I come to bury the Green Bay Packers, not to praise them. They just lost one of the most memorable (if not one of the greatest) conference championship games ever played–yet while the Viking fan in me is reveling in their frankly Viking-esque defeat, the sports fan is simply nodding grimly. Things happen sometimes. Sometimes it’s luck; sometimes it’s coaching; sometimes it’s both at once, like it was this afternoon. If any one of the following things hadn’t happened the Green Bay Packers would likely playing for the Super Bowl in a couple weeks.
But all of them did. And that’s sports for you.
- Mike McCarthy, demonstrating bewildering conservatism, electing to kick a field goal on 4th-and-goal from the 1. Hindsight’s 20/20, but find me anyone (other than Saj) who wasn’t immediately questioning the decision.
- Mike McCarthy, demonstrating bewildering conservatism, electing to kick a field goal on 4th-and-goal from the 2. Hindsight’s 20/20, but find me anyone (other than Saj) who wasn’t immediately questioning the decision. (In fairness to Saj I don’t know for a fact that he supported the decisions…but knowing Saj, I’m guessing he did. *checks with Saj* He did.) Let’s say, for argument’s sake, the Packers had gone for it on each of those fourth-down situations and converted on one of them. That would’ve given them seven points instead of six. All other things being equal…think the Packers would’ve liked having that extra point when Mason Crosby was lining up his game-tying field goal attempt with :14 left to play? (I realize I’m not saying anything earth-shattering, by the way. That’s not the point: I want to remember this game.)
- Morgan Burnett going down after Russell Wilson’s fourth interception, which for some reason made sense to me at the time. By the way, the Packers just lost a game in which the opposing quarterback threw four interceptions and the other team turned the ball over five times.
- Aaron Rodgers throwing it incomplete on 3rd down late in the fourth quarter. At the time I tweeted, “Why on earth are the Packers throwing??”
- Brandon Bostick fumbling the climactic onside kick right into the arms of the Seahawks’ Chris Matthews. Before the kick HLP Paul said, “I’ve never seen a recovered onside kick.” He has now.
- Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (real name, in case you aren’t a football fan) whiffing on the two-point convert that turned a one-point game into a three-point game.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Jermaine Kearse caught the game-winning touchdown. Kearse was targeted five times this afternoon. The first four resulted in interceptions. The fifth resulted in the touchdown that sent his team to the Super Bowl. Again, sometimes these things just happen. I’ll never feel sorry for Packer fans. Their team’s won multiple championships; mine’s tied for most Super Bowl appearances without a win. Today, though, I understand how they feel.