10

December

Packers Shovel Their Way to First Place in NFC North

 

Packers defense

The Packers defense, grinding out another win on Sunday night. (Photo from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Like many of you who are reading this, I had to go out and shovel snow before the Packers game on Sunday night.

Notice how I said shovel. Not blow or push with a skid loader. Shovel.

I refuse to get a snow blower. I’m 31 years old. I’m more than capable of operating a shovel. I see way too many men under the age of 35 using snow blowers and skid loaders for snow removal these days. Further evidence of the downfall of society, I say.

A shovel is reliable. You don’t need to worry about it not starting after a blizzard.

A shovel is low maintenance. You don’t have to worry about filling it with gas, changing its oil or taking it in for a tune-up.

A shovel is inexpensive. You can pick up a good snow shovel for a couple bucks at just about any store.

A shovel is a great teaching tool. If you have kids, making them shovel snow builds character.

A shovel can be used as a weapon if someone attacks you, or if a Bears fan starts talking trash.

The Packers are a team of shovels right now. We all want them to be the latest fancy model of snow blower, but they’re not. And that’s just fine.

As I was shoveling over a foot of snow off my driveway on Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice a few of my neighbors and their snow blowers. Sure, they were exerting less energy and moving at a faster pace than I was, but I was earning the right to maneuver my car out of my garage without getting stuck.

I had to work harder for it, so I appreciated it more (at least, that’s what I was telling myself as my fingers went numb and my eyes started freezing shut).

The packers have shoveled their way into first place in the NFC North. With the exception of the Giants’ game, guys like Don Barclay, Brad Jones, Casey Hayward, Ryan Pickett, Mike Daniels, DuJuan Harris and Tom Crabtree have helped hold this injury-ravaged team together and put it in position to make a late-season run.

Even the high-profile snow-blower types of guys have put in shovel-like performance. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown for 300 yards since week seven. Randall Cobb hasn’t had 100 yards receiving since week six. Tramon Williams doesn’t have an interception since week two.

But the Packers keep winning. They’re making plays at the right time on offense and relying on a young and upstart secondary on defense. Special teams are also playing a role, despite Mason Crosby’s struggles.

It’s not exactly fun to watch someone shovel the driveway. You see a person with a red face caked with snow, huffing and puffing like they might have heart attack at any moment, and you’re not sure if you should call the paramedics, offer to help, or bring the person a beer.

Hopefully the snow-blower teams are thinking the same thing about the Packers. Hopefully they still see the high-scoring Packers of 2011 and underestimate this current group.

The guy with the shovel will always have a clear driveway. His shovel will always start and never break down. There’s no need to do a bunch of other stuff in order to get the shovel to work properly. It’s always going to work.

It might be tough to watch, it might be frustrating, it might even make you want to quit every now and then, but watching the Packers shovel their way to wins has been rewarding. In the long run, I think it’s making the Packers a better team.

Here’s hoping the Packers keep shoveling a path all the way to New Orleans.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

——————

28 Responses to “Packers Shovel Their Way to First Place in NFC North”

  1. wim says:

    couldn’t agree more about the guys who use snowblowers; i shovel and am going on 67. i was at the game last night, and there were several times when i and the people around me lost the ball on kickoffs and punts in the snow and lights. clearly so did the guys on the field. a beautiful night for football. and for shoveling snow.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

    Love the analogy, Adam. Great stuff.

    And for the record… I’d much rather have snow than all this rain we’re getting in PA. Yuck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. PatMc says:

    I have several shovels. I always liked being in the snow but a very bad back has forced me to stop lifting anything.

    My 27 yo son is home finishing last year of teacher college and was not surprised when I asked him to get up and shovel at 5 am. He needed to push the snow away from the garage door so my wife could go to work.

    I hired a plow driver who comes in a shinny red truck, with cool lights, anytime from 5 PM until 6 AM whenever I get more than 2 inches.

    I hired another plow driver who comes after the city plows come through in morning at 9-10 am. He is a strong young family man with a summer business.

    I also have a 8 horse 2 stage snowblower sitting in garage, filled with gas and ready to go for sidewalk and emergency.

    Over the years I worked and earned the shovels and snow blower. I’ve since retired and enjoy having these young guys come and keep my driveway clear.

    Image a nice new big red truck on the left guard spot? Or another plow truck at the RB position? They come on time and are dependable. They clear the field of play quickly. Well worth the investment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Adam Czech says:

      Pat:

      I can forgive people over the age of 35 for retiring their shovels. My father shoveled until he was about 55, but that’s probably pushing it for most people.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • PatMc says:

        Adam, I didn’t retire the shovels, I just give them less work now. This is a great article. You might think about expanding it to a book for children to teach them the value of the little shovel that could. Teach kids value that you try and work and sooner or later you are needed. Also not everyone can be the super fun truck with the lights. You have a good book idea. If you think about writing one that is?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Cheezwhiz says:

    I live in a townhome in MN (behind enemy lines). If we get more than 2 inches a while crew comes out and plows the roads and my driveway. They always leave a foot or two next to my garage door and a pile at the end of my driveway, so I get out old trusty-a battered coal shovel my father in law gave me and I finish the job the plow can’t seem to get right. Perhaps Grant will be “old trusty” for the Pack in the playoffs!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. mark gast says:

    Thank You! I hate blowers. Out here in Portland, OR people only use them for leaves and yard work. Get a broom or use a rake. If I could be God for 3 minutes, before curing cancer and having world peace I would destroy all blowers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      different type of blower than adam is talking about, but the point is still the same.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Michael says:

      Do you remember blowing bubbles when you were a kid? How is he doing now?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. steve cheez says:

    The best thing about moving to California was leaving my shovel behind in the garage. Oh, and dropping my boots off at Salvation Army!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  7. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    where would this team be right now without don barclay? if this team goes deep into the playoffs a lot of credit will go to that guy. it is not coincidence that the running game got a spark after he entered the lineup. he has been more than serviceable. i love his name too, its sounds like an old school packer lineman name. there are very few people under the age of 50 with the name Don anymore. it is fitting that a 23 year old named Don would be a packers offensive lineman.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Mudduckcheesehead says:

    The GF has a snowblower that started choking on the heavy, wet stuff here in Minny. Eventually it got so bad the spout froze up and wouldn’t turn side to side anymore. This blower is now known as Cutler.

    I’ve got a nice little shovel that’s cheap and effective. I call it DuJuan now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. Adam Czech says:

    DuJuan the Shovel!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Dan says:

    Born in Milwaukee, moved to the UP (Mich) and went to high school there (Escanaba Eskimos don’t ya know), shoveled lots of snow, cut lots of wood and brush (grave blankets) and shoveled pig and cow shit on a farm (among other chores)

    Moved to LA 30 years ago and started my own business (left the shovel and shit kickers back home) . First few years I would call my Dad , 3-4 times, when Pack games were on so he could give me some play to play reports and score updates. When the first sat dishes came out, the big mesh ones, I would wake up at 9am, Hungover, every Sunday during season, so I could drive to my packer bar and watch the games. Knowing the Packers were playing and not watching them was the worst feeling in the word. So one way or another I was going to watch. I would call every bar in my area just to see who could pull in the pre-season games.

    As soon as direct TV offered the NFL package , I thought I died and went heaven. Record every game, then burn them to disc. Go Pack!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Adam Czech says:

      Awesome story. The UP to LA….that’s quite the change.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Dan says:

        Ya, love flying back a few times a year, usually try to time one trip to see a home game. Wisconsin/UP is a great place to grow up (and live). Good fun loving people, great values and morals. Took a bit to adjust to La La land, but I met some good people here and like it. It amazes me that LA has no football team. Very fickle fans…GB 100k population (best team in sports)..LA 9M population, no pro team

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. Chad Lundberg says:

    I don’t live in the snow…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  12. Wagszilla says:

    Speaking of shovels, Finley continues to dig his own grave.

    There’s nothing I want more than him to get hot for the playoffs but his lackadaisical “blocking” last night was a disgrace.

    Imagine how good the Packers would be with Andrew Quarless in the lineup. Damn good, that’s how good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Adam Czech says:

      I don’t get it w/ Finley. These cover-2 looks the Packers get should be ideal for him. It seems like the bar for Finley is set at 7 catches for 120 yards and a TD. The Packers don’t need that much. Five catches for 50 yards to just break up that cover-2 every now and then would be fine.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. Mojo says:

    Hate to shovel a little dirt on your article, but Cobb did get over a hundred yards last night (102).

    I can understand your affinity for shovels, when comparing it to a team like the Bears, who just blow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. PatMc says:

    Cobb the red truck with shinny lights got 102 yards running behind the big coal shovel Barclay.

    The call it a team sport because it takes all kinds of talent. Anyone drafted in first four rounds is not a shovel, (IMHO) but a nice shinny truck. 6,7 and FA’s are of course the shovels.

    When you get a foot of snow and freezing temps AND people depending upon you – taking the time to shovel isn’t always an option. Big dump trucks like Bulaga are needed. Oh, wait that truck is in the repair shop?

    ? Do we keep Bulaga next year? Or is barclay good enough to take his roster spot?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. toolkien says:

    6 inches = snowblower

    Get some exercise most of the time, but I’m not a fanatic about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. FITZCORE1252 says:

    Dan, that’s what I do with Pack games… record them on the DVR and burn them to a DVD. I think it will be pretty cool to watch the 2010 season from family night through Dallas 20-30 years from now. Hopefully with my boy… And his boy? Oh, then after that, we’ll load the 2012 superbowl season!

    GBP 4 LIFE

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0