It has been nearly 60 hours since the Packers season came to an abrupt end at the hands of the 49ers for the second consecutive year, and people are still trying to figure out what happened.
For the fourth time in less than a year, the Packers are left wondering why the 49ers have their number, and what is it going to take to defeat the defending NFC champions.
It is frustrating and irritating. Worst of all, nobody seems to have a clear answer about what the solution is.
The only thing that is certain is coaches, players, and fans alike will spend the entire off season wondering about yet another season of what could have been.
Perhaps the thing which stings the most is the path the Packers took to even get to this point.
In a span of four months, the Packers went from potentially representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, to dead in the water when they went 2-5-1 in an eight game stretch, to scratching and clawing their way into the playoffs.
To say the season was a roller coaster would be an understatement.
Yet this amusement park ride of a season appeared to be getting ready to coast into a smooth ride at just the right time.
Getting Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb back on offense just before the season ended provided an immediate spark to the team. In what some perceived as a “sign”, it was their TD connection against the Bears which propelled the Packers into the playoffs.
This victory over Chicago allowed Green Bay to host the 49ers-their new nemesis-at Lambeau Field, in the bitter cold-another “sign” that things were falling into place for this team to potentially make a magical ride through the playoffs.
And before we could blink, it was over.
So what happened? And what does this playoff loss-their third straight early exit since winning Super Bowl XLV-mean?
“I think this is the end of a window and the beginning of a new one. This is the year when we can open up a window that can last for four or five years. It looks really bright.”
This comment is a curious one for the face of the franchise to make just a few days after yet another early playoff exit for the Packers.
Does this imply that there are major changes on the horizon for the Packers?
Could it mean that the team could look significantly different heading into next season, as they begin the process of determining which of their 17 free agents to resign?
Maybe the opening of the new window has something to do with who the Packers draft in April?
Is he implying that Ted Thompson will venture into free agency to find some veteran players who can step in and fill the cracks in the team, instead of relying solely on his draft and develop policy?
Perhaps a combination of some of the above?
No one is really sure, as this message can be interpreted several different ways.
One final theory about the meaning is that Rodgers has accepted the painful truth of what the reality is: that this team, constructed to win NOW, has failed to do so in four of the five seasons they were expected to do so. And in failing to do so, the window that was opened in 2009 has now closed, and it is time to open another one.
What that new window would bring exactly is anyone’s guess. But before the Packers can begin to even peek out this new window, they need to take a long look at their neighbors 2,200 miles to the west, and figure out a way to defeat them.
As it stands right now, they are the ones slamming the windows on the fingers of the Packers.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.