After a 23-10 loss in which the Packers gave a lackluster performance, the main headline is not the said lackluster performance. The headline-grabbing story from the 23-10 loss, is the potentially season-ending injury suffered by Aaron Rodgers. The injury was sustained on a late hit by Anthony Barr which occurred after Rodgers threw a pass to Martellus Bennett after rolling out of the pocket. Aaron Rodgers took exception to the hit, and rightfully so, as he had already released the ball and was in a vulnerable position at the point of impact.
Reaction from the Fan’s Point of View (How I am feeling)
It was the best of times, (4-1 after the win against the Cowboys) and it was the worst of times, (4-2 with the potential of losing Aaron Rodgers for the season along with injuries sustained to every offensive lineman). Charles Dickens must have been a Packer fan, because he truly encompasses the pulse of Packer Nation after traumatic moments like the one we all witnessed on Sunday afternoon. The point of impact from Anthony Barr’s late hit, left Packer nation holding its collective breath and hoping for the best possible outcome. With the luck and injury history of this team, was it really any surprise when Erin Andrews and the twitter universe revealed that Aaron Rodgers had sustained a broken right collarbone and could potentially miss the remainder of the season? (No) Barr’s hit brought the Packers hopes and dreams of a return trip to Minnesota this upcoming February to a sudden and screeching halt.
Barr’s shattering of Rodgers right collarbone is really a microcosm of what being a Packer fan can be like at times. It is reminiscent of every time the team was nearing a victory only to have a once and a lifetime play suddenly shatter their hopes and dreams of a Super Bowl. I liken this feeling to a climber who can never summit the mountain top of a lifetime because of unforeseen circumstances of nature. Just when this mountain climber is at the precipice of summiting the mountaintop of his lifetime, he stumbles on an unforeseen divot and unexpectedly slides down to the bottom of the mountain. With one hit, with one fall, dreams of another Super Bowl run could have been shattered yet again and the Packers are left at the bottom of the mountain looking up. #Packerluck At least you could say Anthony Barr saved Packer fans from yet another devastatingly crushing January playoff loss.
It is clear that the Green Bay Packers go as Aaron Rodgers goes. His extraordinary play gives the team energy, his swagger gives the team life, and when he goes down with an injury, that energy and life is zapped away quicker than it took his right collarbone to snap from the impact of that landing. Injuries and sudden disastrous plays have become the defining and reoccurring themes of Packer seasons both past and present.
A more hopeful and rational approach:
I think that Packer fans have a glimmer of hope that Aaron Rodgers could script one of the most dramatic returns on the final week (or two) of the season with the Packers being 8-7 playing a winner take all regular season finale in Detroit for a wildcard birth or division championship. The question is, whether or not that is a realistic expectation. The last broken collarbone injury Aaron Rodgers suffered, was to his left collarbone, which kept him out for 7 weeks. It is safe to say that a broken collarbone on his throwing shoulder is likely to sideline him for an extra 3-4 weeks as mobility and pain tolerance will play a bigger factor/hurdle in getting back to game action. Still, this proposed timeline could see Aaron Rodgers come back in 10-11 weeks if his rehab all goes perfect and according to plan. This best case scenario would give him an outside chance in playing in the season finale in Detroit.
What would have to happen:
First, the Packers would have to go 4-5 over their next 9 games and would need help from the Vikings and Lions opponents. Essentially this dream scenario cannot take flight unless both the Vikings and the Lions play to .500 or below records for the rest of the season. Finally, the Packers offensive line would need to get healthy, the defense would have to step up and turn the ball over, and, would have to hold teams to under 20 points per game in Rodgers’ absence.
Weighing the Odds:
The best chance of being able to pull this off would be for Aaron Rodgers to give Packer fans an early Christmas present and return a week early for the December 23rd game against the Vikings. This return date would put him just shy of being ten weeks on the shelf, which will have had Rodgers miss 8 games. Of those 8 games, I could see the Packers winning as few as 2 games and as many as 4 games, depending on the development of potentially mediocre teams like the Buccaneers and Ravens, as well as if the Packers can steal a game against the Saints or Lions. In order to have a chance at pulling off a miracle run to the playoffs, the Packers will at least have to go 3-5 and be 7-7 going into the Minnesota game at Lambeau. If the Packers were still in the hunt for a wild card or division title on December 23rd and Aaron Rodgers was able to make his much-anticipated return against the Vikings, Packer fans would ecstatically be waiting to etch the latest chapter of late-season heroics in the Aaron Rodgers storybook. As unlikely as this scenario seems, I can still envision a late-season return against the Vikings and Lions, in which Aaron Rodgers poetically shreds both Mike Zimmer and Jim Caldwell’s playoff hopes.——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave