Editor’s note: Chris Callaway and Amanda Lawson teamed up to write this article about their beloved team, the Green Bay Packers.
Chris: Amanda Lawson and I are not just part-owners of the Green Bay Packers. We’re die-hards. The loss to the Giants this weekend sucks. But Packers fans, keep in mind all that your team has achieved and what it stands for.
I think I can speak for both Amanda and myself in saying that February 6, 2011, was one of the happiest days of our lives. The Green Bay Packers capped off an incredible run through the playoffs with a 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. It’s been just shy of a full calendar year since then, and Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants makes me realize just what kind of year it has been.
The Packers won 19 straight games. 19! That’s incredible. My confidence from the Super Bowl run carried through to the regular season, and then topping the Saints in Week 1 started raising that level of confidence even more. Yet it made my expectations, and the expectations of the rest of the Packers’ faithful go through the roof.
Green Bay returned a better team this season than the team that won the Super Bowl. With that logic, there’s no reason the Packers shouldn’t have won the Super Bowl this season. Then a seemingly unassuming trip to Kansas City started to let doubt creep into my mind.
Amanda: One loss against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Packers became a 13-1 team. The best record in the NFL but the media turned on them. Overrated. Weak. It had been almost a year since the Green and Gold team had lost a game with one of the most powerful offenses in the league, yet they were no longer considered a threat. With each win during the 2011 season, the team elevated expecations across the league. First to perfect 19-0 season. Then to back-to-back Super Bowl Championships.
They bounced back from their loss to Kansas City dominating Chicago Bears on Christmas and sending quarterback Matt Flynn to break records in a win against the Detroit Lions. With a bye for the first week of playoffs, the Packers took advantage of the extra week of rest.
On January 15th, 2012, the New York Giants walked onto Lambeau Field and played one hell of a game to beat a team that was almost unrecognizable. The offense was uncharacteristically off-sync with dropped catches, fumbles, and sacks.
Last year, our defense held us in the games even made game changing plays to help secure wins in the playoffs. This year, they couldn’t make the same plays. With four minutes in the 4th quarter, I began to let reality sink in, still holding on for a win but knowing a loss was possible. What, why, how questions running through my head.
Chris: There shouldn’t be excuses made for the Packers losing to the Giants. It wasn’t one thing. Green Bay even caught a few breaks, and still lost by 17. It was a beatdown. Eli Manning outplayed Aaron Rodgers. Jake Ballard outplayed Jermichael Finley. New York’s front four
outplayed Green Bay’s by a mile.
Packers fans got used to winning. We expected it week in and week out. Whether it took a last-second field goal, a late interception, or if the game was just a blowout, Packers fans, and honestly, Packers players too, expected to win. And why shouldn’t they? 19 straight wins, plus an offseason of everybody gushing over how good they were and would be the next season, can build up a great deal of confidence.
To watch an offense play at the level Green Bay did, which was deservedly compared to some of the best of all time, was incredible. Whether is was a perfectly timed slant pass to Greg Jennings or a play-action bomb to Jordy Nelson, the Packers were certainly fun to watch. But the level that the offense played covered up some serious flaws that the team had. In an entire calendar year, only two teams were able to fully expose those flaws.
Sunday’s beatdown can overshadow the six straight wins to close out last season, plus this year’s 15-1 regular season. The loss sucks. I’m still in shock. But that’s because the past year has made me a more passionate, intelligent, and defensive Packers fan. Heck, Amanda and I each shelled out $275 that we could have probably put to a much better use, just to own a glorified piece of paper saying that we were part-owners of what we consider the greatest professional sports franchise on Earth.
Amanda: I own my football team, as does Chris. How many of you can say that? Mock us if you like, but as an entire fan base we hold more pride in our team than any other fan holds in theirs. Whether we win a Super Bowl Championship or have an unexpected loss before the NFC Championship game; whether Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers makes a glorified pass to Jordy Nelson or backup Matt Flynn takes the field to finish out the season, we will always cheer on our beloved Packers.
Packer fans are there through thick and thin, during the good times and the bad. That’s what makes this fan base so incredible. Sure, we’ve picked up our fair share of bandwagoners like any Super Bowl Champion does. They will come and go as quickly as the snow piles up on a cold February day in Green Bay. But the true Packers fan never waivers, admits an opponents strengths, and prides their teams glories.
Chris: While this loss hurt, it’s about perspective. The Packers have won 13 world championships, including four Super Bowls. Last season was incredible, and this season fell short. But you know what, we’re still going to have a hell of a team to cheer for next season.