OnFocus – For any Packer fan, the biggest game of the NFL season will leave a sour taste in their mouth no matter who wins. It has been two weeks since Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to Green Bay and pulled out a playoff victory. Yet, seeing the media coverage focused on the 43-year-old quarterback and his team hurts a little bit more this year.
The reasons this season seemed to be a more desperate attempt to make it back to the big game are overwhelming. A quarterback nearing the end of his career, a salary cap conundrum forcing the hand of executives to cut ties with players and the historic nature of an offense that hasn’t looked that way since 2011 gave Wisconsin sports fans hope that they would finally see a team break through the playoff woes.
A defense that had shown improvements throughout the year made the plays that the team needed but still gave up over 30 points. The offense wasn’t able to take advantage of those plays and on the brink of tying up the game, the coaching staff made a decision to take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’s hands and put it into Tom Brady’s.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but that may be a decision that is up there with the depressing plays of the past.
There have been many heartbreaking moments. Brandon Bostick, muffing the onside kick against Seattle, the Aaron Rodgers-Jeff Janis Hail Mary to send it to overtime only to have the defense let Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald march down the field and score a game-winning touchdown, and less recently, the 4th-and-26 in the 2003 Divisional Round against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Yet, for the fourth time in seven seasons, Packer fans watched as their opponent walked off the field in the NFC Championship Game victorious.
Our attention shifts to the game and day that is everything but a holiday in this country. A man deemed the “G.O.A.T.” or “Greatest of All-Time” in Tom Brady will be going up against a man deemed “the Baby G.O.A.T.” in Patrick Mahomes.
The big game is almost deemed a national holiday. People will still gather to watch the game, snacks will be consumed along with adult beverages, and America will come together to experience the biggest football game of the year.
Last year, nearly 100 million people worldwide watched as the Chiefs came back to beat the San Francisco 49ers. But for many Cheeseheads, this one will hurt to watch and what could have been will haunt the minds of Packers fans for a while.
The game will be played on Sunday, someone will hoist the Lombardi Trophy, and it will reside in a different town other than Titletown for another season.
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