All Green Bay Packer fans know the goal each season for our Packers, is to win the Vince Lombardi trophy. The current culture in our society has become soft with “effort” superseding winning. I’m not sure when it changed, but I’m guessing sometime in the 90’s. I taught my children to always put forth a “winning effort,” not just “effort.” Just being a participant means you will never grow and you will always be satisfied with the status quo. I believe the Packers fell victim to this complacent theory.
I say all this because over the last thirty years the Green Bay Packers have had two first ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks, in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Yet, the Packers have only two Super Bowl Championships and three appearances during that span. In the 90’s Bob Harlan, brought in Ron Wolf to win championships. Wolf did bring a title in 1996-97 season and an appearance the following season, losing to Denver. Wolf also landed Favre and White, coupled with bringing Mike Holmgren in as Head Coach which spurred multiple winning seasons. What it didn’t produce is multiple SB Titles. Personally I see this as a failure of the Packer organization to surround Favre with enough talent to win titles. Ron Wolf himself, admitted such recently.
Enter Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy in the 2000’s. They drafted Rodgers (ultimately Favre’s replacement) along with other key picks while signing FA’s Charles Woodson, and Ryan Pickett to build a contender. These moves produced a Super Bowl Title in 2010-11, but resulted in zero additional appearances. The downfall was a complacency with winning games, not championships. I can’t count the number of times we were reminded about how many winning seasons the Packers enjoyed over the years, all while the New England Patriots were stock piling Lombardi Trophies in Foxboro. This is the culture change I was referring to earlier, winning was considered a success, which resulted in annually finishing outside of a title. This left us Packer fans wanting more, especially those of us who grew up under the Lombardi era. Yes, I’d rather win than lose, but it’s all about championships…..no one remembers who finished 2nd.
Enter 2018-19, Mark Murphy decides to shatter the glass, first replacing GM Ted Thompson with Brian Gutekunst and subsequently replacing Head Coach Mike McCarthy with a young innovative Matt LaFleur. Don’t forget they also replaced the out dated DC Dom Capers with the aggressive Mike Pettine. This new blood in the Packer organization has changed the hallowed philosophy itself within the walls of Lambeau Field. While this team certainly respects the history of the Packers, LaFleur has made this team the current creator of history. Pictures of current players surround the facility instead of past heroes. It serves to motivate the current players to achieve the level of success of those Lombardi teams of the 60’s.
GM Brain Gutekunst has brought in talent on the defensive side of the ball to greatly improve that unit. You’ve got to love draft picks S Darnell Savage (immediate impact), LB Rashan Gary (starting to display skills) along with FA’s S Adrian Amos, LB’s Za’Darius and Preston Smith, and G/T Billy Turner all making an impact. By improving the defense, it has allowed the offense to have better field position and implement LaFleur’s new energetic game plans. We must remember and believe the old adage that defense truly wins championships. This Packer team may be in the process of confirming that premise. The offense has started to become comfortable with LaFleur’s offense and the results have reflected the new energy.
This Sunday, on Football Night in America, the Packers will face off against the talented Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Arrowhead is a very difficult place to play and will be a great test for the Packers. I absolutely don’t “feel” for the Chiefs who will be missing Mahomes. For starters, they are an extremely good team, with stars all over the field and secondly no one felt sorry for the Hundley led Packers or Aaron playing with a cracked bone in his leg all last season. The Packers MUST take advantage of Matt Moore at QB and stress him all game. The offense will have to shine again against a stiff Chiefs defense. I’ll go with Packers 34, Chiefs 31.
As Always, Go Pack Go!
PackerGregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter