last five loosing weeks of football. A few have even said it. Heck, even Packers head coach Mike McCarthy referenced it after the loss Monday night. Seems like we're in the movie Groundhog Day (which, by the way, wasn't filmed in Punxsutawney, PA, but in the northeastern Illinois city of Woodstock). Remember that flick starring Bill Murray? He keeps waking up and reliving the same day over and over and over. However, unlike the film character, Phil Connors, who eventually understands what's going on and changes to improve his life, the Packers have not yet achieved this same level of self-realization. Or performance.

We know it all too well, don't we, Packer fans? Domination of the game, while leaving points on the field, and enough of an opening for the other team to get back in. Giving up big plays at the worst possible times. Special teams and defensive breakdowns. Crucial penalties.

And the scariest thing is, now, in this doomed Groundhog Day season finale, the Pack plays the hapless Lions at Lambeau on Sunday. The Lions. The 0-15 Lions. The Lions, who are about to set an NFL record for futility. And the only thing standing in their way is -- gulp -- our Groundhog Day Packers.

Perhaps the one lesson the Pack learned this season -- if they can remember that far back and act on it -- is the pounding they gave to Da Bearz in their long-ago last win. They got up early and big. So, let's hope the Pack is up by oh, say, 28 points or more going into the 4th quarter. Because, sure as heck, the Packers defense and special teams will probably fold and give up 14 or so points in that last quarter.

Who would have thought that a game between a 5-10 team and an 0-15 team would be of any interest? Admittedly, it will be the same kind of perverse interest that one might have while watching a demolition derby: which car will be the last one moving? In this case, the question will be whether or not the Packers can overcome themselves in this final game. If they can get out of their own way for once, they should be able to hand the Lions that 0-16 record which they deserve (although, I should also add, not which their long-suffering fans deserve...they deserve far better than the Ford family is giving them).

Anyway, Packer fans, we'll post more nearer to game time.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc. to you and yours.