I am a Packer fan. I write this post at about 4AM (PST) on Thanksgiving Day. About nine hours from now, I expect the team in smurf blue attire to hand my beloved Packers their first defeat of the season. I expect the defeat to be followed by a lot of “We told you they’re not as good as their record” pieces and a lot of anxious Packer fans who may buy in to similar notions and prepare themselves for short playoff run. I also expect fans and media to treat a 15-1 regular season very differently from a 16-0 season. What I mean by this is that this Packer team will be considered exponentially more vulnerable to teams like the Niners, Saints and Cowboys in the playoffs if they don’t go undefeated in the regular season. Before we go all in on reading too much beyond just the powers of statistical regression – here’s 10 reasons to be thankful for being a fan of the franchise that is 10-0 and just won 16 NFL games in a row!
1) The quarterback of the Packers is Aaron Rodgers. The gifted Mike Tanier does a great job of explaining how great Rodgers has been this season. I really don’t have anything to add to analysis that accounts for a 100 successive incompletionsJ.
2) In the ‘Any Given Sunday’ league that is setup for parity, the Packers have won 16 games in a row. Their last loss was 12/19/10 to the Pats.
3) Their last loss with Rodgers playing a complete game was almost a year to this Sunday 11/28/10 to the Falcons. This is no ordinary feat and may not happen again in our lifetimes. To have turned the TV on and watched these games Sunday after Sunday and not knowing what a loss feels like is as ridiculously spoilt as a sports fan can be. To borrow shamelessly from the world of socio-political movements – We are the 1% (of sports fans in this world who have it really goodJ)!!!
4) During this period, the Packers have gone 9-0 in venues not named Lambeau Field. A road win record like this may be just another thing that doesn’t happen again in our lifetimes! For those of us who complained about the San Diego game from three weeks ago being closer than it should have been, WTF?
5) The last time the Packers lost by more than a touchdown was 36 games ago!!!! For over two full seasons this team has been in every game and never finished more than one score behind the opposition. To go in to every game feeling like the team we root for has a fighting chance is a feeling we all aspire to. As Packer fans, we’re just living in it.
6) The Packers are the third youngest team in the NFL. Translation: Odds are there’s many more winning seasons coming up than not!
7) Thanks to the exceptional and generous folks at Football Outsiders, we know that the average Packer drive this year gains approximately 40 yards. It is extremely comforting to know that the average drive resulting from a touchback will end up in a 57 yard field goal attempt!
8) Thanks to the fine folks at Pro-football-reference we know that rookie Randall Cobb is averaging 28 yards a kick return and 14 yards a punt return. Thanks to my eyes and a decade of watching the Packers, I know that the team finally has an above average special teams unit. Aaron Rodgers finally has decent field position to start drives and can finally get rid of the scars of 2008 when it seemed like he was always starting at the 10 yard line.
9) Thanks to their 10-0 start, the Packers will almost certainly get the #1 seed in the NFC and play four games in a row over 5 weeks (starting Christmas day) at Lambeau field. For a team and an organization that had to deal with an extraordinary amount of injuries and road games in 2010, the path to another Lombardi trophy may just be a touch easier and on more familiar ground.
10)The quarterback of the Packers is Aaron Rodgers!
I hope I’m proven wrong in my prediction for the big game today. But whatever the result of one game, I do hope that Packer fans express their sincerest thanks to the best organization in pro football today for the reasons mentioned above and beyond!