The Green Bay Packers are officially in the playoffs. Isn’t that weird?
With Sunday’s chaotic win over the Detroit Lions and Minnesota’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Packers officially clinched the NFC North and a trip to the playoffs. The cherry on top of the football sundae was the Saints losing to the Eagles put the Packers at the top of the NFC, currently holding the #1 seed and the conferences lone bye week.
This Packer team sits atop the NFC and, more importantly, is having a blast doing it. Perhaps nothing else crystallizes how much fun this team is having like their Austin Powers-related references.
In the third quarter during Detroit, Aaron Rodgers ran a six-yard touchdown in himself and unleashed a randy cry of “I love goooooold!” This has been a common occurrence for the Packers offense this year and is a reference to the third (and unfortunately weakest) installment of the legendary Austin Powers franchise.
In the third film, Austin Powers in Goldmember, the Dutch supervillain Johann van der Smut, better known as Goldmember (a parody of Auric Goldfinger played by Mike Myers, and, briefly, John Travolta) is obsessed with gold, even losing a body part in an unfortunate smelting accident. Goldmember loves the taste of it, the smell of it, the texture of it. The character’s entire motif is gold and expresses his love of the precious metal with the iconic phrase “I love goooooold!”
In one of his weekly spots on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers explained the team’s embrace of the film comes from offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who Rodgers affectionately calls a ‘goofball.’
“Nathaniel Hackett, who installs the red zone, is obsessed with that movie. One of our mantras is, ‘I love gold!’ We call the red zone the gold zone as an ode to Goldmember.” Rodgers said.
He further explained that when the team throws their arms up in celebration, they’re referencing the villain, and in meetings, Hackett discusses the character and his wild parties and roller skating abilities. “It’s one of those fun weekly rituals that you really look forward to.”
This isn’t a mere casual reference, as Rodgers says Hackett goes all out with his Goldmember love.
Here’s hoping the offensive coordinator doesn’t share the character’s love of eating peeled skin.
The Packers social media team even created a mockup of the Goldmember poster to celebrate their playoff clinching.
Rodgers has often praised Hackett as a coach and as an overall fun guy to have around. Hackett could be viewed as a staple of the new culture installed in the team by Matt LaFleur, as the team seems to be having much more fun on and off the field together. Winning is always more fun than losing, but the spirit of comradery seems deeply ingrained in this new iteration of the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers have been quite successful in the ‘gold zone’ as one of the best offenses in the NFL. Rodgers is playing his best football in years and is having a blast doing it.
The Packers are the Green and Gold after all. And should the offense keep playing at this elite level, more trips to the gold zone are inevitable.Matt 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.