When speaking about what to make of the Packers’ legacy in the Favre and Rodgers Era there is two distinctive camps. 1) With two hall of fame quarterbacks the Packers should have far more than two Super Bowl victories and 2) We are spoiled and have enjoyed success that most fans could only dream off. There is not much in between. The former tends to be younger, saying the latter is soft for being satisfied with just being good. While the latter almost invariably talk about what the 80’s were like, with the occasional reference to great quarterbacks such as Dan Marino who never won a title.
There has been much buzz and discussion about this since the season ended. Tim Backes over at Cheeshead TV makes the argument for that latter and states that the success that the Patriots have had since 2001 have made our expectations unreasonable. https://m.cheeseheadtv.com/blog/an-impossible-standard-of-success-how-the-patriots-have-forever-changed-fan-expectations-422
So who is right? Well, lets take a look at the numbers.
Since the Favre trade, in 25 seasons, the Packers have two Super Bowl titles, three NFC Championships, three other NFC championship appearances, 12 division titles, 19 playoff appearances, a regular season record of 251-148-1 and a playoff record of 20-17. Every fan of every team would take that for the next 25 years. And if you talked to a Patriots fan in 1992 (which they barely existed until 2001, even in New England), they would have taken that level of success. By any measurement that is successful. And this is especially true if you lived through football hell, that was Packers football during the 80’s.
On the flip side, the clichéd argument goes that when you have elite quarterback for 25 years, you should have more to show for it than two titles (the youngens focus mostly on A-Rod). To take it further, consider these failures which are listed in order of best chance to win a Super Bowl on down along with a couple other points to consider.
• The Packers were 11.5 point favorites in Super Bowl 32 before losing by a touchdown to the Broncos. This implies the chances of the Packers winning, were at around 85%.
• 2014 NFC Champ meltdown – Obviously the chances of them winning that game at any point in the second half, prior to the onside kick was 95% or better. With 12’s calf having two weeks to heal, they would have been a pick’em against the Patriots, whom they put up 478 yards on two months earlier.
• In 2011, the Packers were two touchdown favorites at home against the Giants, giving them a 90%+ chance of winning. Had they won, they would have been favorites in the next two games, albeit not significant favorites against the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
• In 2007, the Packers were 8 point favorites vs the Giants in the NFC Championship game. That implies odds of winning at around 75-80%. They would have been large underdogs to the Patriots that year, so this ranks below the others in missed chances.
• And most other seasons they had a legit shot at a title. 1995, 1998 , 2001, 2002, 2003, 2012, 2015, 2016 all were years in which they had teams that were contenders and maybe, just maybe needed that one or two extra pieces, to get them over the top which recently Thompson did not do.
• The Packers have had the league’s MVP 5 times. This means the got the best production for most important position, 20% of the time dating back to the Favre trade.
• On the other side, in 2010 they basically won four straight pick’em games in the playoffs. Try flipping a coin, and see how often you get heads four times in a row. Its very rare. To be specific is 6.25%. That is what that playoff run was like. And that doesn’t include the three straight they won to get into the playoffs, with help from Michael Vick and Desean Jackson as well.
So what is it? Based on the quality of the Packers’ quarterbacks and their teams successes, the Packers should have more than two titles across both eras. Between 2011 and 1997 one should be a given. Then another one between the three NFC Championship appearances is reasonable with a chance at one more in the other playoff defeats is more than reasonable. Even if you take away the unlikely run in 2010, based on this the Packers should have had at least three, maybe four Super Bowls. This has absolutely nothing to do with the Patriots and their level of success. It is totally unrelated.
Expectations can and should change based on changing circumstances and with that said, they have underachieved. Take Phil Mickelson, who has had a very successful golfing career. In fact he is one of the best of his era, and will be considered an all time great but he will tell you that he should have had more than five majors as much as he contended. And that has nothing to do with Tiger Woods (Patriots). The same can be said for the Packers, who while wildly successful, have fallen short of expectations considering the circumstances Now lets hope two turns into three or four with the next Gutekunst.Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz