The ultimate also-rans/The Red Line
When I can carve out the time to do a little reading, I’ve been enjoying “The Ultimate Super Bowl Book” by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn.
In addition to being a native Yooper (from Escanaba), McGinn is a master of evaluating the technical details of football. I envy his chutzpah to frankly critique the actions of all 22 players on the field, but as a sportswriter, I most want to emulate the hours of study and experience he’s put in to be able to do so with authority.
In between determining who missed blocks on whom, a common thread runs through it, particularly, most Super Bowls are won by great teams, not good teams.
History will record the 2012 Green Bay Packers as a good team, a good team that got well-beaten in the divisional playoffs at San Francisco.
Yes, I picked against the Packers in the Gridiron section last week. Of course, most of the times I do it, the Packers end up winning. However, many of the times I’ve picked against Green Bay, it’s been a function of irrational superstition, such as my hatred for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (just when I thought it was safe to go in there again, Week 17 happened), or half-baked analysis based on historical comparisons between teams that last played three years ago. This one had a lot more going on it.
The quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” has been attributed to a variety of sources, but I believe it bears a lot of truth.
Of course, given 18 weeks of distance between the divisional playoffs and the Packers’ Week 1 disaster, a direct comparison may not be apt, but giving San Francisco a better quarterback in Colin Kaepernick and home-field advantage was probably not going to turn the tide in the Packers’ favor.
Really, the only hope I was able to hang the Packers hat I got for Christmas on was Aaron Rodgers’ downright spooky declaration on his draft day that he’s “not as disappointed as the 49ers will be that they didn’t draft me” and the possibility it might trigger some sort of Jordanesque six-touchdown day.
Considering the Week 3 Monday night game against Seattle led me to throw things and flip furniture in my apartment, I was a little surprised when the strongest emotional reaction this game elicited was a severe eye-roll after Kaepernick’s 14th 20-yard scramble of the game.
I might invoke my “one-round rule” and not watch the championship games, but it’s supposed to be like 6 degrees Sunday. And it’s not like I’m real bitter about this one anyway.
One thing I realized from McGinn’s book is greatness is hard, even if you get to the Super Bowl.
Just like in a stock car race, there’s one winner and 42 other cars that didn’t. The Packers had about a sixth-place car all season and it didn’t really change.
Tramon Williams remains allergic to tackling, A.J. Hawk is a remarkably average linebacker, the pass rush is meh and the running game so defective a little free agent from off the street was their best option in a playoff game. In the manner of the little girl from the Aaron Rodgers Discount Double-Check ads, “Uhhh, that’s not a Super Bowl team.”
So, the offseason begins. I’m going to try really hard to not care about football until at least July, and when I do, things will surely be different.
For one, I’ll probably be legally allowed to make jokes about Greg Jennings again.
Maybe Green Bay will trade for Tim Tebow.
Excuse me while I crack open a ginger ale. I believe there’s some Red Wings hockey coming up.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.