That loud, incessant, pitiful moaning you hear, that groan of anguish, the sucking sound of breath and blood, indeed life itself, draining from the collective soul of Packer Nation, is the result of last night’s horrendous performance by those Packers in the NFC title game at the cathedral of football, Lambeau Field. Such a humbling comedown from the lofty expectations of Packer fans is nearly impossible to comprehend today in the cold and harsh reality of the day after.
It was all a bad, bad dream, right? They still have to play the game, right? This didn’t really happen, did it? That hollow feeling deep in the psyche will still be filled by the thrill of deserved victory, won’t it? This nightmare is only a momentary abberation, a slight stumble on the road to glorious triumph, right? Or not.
The unavoidable fact is that the Packers played like crap. They failed to show up in the most important game of the season. Don’t blame the weather; both teams played in the same conditions. The Packers displayed little of the offensive skill we’ve come to expect. The defense failed repeatedly, through lousy play and penalties, to stop the opponent’s offense. The unmistakable truth is that the Packers did not deserve to win the game. And so they didn’t.
So now all we are left with is the annual Bret Favre watch. Will he, or won’t he? Speculation takes the place of expectation. “Wait till next year,” has already become the hopeful mantra of the delusional, but loyal to a fault, Packer fans.
At least now I, for one, can watch the Super Bowl with a dispassionate eye of someone with no emotional stake in the outcome. If nothing else, my blood pressure will return to normal and my TV will be in little danger of being the target of angry missiles. But somehow it won’t be the same. It will just be another game.