While the NFL approaches the draft, in some form, sports fans are likely starved for content. All major sports are on hold due to the crisis, and fans are lacking some much-needed escapism.
If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of mock drafts (though I’m still reading them and will likely have one of my own coming up). Fortunately, the NFL did fans a solid and made NFL Game Pass free until May 31. This service, among other things, offers every NFL game from 2009 on, including 45-minute condensed games or All-22 footage. This is a great option for those wanting to analyze players or simply enjoy the thrill of football again.
The service is a treat, and I recommend getting your fill. Below are a few of my favorite games I’ve rewatched and fully recommend Packers fans giving a watch. I’ll avoid talking about the major games of the Rodgers era (Super Bowl win, 2016 Divisional Round, etc.) and instead focus on some other gems.
2011 season, Week 1 vs New Orleans Saints
If you love offensive football, this is the game to watch. Watch future Hall of Famers Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees duel it out with two of the NFL’s best offenses. Rodgers has his full host of weapons in this game, including Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant, and rookie Randall Cobb. This was a breakout game for Cobb, especially, who caught his first Rodgers TD and ran a kick return to the house. For those interested in quarterback play, this shows two legends at their best.
2011 season, Week 17 vs Detroit Lions
Remember when the Packers kept Rodgers out of the game to keep fresh for the playoffs and Matt Flynn destroyed the Lions? A whopping six touchdowns let the Packers finish 15-1 and likely got Flynn a few jobs down the road. Flynn would prove his value in the 2013 season by keeping the Packers in playoff contention through Aaron Rodgers’ injury.
2013 season, Week 17 vs. Chicago Bears
Speaking of 2013, after Matt Flynn kept the Packers in playoff contention, Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb returned for a Week 17 tilt against the hated Chicago Bears for a chance at winning the NFC North. The season itself was a roller coaster of emotion, with Rodgers injury filling fans with despair and Matt Flynn keeping hope alive with a comeback win against the Dallas Cowboys. Rodgers seized that hope with a dagger to “Bear Destroyer” Randall Cobb with 38 seconds left on the clock. That glorious comeback win ended a tumultuous season and showed Rodgers trademark cool, collected comeback abilities.
2014 season, Week 4 vs Chicago Bears
Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense absolutely demolish the Bears. Want to long for the days when the Packers could just regularly stomp on other teams? This is your game.
2014 season, Week 13 vs New England Patriots
For all his later criticisms, Mike McCarthy outcoached Bill Belichick in his own house. This game was an awe-inspiring matchup between two of the best teams in the NFL. Belichick focused on keeping Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb locked down, which led to the rise of Davante Adams. Adams was crucial to the victory and caught six catches for 121 yards, giving us the first taste of what Adams and Rodgers could do together.
2014 season, NFC Championship vs Seattle Seahawks
Want to strengthen your resolve? Watch this game a few times. Now, nothing can hurt you.
2018 season, Week 1 vs Chicago Bears
Aaron Rodgers’ legendary comeback deserves your time. Seeing Rodgers pick apart the Bears in the fourth quarter and seeing Randall Cobb, once again, have a massive dagger against the Bears will go down in history as one of the most iconic games of the Rodgers era.
2019 season, Week 4 vs Philadelphia Eagles
This recent game might still be fresh in Packers fans’ minds, but it provided our first true taste of what the LaFleur offense could look like. Yeah, the game was a loss and plagued with injuries and terrible officiating (par for the course anymore on that last point), but this game was one of the finest performances of Davante Adams’ career. The crisp route running, the tricking of defensive backs, and beautiful hands on display in this game show why Ochocinco tears up watching Adams.
There’s still plenty more to watch, but these are some fun options. I’m torn between wanting to watch the entire 2011 season or the “Run the Table” stretch of 2016 next. Have you taken advantage of the service yet? Leave your favorite game recommendations below.
For more information, see http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001106855/article/nfl-offers-fans-free-access-to-nfl-game-passMatt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.