Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Games are hazardous to your health and other living things

You know that feeling before, during and after a game where you think your head and/or heart is going to explode? Your stomach is churning? You think you're gonna hurl? Or have the big one?

Now it can be told: being a sports fan can be hazardous to your health.

Shocking, isn't it? But finally, we have documented medical evidence indicating what many of us already know all too well: it ain't easy being a dedicated sports fan.

According to a report out of Germany, cardiac events were about triple the norm during Germany's 2006 World Cup appearance, hosted in Germany. They won, they lost. Sound familiar? Either way, people were keeling over faster than teetotalers at Oktoberfest.

There's a report about this study from NPR. You can read the transcript of the report here. Or you can find the link for the podcast at the same location.

Oh, and let's not forget that fans sometimes really get a bit too wound up and can take out their frustration on other living things. Such as old head coach Dan Devine's dog. Remember that one? Rumors/reports of violent acts on people also pop up occasionally. careful out there! And remember: it's only a game. Ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ght.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The best QB of all time? Might not be who you think.

There's an interesting -- and very cogent -- analysis of the 10 best QBs of all time at Two Packers are on the list. Actually, one is ranked #1 and the other is ranked #10.

But it might not be who you think at #1: Bart Starr.

They make the point that Starr has perhaps never really gotten his due in the "greatest" discussions. But they set forth a compelling case. Five world championships is a heckuva starting point. So is Starr's playoff record: 9-1. But if you want to know more -- and there is much more -- and see who else is on the list, check it out here.

Brett Favre is listed at #10, although the site says this season is what bumped him into the top 10. What has him so low, then? His play in the big games. Given recent history, that's a fair critique perhaps.

This is another of those lists that makes for good discussion material. Especially since the author(s) of this list state clearly that all the others are wrong. Hey, Starr's on top and Brett's on the list? Hard to argue with those picks. Although some of those left off the list...well, see for yourself. decide. (Was that stated with enough feigned drama?)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Thanks, Mr. Harlan

Without much fanfare last week, the Chairman and CEO of the Packers -- Bob Harlan -- retired after 19 years at the helm of football's most storied franchise. As of today, Harlan officially becomes Chairman Emeritus and recently-hired Mark Murphy takes over as President and CEO. Harlan no doubt -- like the rest of us -- thought he'd go out with a trip to the Super Bowl and another Lombardi Trophy. The happy ending script didn't quite work out that way, as we all know.

But, think back for a bit, you longtime Packers fans, about what Harlan came into when he took on the job: a history in the 70s and 80s of mostly mediocre teams, so-so coaches, player scandals, an aging stadium generating revenue for the team only a handful of days a year, a split "home" schedule between Milwaukee and Green Bay...well, it wasn't a great situation.

Harlan enters the picture. He hires Ron Wolf as GM. Wolf hires head coach Mike Holmgren and trades for a young and unknown bench-riding QB in Atlanta by the name of Brett Favre, and also picks up the most highly prized free agent of the time, Reggie White. Harlan makes the call to return all home games to Lambeau Field, while still accommodating the loyal Milwaukee fan base who had helped keep the franchise afloat in other difficult times. He begins to plan for a way to make Lambeau Field a year-round venue that can generate income for the team day in and day out to keep it competitive for years to come.

During Harlan's tenure, the Pack had 13 straight years of above .500 football, and went to the playoffs 11 times, including the Super Bowl twice with one Super Bowl win. The Packers only had three losing seasons during Harlan's reign. Can you say "turn around"???

That's the Reader's Digest version of things. There is much, much more. Harlan told his own story in the book he authored this past year entitled, "Green and Golden Moments: Bob Harlan and the Green Bay Packers." You can get it from the Packers Pro Shop by clicking here.

You can read an exit interview of sorts with Harlan about his time with the Pack here.

In the long history of the Green Bay Packers, many individuals have played key roles on and off the field. But it could be argued that Bob Harlan has played as critical and as an important a role as any. So, for that and everything else, and for representing the Packers with such class, thank you, Mr. Harlan. See you soon in the Packers Hall of Fame.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Withdrawal Sunday

We knew this was going to be an off-week, the time in between the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl. But we thought it would be a chance to indulge our speculation regarding how the Pack will in fact beat the Pats. Instead, it's a time to reflect on what could have been, should have been. And, if you happen to have access to any Wisconsin-based print or broadcast media, it is the weekend to grade the Packers' season and opine about what the Pack will do in the offseason to complete the story next year.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's long-time Packers sportswriter, Bob McGinn, once again did his annual report card on the Pack. Unfortunately, the only way you can access this via the 'Net is to subscribe to the publication's Packers Plus edition. In short, here's what he had to say: not a bad year. Shocking, I know. But to be fair, he really does a tremendous job examining all facets of the team's play, as well as grading out each of the players on offense and defense, the coaching staff, and GM Ted Thompson's personnel moves.

While the overall grades from McGinn were favorable for the season, he was generally less generous with his grades to many of the Packers' players. In this regard, he's consistent with his past evaluations. I would have hated to have this guy for a, tough grader! But he's also fair where that is called for. Several players received "incompletes" because of injuries, etc.

But one of the more shocking statements in his report card is this: "The internal debate on Favre began late Sunday night and isn't going to end any time soon, even if he decides to return for an 18th season. For perhaps the first time, there are advocates within saying it's time move on." Read that last sentence again: "For perhaps the first time, there are advocates within saying it's time move on." Yeow!

McGinn talks about how Ted Thompson may be getting itchy to get his draft pick, Aaron Rodgers, into the saddle. McGinn notes that Rodgers came into the league a year after Eli Manning, but is now 59 starts behind him. Admittedly, Brett did not play well in the Championship game, or the Dallas or final Chicago game. His play, although not his alone, helped account for three of the Pack's four losses. But his play, although not his alone, also helped account for 14 wins...which no one had predicted even in their wildest dreams.

So it does become an interesting point of conversation, perhaps more so this year than the last two: will the Packers be better off moving on to the Aaron Rodgers era, or is the team best positioned to ride Brett's arm one more time in the hopes of getting to the Super Bowl? If you care to voice your opinion on this question, we've set up a poll in our usual place in the righthand column. We'll keep it open through Super Bowl Sunday.

We can also discuss what needs the Packers may try to meet in the draft and free agency. But we now have plenty of time for that in the weeks and months ahead.

Friday, January 25, 2008

For the stat-heads

Everything - well, almost - you wanted to know about this Packers' season (dang, it still hurts to talk about it in the past sense, doesn't it?) from a statistical point of view can found be in this article. Good bar bet info at the least. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Getting attention

As noted in the visual component of our Monday post, the Packers Bikini Girls were about the only bright spot of the game on Sunday. Guess we weren't the only ones who noticed. The young ladies -- two sisters and a cousin, and all college students -- have been on ESPN, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and in Sports Illustrated. Can Maxim be far behind? Nope. Check out this article for more.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Frozen game plan

A few of the things being cited for the Packers' loss to the Giants on Sunday are lack of rushing attempts and CB Al Harris getting burned repeatedly by receiver Plaxico Burress. (Yes, there are plenty of other things, too, some of which are mentioned in the poll you can vote in located in the righthand column.) But both of those are really part of a single item: the game plan.

For whatever reasons, the Packers' coaches devised a game plan geared almost solely toward a passing attack to exploit the Giants' banged up secondary, while also keeping their man-to-man bump-and-run coverage in place on defense. Couldn't really argue with the defensive part of the plan given the success most of the year. The rationale of going with an almost an exclusive passing attack given the perceived gaps in the Giants' secondary also seems logical, although perhaps not given the weather conditions which need to be factored in as well...and not to mention a 200+ yard rushing attack just the week before.

The only problem with the game plan was this: it wasn't working. And it wasn't working early. The coaches then had two options: adapt the plan to emphasize the rushing game more to at least keep the passing game viable and change the defensive coverage to give Harris help; or, stick with what wasn't working. The answer wasn't as obvious as most of us would have thought. The coaches decided to stick with the plan and sink or swim with it. Sadly, we know how that worked out.

Coach Mike McCarthy and his assistants will have the offseason to evaluate not only their players' performances during this game, but also their own. For the tremendous job that McCarthy has done in resurrecting the Packers, this was his first time as head coach in a championship game. The lesson of being adaptable is one which is sometimes learned the hard way. As in this loss.

There's a good article about this same topic in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. You can read it here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Football loss hangover

Let's see a show of hands of those with a football loss hangover today (no, not that kind of hangover)? You know, the general malaise that sets in knowing it's all over? OK...guess we're going to need a much bigger room...

I was able to rationalize the loss last night before going to bed. But, during the I the only one whose subconscious was on overdrive, waking up throughout the night with crystal clear explanations behind the loss? Man...

The post-game analysis -- i.e., therapy -- will continue in the days ahead. What can we do in the meantime to raise our spirits? Well, one bright spot yesterday had to be the appearance of the Packers Bikini Girls. Yes, it's a cheap thrill. But at this point, it's about all we have.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Final: Giants 23 - Packers 20

On the second play from scrimmage in overtime, Brett Favre threw his second interception of the game, allowing the Giants to take over the ball at about the Packers' 35-yard line.

The Pack gave the Giants opportunity after opportunity and they finally took advantage of it on a 47-yard field goal.

Congrats to the Giants.

And congrats to the Pack on a most unexpected -- and successful -- season. Too bad it had to end this way. This was not the Packers' best game, by any sense of the word.

The loss hurts for many reasons. It's a game the Pack could have and should have won. But more on this tomorrow. Including hopefully learning why the Pack stayed away from the running game from the get-go, never even giving it a shot to work.

If you care to express your opinion on the most disappointing aspect of the Packers' loss, I invite you to vote in the new poll (open through Friday afternoon) in the righthand column.

We're going to overtime: Packers 20 - Giants 20

The NFC Champs for this year are...not quite yet.

In a game where they controlled the time of possession by more than a quarter, and where the Packers' offense was moribund in the second half, the Giants did what they needed to do when they needed to do it. Except make two field goals, including a short one as time expired which would have won the game.

Stay tuned. Momentum is all with the Giants. But anything can happen....especially since the Packers just won the coin toss and will receive first in overtime. Go Pack Go!!!

Halftime: Packers 10 - Giants 6

The Packers' defense has held the Giants' scoring drives to two field goals, much as the Patriots did versus the Chargers in today's earlier AFC Championship Game. Give 'em the field goals, just don't let them into the end zone. The Pats let the Chargers kick four field goals and won 21-10. The Packers, despite -- surprisingly -- not running the ball at all, after being down 6-0, went up 7-6 quickly on a 90-yard TD pass from Brett to Donald Driver. That's how quickly it can change. The Pack had field position late in the half but had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to make the score 10-6.

Both Brett and Giants' QB Eli Manning seem to be passing the ball well. The Pack has only pressured Manning a few times and wound up the half with a 4th and 8 sack by A. J. Hawk. Plaxico Burress is winning the battle versus Al Harris at present, but if they keep going to that well don't be surprised if Harris winds up getting a pick in the second half.

The Pack defense has a done a great bend-don't-break job in the first half. The Packers' passing offense has worked pretty well given the conditions. But the running game has got to be turned up a notch in the second half to control time of possession and put some more points on the board.

Thirty minutes away from the Super Bowl. Go Pack Go!!!

Let's play already!

So, this is it. The NFC Championship Game. A replay (of sorts) of the last time the Packers and Giants faced off for the championship back in 1962. Except that was played in New York (when the Giants actually played in New York and not a neighborhing state). And the players were different. And it wasn't anywhere near as cold. But other than that...

Anyway, game day has finally arrived. Although judging by all the sports coverage -- particularly if you reside in the great state of Wisconsin -- game day has been happening since the Pack beat the Seahawks last Saturday...and then it cranked up exponentially once the Giants sent the Cowgirls home earlier than many expected.

Are there any story lines that haven't already been discussed, aired, debated, or even complained about? Probably somewhere. But they are getting harder to come by. Which means that if the Packers do as most expect and go to the Super Bowl, we may be digging even deeper into sports minutiae than previously thought possible.

Still, some of these stories have been pretty good ones: Ryan Grant, obviously; Tauscher and Seubert; Brett as always; the guy from Australia who moved his whole family to Green Bay for this season; folks from around the country and around the world being Packers fans; churches re-arranging services to not interfere with kickoff time; superstitions that fans have while watching the game (for the record, I am once again wearing exactly the same combination of Packers gear as last week and will again be imbibing my preferred libation from my mug -- yes, a shameless commercial plug, but what the heck); the list could go on.

One new story that is worth checking out, though, concerns how the "old" Packers are rooting for these "new" Packers. "Glory Years" players such as Jerry Kramer, Jim Taylor, and Herb Adderly have some interesting insights, as well as advice for the youngsters on how to play in perhaps the coldest game they will ever play in. And Jerry Kramer admits to getting so excited about this game today that "I'm starting to throw a forearm shiver at the door jam." This from a 71-year-old...who would probably still throw on a jersey and execute a key block if asked to.

Kramer would also offer this pregame advice to the team: "Shut out the noise. Get by yourself and think about things a little bit. Think about where you are and what your opportunity is and what it represents. There's no need to get overly excited. Stay cool. Keep your temperature down. Keep your pulse rate normal. But here's an opportunity to step on a world stage and perform. The only reason you're here is because you're very good, so you don't need to worry about being very good. But you can worry about being perfect. So just try to play the best game you've ever played and if you leave everything on the field, and you give it your best shot, Mondays aren't so hard to deal with. Go get them."

Go get them, indeed! Chances are, he might have used some different verbiage outside of a family newspaper, but you get the idea. You can read that story in its entirety here.

The Prediction

The spread for the game is still 7 points. And judging from the poll here at (open until kickoff time today), more than 80% of those voting believe the Pack will win by at least that much.

This is one of those games where, if the weather were not a factor, it would be an easy call. Maybe it should still be. But as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Packers reporter, Bob McGinn, points out in his Packers Insider article (online subscription only, unless you can find a print copy) the weather may well negate some of the Packers' inherent advantages, especially in the passing game. Running the ball will be a key for the Packers today. If Ryan Grant can have even half the game he had last weekend that will go a long way toward helping the Packers control the clock and the game. That means the "O" line has to control the Giants excellent front four. It also means when the Giants come with their myriad blitz schemes, the line picks them up, protects Brett, and makes creases for Grant to squeeze through. It means hanging on to the ball. And on the defensive side of things, it means getting pressure -- lots of it -- on Eli, as well as bottling up the Giants' two good running backs. If Atari Bigby can put the fear of God into the Giants' receivers as he did last week against Seattle, all the better. We want them looking for where the big hit is coming from, not for the ball. And special teams? Please, be special... whether kicking or receiving or covering...don't blow it. And if you can contribute a big play, all the better.

The Pack is the better team playing at home. The only way they lose is if they self-destruct. They learned that lesson well in Chicago a few weeks ago. It will be colder. But it won't be as windy. The team learned a valuable lesson there: for 60 minutes, you have to shut out the conditions and play as if you want it more than the other guys. Don't believe the hype about "a team of destiny"; that and a dollar will buy you tomorrow's paper outlining how you got beat. This is a chance to make a statement. It doesn't come around very often. And you have to make the most of every play because you don't know which play can make the difference between a win and a loss.

So, having said all that -- oh yeah, there could be more, but why bother? -- here's my call: Packers 27 - Giants 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A tale of two Wisconsin guys

Yes, that headline could definitely be a set up for more than a few jokes. Likely concerning such things as beer, cheese, deer, bratwurst and any number of bodily functions. Individually or all together, the possibilities are mind-boggling.

But in this case, it's the story of two small town -- about 10 miles apart -- Wisconsin boys who find themselves playing against each other in the NFC Championship Game. That would be Mark Tauscher, starting right tackle for the Pack, and Rich Seubert, starting left guard for the Giants. Both are examples of what happens when you believe in yourself and work hard, as neither were sought-after players going into or coming out of college. Tauscher was a 7th round draft pick and Seubert was an undrafted free agent. Yet, here they are in the biggest games of their careers playing for a shot at the Super Bowl.

It's a great story. And you can read all about it here.

Yes, if it had been the Pack vs. the Cowgirls tomorrow instead, we'd still have a similar story line with QB Tony Romo, another small town (relatively speaking) Wisconsin guy. Guess that one will have to wait to another year.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Packer fans go the distance...literally

It's well known around the country that Packer fans travel to follow the team wherever they may go. At several stadiums this season, the number of visiting Packer fans in the stands gave the home team fans a run for their money.

But some fans' ideas of travelling to follow the team take on different dimensions. How about actually moving to Green Bay to be near all things Pack? That's exactly what some fans have done over the years. This season is no exception. Although one of the fans this season came from a bit farther away than usual: Australia. You may have already heard his story before. But if not, and if you also want to read the stories of some of these other Packer fans that moved to Green Bay, you can read the article here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sunday, Sunday...

Sunday. The Sabbath. The day of rest. A time to reflect. And, at least this Sunday, a time for at least one church in Wisconsin (guarantee: there are plenty more!) to move up its late Sunday afternoon service so folks can get home in time for kickoff.

The Madison Church of Christ is bumping it's usual 5 p.m. service to 4 p.m. And they recommend service-goers wear their Packers gear as well. (Now this is an enlightened church!) A smart move by the MCC. Instead of preaching to an empty church, now there is at least a chance of a few folks in the pews. (Pewgating, anyone?)

This is not an unusual occurrence in Wisconsin. Going back as long as I can remember -- which is longer than I can actually remember -- there have been instances of churches of all denominations moving schedules around to accommodate Packers' games. There also have been more than a few priests and ministers over the years that have cut their sermons short and hurried through their 11 a.m. services on game day so they could be back in their rectories for noon kickoffs. And there is at least one church not far from Lambeau Field that has been known to cancel or reschedule Sunday services to make their parking lot available for fans...for a small donation to the collection bucket, of course. (Let's see: regular Sunday collection, or parking fees...hmmm...?)

It's well known that the Packers are the Almighty's favorite team. When you have the professionals -- that would be the reverends -- making all these moves, that becomes even more evident.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bart Starr to be honorary captain Sunday

Who could be a more fitting Packers' honorary captain for the coldest game since the Ice Bowl except the quarterback of that legendary game?

According to the Packers' official website, Bart Starr will be the honorary captain for this Sunday's game, and is thrilled by the honor. And, should the Packers win the game, he will also present the championship trophy to the team. While Brett Favre will be a first ballot lock for the Hall of Fame, Bart is already there. Any QB that leads their team to five championships should be, right? Bart has been a Packer through and through, not only during his playing career but afterwards, as well, as head coach and always as a faithful supporter of the franchise. He was and is a true Packer Legend.

If you want to read more about Bart, his role Sunday, and a few of his memories of that last really cold game 40 -- count 'em, 40! -- years ago, click here.

Forecast for Sunday's NFC Championship Game

Last Saturday the Pack beat the Seahawks in the Snow Bowl, "a winter wonderland" as Coach Mike McCarthy called it. Indeed, the temperature wasn't bad and neither was the wind. But the forecasters were all wrong, saying there would perhaps be a half-inch of snow by the end of the game. As viewers were able to see for themselves -- especially by viewing the snow-laden hat of Seattle coach Mike "The Snowman" Holmgren and having to squint at times to see the players through the falling snow -- the forecasters were just a weeeee bit off.

So, what's the forecast for this Sunday's game? Temperature forecasts that range from 8 above to 4 below...and that's not counting wind chill. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "The wind at game time is expected to be about 10 mph from the west. 'It shouldn't be all that bad,' said weather service meteorologist Phil Kurimski, but will be enough to drop the wind chill to about 10 degrees below zero." Some forecasts indicate the wind chill will be colder than that. As Brett Favre mentioned in his press briefing today, whichever team makes the fewest mistakes in these conditions will be the team that comes out on top. He said that everything you do in a game like this, even something as simple as a handoff, needs to be done with thought, with concentration.

Last weekend's game was positively balmy compared to what's expected for this Sunday night's game. But this game will still not compare to the legendary Ice Bowl between the Pack and Cowboys back in the Glory Days of 1967. This could very well be a close second, though. What can we call it? The Frostbite Bowl? The Brrrr Bowl? The Frozen Bits Bowl? (If any of these get picked up, remember I hold the copyright and trademark! You read it here first!) I'm sure lots of creative variations will emerge.

But if you're attending the game, the recommended attire is at least 5 or 6 layers of everything. And no, that is not a joke. What will be funny is seeing 70,000+ fans crammed into the stands all looking like the Michelin Man...except for the guys without the shirts, of course.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Win Packer Tickets Here

You can enter once per day and the winner is announced on Jan 17th, this is offered through the Packers Official Website.

Hey, you've got about a 4 in 250,000 chance.... Why not ?

Packers are early 7 point favorites

The oddsmakers have made the Packers an early 7 favorite for Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. Considering the Packers are as healthy as they have been all season, and the Giants are hurting, that seems to be a fair spread at this point. Now, factor in the weather forecast for Sunday and that adds another entire dimension to the game. Single digit temperatures are forecast for the game, with perhaps a high of 7. Throw in the wind chill...maybe not the Ice Bowl, but could be close. This will be the latest that a game has ever been played at Lambeau.

The early take -- at least from here -- is that the Packers' defense should be able to keep -- change that, must keep -- the Giants' offense in check. If they can get to "the other Manning" a few times, he can be rattled. Given the air temps, and depending upon the wind, the ground game will be key. The Giants have two good running backs. But if the Packers' "D" plays as they did against the Seahawks, their impact can be minimized.

That takes us over to the offensive side of things. The Packers are firing on all cylinders, and have their full complement of weapons. The offensive line will be challenged once again by a very good front four, including perhaps the best pair of defensive ends they've faced all year. When the Pack played the Giants earlier in the season, Michael Strahan was still rounding back into form after a training camp holdout and Osi Umenyiora had a banged up knee. Strahan played with a groin injury yesterday against the Cowboys, but replays showed many occasions when the Cowboys still double-teamed him. Tackle Mark Tauscher will once again be called upon to bring his he always does. He neutralized league sack leader Patrick Kerney into a non-entity during the game Saturday. He will need to do the same with Strahan. Chad Clifton will have to maintain control of Umenyiora, who has quick moves. But given the fact that these teams have both played each other, they pretty well know what to expect.

Brett will need to manage the passing game as he did Saturday, and Ryan Grant will need to reprise his fumble-free game. Hanging on to the football will be key. Conditions will be challenging, the field may be frozen, and the Super Bowl is on the line.

It's kind of like the Blue Brothers equivalent of "We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, we're wearing sunglasses, and it's night. Hit it!"

Poll Open
Newly added to the righthand column (under the store link) is the poll for this week's game: What will be the Packers' margin of victory versus the Giants? Voting is now open and will continue until gametime on Sunday.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's Packers vs. Giants in NFC Title Game

Who'da thunk it at the beginning of the year? The Pack vs. the Giants in the NFC Championship Game? At Lambeau Field next Sunday? Quite an improbable season for both teams.

The Giants took care of the Cowboys 21-17 in Dallas this evening, with the Giants' defense coming up big when it needed to down the stretch, finishing with an interecption in the endzone on 4th down in the closing seconds of the game. Let's hear that sound of heartbreak for Dallas, shall we? (sound of crickets only here) Yeah, it's a shame. (Apply your own sarcastic tone as you say that.) It's the first time since the NFL seeding process was instituted in 1990 that the #1 seed lost in the Divisional playoff round. Awwwwwww...

There will be more on this upcoming game in the days ahead, of course. But for now, isn't it sweet to know that the Title game comes back to Lambeau, and the Pack is one step away from going to the Super Bowl? Oh, yeaaaaaaaaaah, baby!!!


Packers v. Giants at Lambeau! We are so happy right now! I cannot explain!

Snowy Day in Lambeau!

What a great game... I sit here now watching Dallas play the Giants. All I can say is that I hope Dallas loses.

On another note: I would like to thank the most faithful blogger, packerphan Thanks for your tireless updates!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Packers beat Seahawks 42-20

The 4th quarter saw the Pack get a 1st and goal from the 3 following a nice drive and a roughing penalty. On 2nd and 1 from the 1, Ryan Grant got his 3rd rushing TD, setting a team playoff rushing record and taking the Packers out to a 42-20 lead. He also set a team playoff rushing yards record with 201 yards before exiting the game to rest up for next week. In doing so, he became only the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 200 yards or more in a playoff game. I guess you could say he made up for those 2 early fumbles.

The Packers scored on 6 straight possessions following the opening turnovers. It wasn't until about 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter that the Packers had to punt for the first time.

The Packers 42 points also set a team playoff record, as did their overall 235 rushing yards.

The Pack dominated in every phase of the game. They are looking like they are on a roll. Let's keep an eye on tomorrow's game between the Giants and Cowboys to see who the Pack gets to dissect next.

But for now, this is as very very very sweet win. Enjoy it, fellow Packers fans!

Go Pack Go!!!

End of 3rd quarter: Packers 35 - Seahawks 20

On the Packers first drive of the second half, after holding Seattle on their first drive, they scored a TD on their fifth straight drive to go up 35-17. Ryan Grant went over 100 yards for the game on the drive, and Brett threw his first TD pass of the season to a running back (not his first TD pass of the season...well, you know what I mean). Brandon Jackson took a little dump off pass 12 yards for a TD.

On Seattle's next series, they were able to take the ball down to within field goal range and converted to make the score 35-20.

On the Pack's next drive, Grant broke off a 41-yard run to take the ball down to the Seattle 16. Grant has already set a Packers playoff record for rushing yardage with 167 yards on 20 carries...and we're just going into the fourth quarter.

The snow is falling hard and you can't even see the yard markers any longer. It's becoming hard to even see the players...especially the guys in the white uniforms.

End of half: Packers 28 - Seahawks 17

What a game! The 2nd quarter began with a Seattle screen pass and a hard hit from Atari Bigby causing a fumble, recovered by Aaron Kampman at Seattle's 16-yard line. A few plays later, Brett threw a beautiful touch fade pass to Greg Jennings in the endzone. Packers 21 - Seattle 14.

The Pack then held Seattle on their next drive to fourth and inches. However, Brandon Jackson roughed the punter and the Seahawks were able to continue their drive, culminating in a 29-yard field goal. Packers 21 - Seattle 17.

The Packers the drove the ball down the field. The highlight of the drive was Brett nearly getting tripped up in the pocket, stumbling out, seeing Donald Lee a few yards ahead, pitching the ball to him and getting a first down. A few plays later, Ryan Grant rushed the ball in from the 3 to put the Packers ahead 28-17 going into the half.

The 28 first half points by the Packers tied their own playoff record from 1983 set by the Lynn Dickey-led Packers.

Take a deep breath Packers fans. Amidst the snow, the turnovers, the hard hitting, and the great play by Brett and others, the Packers lead by 11. If they continue to play with the urgency and passion of the first half, Seattle might as well start packing for home. But you know a Mike Holmgren-led team won't go away easily. They'll try for more turnovers, which is the only way they can stay in the game. Packers turnovers and penalties in the first half led directly to the 17 points the Seahawks now have. If the Pack doesn't turn the ball over and plays as crisply as they did in the first half, we can take this one to the bank. But let's just make sure we close it out strong and give next week's NFC Championship Game opponent a lot of things to worry about.

Go Pack Go!!!

End of 1st quarter: Packers 14 - Seahawks 14

The game couldn't have started any worse for the Packers. After taking the kickoff, Ryan Grant fumbled on the 1st play, a screen pass, and Seattle recovered at the Packers 1-yard line. One play later, Seattle led 7-0. On the second play of the next series, Grant fumbled again at the 50. The defense failed to hold and with about 11 minutes remaining in the first quarter, Seattle led 14-0. Not good.

But, on the ensuing kickoff, Tramon Williams returned the kick to about the Packers 40-yard line. The Pack then drove for a TD to trail 14-7. The drive saw Brett go 5 for 5 on passing, including a 15-yard TD pass to WR Greg Jennings. It also saw Grant get some redemption with runs of 25 and 16 yards.

The Pack defense then held Seattle, and put together another drive. Fittingly, Grant scored on a 1-yard run. As the commentators were saying, Grant was running like a man possessed on the drive.

The quarter ended with the Packers and Seahawks tied, 14-14.

Packers vs. Seahawks: Let's get ready to...

WIN! That's what it's all about, baby. Win and go on, lose and go home. Let's see, the Seahawks have to get on a jet anyway to return to Seattle. So might as well send 'em home with a loss.

And that's what the Packers will do today. They will beat the Seahawks and former coach Mike Holmgren by a score of 24-17. There are lots of storylines within this game, most of which have already been covered by the national media ad nauseum. So no need to go into those here.

What it all boils down to is who wants it more, who executes, and who makes the fewest mistakes. You have to believe that Brett and the veterans on this team -- Rob Davis, Donald Driver, Mark Tauscher, KGB, Aaron Kampman, Ryan Pickett, to name a few -- will show the youngsters on the squad the way to the promised land, starting today. Take care of business the way you have most of the season and only good things can happen. That's what it comes down to.

So. without further ado...Go Pack Go!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another reason the Seahawks should lose

It's always difficult to think of a kicker deciding a game, especially with so many other stars that can impact a game. But as we all know, many games are won or lost on the foot of a kicker.

That's why we have reason -- another one -- to believe in our heart of hearts that the Seahawks will lose the game tomorrow against the Packers. Their kicker, Josh Brown, has battery-powered warm up pants that he'll be wearing on the sidelines. Puh-leze. Check the story out for yourself here. And then cheer that he shanks every kick he attempts during the game.

Who's the leader of the Pack?

Undoubtedly we'd answer that question with the name Brett Favre. And that's true in so many ways, on and off the field. But you might be surprised to learn that, among a survey of some Packers' players, another name pops up that you might not expect, especially as regards leadership in the locker room: long snapper Rob Davis. Today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has an excellent article about this topic of team leadership and Davis in particular. You can find it here.

Packers Pep Rally Underway
Tonight's sold-out fan pep rally at Lambeau Field is underway. 15,000 fans are bundled up and enjoying themselves. Actually, some have been enjoying themselves for hours: where else but at Lambeau would fans tailgate before a pep rally? Bring on some fomer Packer favorites -- Jerry Kramer, Frank Winters, Dorsey Levens, Antonio Freeman and more -- along with outgoing Packers CEO Bob Harlan and GM Ted Thompson, and you have the makings of a fun night. For those fans in Wisconsin who couldn't get a ticket tonight, the rally is being broadcast live on WTMJ-4 TV out of Milwaukee. Again, where else but here?

Pre-rally coverage showed fans on hand from all across the country, and even one fan from Germany.

It's great to be a Packers fan! And it will be great to get a win tomorrow!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brett will be back, he tells Biloxi newspaper

In an exclusive with the Biloxi SunHerald newspaper, Brett Favre basically says he'll be back next season for his 18th year. "It's been a fun year and winning has made it a good year," Favre said. "For the first time in a couple of years, at this point, my focus is solely on Seattle and winning a playoff game at home." He also said, "For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game. I would like to continue longer."

And why wouldn't he? He's playing as well as ever. If Tom Brady hadn't been on a 16-0 team, Brett likely would have won his 4th MVP Award. The Packers have surrounded Brett with a young and explosive team on offensive and defense. And with cap room of more than $20 million available for the offseason, GM Ted Thompson can wheel and deal for free agents and draft choices that might cement the Pack's status as one of the elite teams in the league for years to come. Brett can ride this team as long as he's healthy and has that fire, which certainly shows no signs of diminishing.

It's nice to not be looking at these playoff games as also seeing Brett ride off into the sunset. The only thing he'll be riding will be his lawn tractor until camp starts again...and that will be after the Pack wins this year's Super Bowl.

If you care to read the entire story from the SunHerald, go here.

Packers favored by 8

We're just two days away from the Divisional playoff game between the Packers and Seahawks at Lambeau Field. The early weather forecast has temps in the upper 20s, with a chance of scattered flurries. So, not bad for mid-January. But, when it comes to weather this time of year in the upper Midwest, that can change pretty quickly, too. Game day conditions could be quite different. And winds can and do affect the ball down inside the stadium bowl. One would hope that kicker Mason Crosby gets out of the indoor practice facility during the next day or two and kicks inside Lambeau to get a better feel for the field and the winds. While you'd hate to see this game come down to a field goal, it certainly isn't out of the question.

But, oddsmakers now have the point spread up to 8 points in favor of the Pack. That's a lot for a regular NFL game, let alone a playoff game. You can be sure the Walrus, er, Coach Holmgren, will have his Seahawks players whipped into a frenzy with the "no respect" aspect of this. It's a veteran team, with more than a few players who were on the squad for the overtime loss the last time these two teams met in the playoffs...and which, by the way, was so wonderfully summarized by that photo of Al Harris' interception posted by happyguy...can never get enough of that one.

This time around, though, one would expect Holmgren and QB Matt Hasselbeck to try to exploit Atari Bigby, Tramon Williams and those DBs whose names don't end in Harris or Woodson. How well that ultimately works -- and perhaps, which way the game goes -- might be dictated by whether or not the refs decide to decide (not a redundancy) the game with ticky-tack pass interference penalties early on. If that happens, that will take the Pack out of its aggressive bump-and-run coverage approach and open things up for the Seahawks receivers. Holmgren has four good receivers, and he will spread things out early and test the Pack's young DBs. If he doesn't get the reception he may get the penalty call. Either way, it takes the Pack away from it's game, and could allow the Seahawks to go downfield quickly on penalty yards.

The best scenario, of course, is for the Pack to come out on fire, both offensively and defensively. On "D," the Pack has to get pressure on Hasselbeck. Aaron Kampman and KGB must be on top of their games. In the middle, Ryan Picket and the other run stuffers must keep Shaun Alexander in check. The linebacking corps has to support the line and watch for the screen passes which are sure to come. The DBs have to play smart. As for the offense, Brett has to get off to a quick start and good rhythm. The line has to protect against a fast Seahawks front 7, while still opening holes for Ryan Grant, who could have a big day. The Packers receiving corps could also have a banner day if Brett gets the protection he needs.

And while we're talking about Packers receivers, let's not forget the Koren Robinson angle. Don't you think he'd like to break off a big kick return or pop for a TD against his old team? You bet.

So...this is the early take on things. More to come before the game.

But in the meantime, you can vote in the poll posted in the righthand column under the store link. If you're a Packers fan, you already believe the Pack will win; the only question is, by how many points? And that's the poll question. So, have your say. Will the game be close? Or a blowout? My prediction will be posted the day of the game.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Excited for Packer Playoffs

This is an horribly anxious week for me as no Green Bay Playoff game. I for one am very excited about Seattle and Mike Holmgren's return to chilly Green Bay. Let's pray for some decent weather, and a good Farve showing. I hope for a complete blowout. This will show the NFL that Green Bay might just make it all the way this season! Let's give Seattle a run for their money, as we continue to wait for the Super Bowl of New England v. Green Bay! At least that's my prediction!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Packers face Seahawks next weekend

Seattle beat Washington this afternoon, 35-14, which means Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck will be returning to Green Bay next Saturday for their Divisional playoff game against the Pack. At least one reader here saw it coming and voted as such in today's fact, the vote was unanimous (OK, there was only that one vote, but still...)

So...more analysis to come in the days ahead.

In other voting -- by a nationwide panel of sportswriters -- Brett got one vote for league MVP...Tom Brady got all the other votes...which would be 49.

Who will the Packers play next weekend? Vote!

We'll get our first indication today of who the Packers might play next weekend in the Divisional round of the playoffs: Washington plays Seattle this afternoon. If Seattle wins, they come to Lambeau. If Washington wins, we wait until tomorrow to learn whether the Giants or the Buccaneers will be coming to town.

But, in the meantime, we can have a little fun. You'll see a new poll in the righthand column right under the store link. It's open for voting until the start of today's game. So...what the heck...have your say before the teams do. And follow the Chicago political approach: vote early and vote often!

And if you haven't looked at some of the things in that sidebar area in a while (or ever), now's your chance to peruse them. Some cool links, news, and charities for you to check out.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Road signage we'd like to see

This signage will make sense to you if are driving near Milwaukee, WI. (For the geographically challenged, that would be about 2 hours south of Green Bay and about 90 minutes north of Chicago.)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Packers will have the 29th pick in '08 draft

According to the draft order released by the NFL, the Packers will have the 29th overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Here's the details:

* - Subject to Playoffs
# - Subject to Coin Flip

#, Club
Strength of Schedule
Opponents' Record

1. Miami

2. St. Louis

3. Atlanta #

4. Oakland #

5.Kansas City #

6.New York Jets

7. New England (from S.F.)

8. Baltimore


10. New Orleans

11. Buffalo

12. Denver

13. Carolina

14. Chicago

15. Detroit

16. Arizona

17. Minnesota

18. Houston


20. Tampa Bay *

21. Washington *

22. Dallas (from Cleveland)

23. Seattle *

24. Pittsburgh *

25. Tennessee *

26. New York Giants *

27.San Diego *

28. Jacksonville *

29. Green Bay *

30. Dallas *

31. San Francisco (from Ind.) *