I love this time of the year.
Driving down the snowy streets of Green Bay basking in the Christmas decorations and lights spread across the town. Being with family, opening presents, firing up my favorite Christmas movie, and collecting another NFC North divisional ti…wait a second.
The Packers were eliminated from the playoff picture to their old foe, the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Hmmm, I think I will “Irish” up this glass of eggnog now. Last year was an anomaly with Aaron Rodgers being injured and watching Brett Hundley behind center was like the lump of coal sprayed in green and gold.
Packers had their worst season since 2008 and there was no excuse for how this team performed. 0-7 on the road, averaging between 8-11 players on the injury report, and a team that finally accepted that they are not a good football team and it starts with their golden boy and Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
For the first time, Rodgers no longer walked on water or was the media darling. He was rightfully criticized for his play, his body language, and even his deep ball accuracy. No, not because of his 134 million dollar contract. Believe me, I cannot believe how watered down that argument is, he should be criticized because he is the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. As Al Pacino told Jamie Foxx from Any Given Sunday.
You’re a (expletive) quarterback! You know what that means? It’s the top spot, kid. It’s the guy who takes the fall. It’s the guy everybody’s looking at first – the leader of a team – who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. ‘Cause you make them believe. That’s a quarterback.
Which means if Rodgers chooses to play or not play at New York on Sunday and the season finale against the last place Lions. It is his choice. He has earned that right and it is not going to be the decision of the interim head coach, Joe Philbin. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, Philbin refused to name the starter for Sunday. Leading to Rodgers telling Rob Demovsky of ESPN that he was playing on Sunday. Nothing like reminding the fanbase how messed up this season continues to be until December 30th at 3:25pm when the Packers 2018 season will finally end after the Lions leave Lambeau Field.
I am not going to sit here and plead like a lot of media for Rodgers to sit out. Yes, he hurt his groin against the Bears last Sunday after his knee injury continued to heal that he also injured against Chicago back in Week 1. You want to use the sit out situation in Carolina with quarterback Cam Newton, but there is a difference. Ron Rivera is still the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and whatever he says still goes. Philbin decided to play chicken with the media and lost as soon as Rodgers insisted he was playing. Like the equivalent of a bad online date that would not pick up the bill for dinner.
Like I said before, I love this time of the year. Only in a warped way now.
At least Christmas Eve is Monday.
Jake Turner is the host of the passionate Turning Points podcast on iTunes and co-host with Mark Eckel on the Pack a Day podcast. Follow him on twitter at @JakeTurnerSport Instagram: jaketurner61.