15

May

Cowboys, Steelers on Packers Schedule Evokes Ghost of Christmas Past

Packers Cowboys Steelers

The Packers face some interesting history when they take on the Cowboys & Steelers in 2013

When the Green Bay Packers 2013 schedule was announced, one thing was very clear:  it’s going to be a doozy of a season for the Packers.  They have one of the toughest schedules in the league and it will certainly challenge them to repeat as NFC North division winners.

I thought we’d take a quick break from our daily coverage of current Packers happenings and look at some interesting history.

There are two games that really stand out to me on this year’s slate.  Not because of the playoff implications or because they are the “team to beat”.  It’s simply about some Packers history and how it also connects these two opponents.  I’m talking about the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Connection

The Packers visit Dallas and will play the Cowboys on December 15th.  One week later, they will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 22nd. The last time the Packers beat the Cowboys in Dallas was on December 24, 1989.  The last time they beat the Steelers during the regular season was on December 24, 1995.

So how ironic is it that this year’s games against each opponent come in back-to-back weeks and so close to the Christmas holiday?  As you’ve heard me say before: history has a tendency to repeat itself.  Is this the year the Packers finally exercise the ghost of Christmas Eve?  Beyond that connection, there are others throughout these rivalries.  Let’s take a look at each.

Packers at Cowboys

Here’s the box score from that last Packers win in Dallas over the Boys.  To put some perspective on how long ago that was, that year was Jimmy Johnson’s first as Cowboys Head Coach and it was quarterback Troy Aikman’s rookie season.  Emmitt Smith was still in college and hadn’t yet started collecting any of his NFL-record 18,355 yards.  The Cowboys were 1-15 that year and they seemed destined for some rough seasons ahead until that little trade with the Minnesota Vikings.  Herschel Walker went to Minnesota and in Dallas, the rest is history.  They would go on to win three Super Bowls in the next six seasons. Along that Packers losing streak in Dallas have been some memorable games, including the 1996 NFC Championship game that the Packers almost came back and won.  More on that in a bit.

26

December

Packers Stock Report: Bring on the Seahawks Edition

Sam Shields

Packers CB Sam Shields is on the rise.

I’m writing this week’s Packers stock report while watching the Seahawks destroy the 49ers. After the Seahawks went up 14-0, my wife said that she hopes the Packers do not have to play the Seahawks in the playoffs.

I threatened to take back her Christmas present for uttering such nonsense. I want to play the Seahawks and I want to play them bad. I want to play them right now. Screw the Vikings. Bring on the Seahawks.

Beating the Seahawks in the playoffs would make me giddy. Every Packers fan should want to play the Seahawks again and beat the s**t out of them.

The Seahawks’ attitude after Fail Mary was a disgrace. Plus, Pete Carroll has always been a disgrace and it would be really sweet to beat him.

A Packers vs. Seahawks playoff matchup is what makes football awesome.

I’m getting all fired up just thinking about it. I need to calm down.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
Welcome back to the rising category, sir. Please stay a while. At least through the first Sunday in February.

Sam Shields
Who put a quarter in Sam Shields? He’s like my little nieces and nephews when it’s time to open Christmas presents, all fired up and just attacking everything in sight. This aggression and emotion was nowhere to be found last season. Just like it makes me smile to see my little nieces and nephews tear into their presents, seeing Shields make picks and get to the QB on blitzes also makes me grin from ear to ear.

James Jones
Just another game with a touchdown from Jones. I’m not sure what else there is to say about Jones this season.

Steady

Mike Neal
A pass-rushing threat from the defensive line? This would be the ultimate Packers Christmas present. If you have any tape left over from wrapping Christmas presents, drop it off at Lambeau. The Packers need it to tape up Neal so he stays healthy the rest of the season. (ok, I’m done with the Christmas references now. Promise.)

Brad Jones
How about some love for Brad Jones? He made a few nice sticks at the goal line against the Bears and was tough again against the Titans. Brad Jones at middle linebacker…who woulda thought…

24

December

Packers Santa Delivers a Chance for a Week Off

Packers Santa

Packers Santa

Good news, folks; it seems that Packers Santa has returned to Green Bay for the third straight year.

In 2010, Packers Santa and I took ride on his sleigh and delivered a bag of coal to Mike McCarthy. They had lost two games in a row and three out of their last four. The message came through loud and clear and the Packers went on a six game winning streak that ended with a Super Bowl win over the Steelers in Dallas. Thanks again Santa!

In 2011, the Packers had just had their 19-game winning streak ended by the Chiefs. Packers Santa presented the Packers with some blank paper, in hopes that starting with a clean sheet would propel the Packers on a new winning streak.  Once again, Packers Santa helped the Packers right the ship, as they went out and won their next two games. Unfortunately, the Packers then met their Waterloo against the Giants in the playoffs.

In 2012, Packers Santa didn’t feel the need to send any messages. Instead, he thought it would be better to just reward the Packers for all their hard fought wins with a week off to rest. The Packers have won four in a row and nine of their last ten.  So Packers Santa pulled a few strings and arranged for the Seahawks (how ironic) to beat the 49ers, vaulting the Packers into the position of second seed and a first round playoff bye.

Now, as Packers Santa so succinctly said to me in our Skype conversation, “I can’t do EVERYTHING for these guys.” So it will be up to the Packers to hold onto that position with a win against the Vikings in the final game of the regular season.

The Humpty Dome will be rocking, as the Vikings have a “win and your in” chance to make the playoffs. So we shall surely see just how much the Packers appreciated Santa’s gift. Hopefully, the Packers will close out 2012 on a positive note.

Speaking of closing out the year, I’d like to extend my extreme gratitude and appreciation to all of you who come here and make this site what it is.  Regardless if you’re a regular or just an occasional reader, thank you for being interested in what we have to say. Whether it’s here, or on Facebook or Twitter, you’re comments are so appreciated, (you have no idea how much).

29

December

Christmas at Lambeau: An Experience Of A Lifetime

Post-Victory. What a Christmas gift!

If there is one thing I have learned growing up in Wisconsin, it’s that when someone offers you a free ticket to a Green Bay Packers game you must say yes or face terrible consequences.

Even on Christmas Day.

First a little background: I work two jobs, both in retail. Obviously the arrival of Christmas was a big relief to me as it’s the sign that the craziness that began the day after Thanksgiving was finally coming to an end.  With both employers being closed, I was looking forward to the day off and quiet time with family and watching Packers vs. Bears on TV before going back in at 5:30 am on the 26th.

Then the phone rang at about 9 am.

You don’t expect too many phone calls Christmas Day aside from relatives outside the area calling to say “Merry Christmas.” This one, however, was a very different (and honestly a much better) phone call.

It was cousin, ironically from Illinois but a Packers season ticket holder. He had a spare ticket to the game Sunday night and asked if I wanted to go along, no charge at all.  If ever there was a stupid question, this is it.

Of course I’d go! Any Packer fan needs to have their Cheesehead confiscated if they turn down the opportunity to see the oldest rivalry in the NFL in person.  Still, it was Christmas and I knew family was coming.  Like a child excited to be invited to the best party ever, I sheepishly asked my dad if this would be an issue with the family coming over.  Since he’s a Packer shareholder, he borderline chastised me for even asking and said go and have fun.

So I went about the rest of my day wound tighter than a clock in anticipation.  When family arrived at 2:30, I explained my departure and all understood even my other cousin who is a Giants fan (I have the best family ever).  After a communication hiccup involving who was driving and when to leave, we arrived in Green Bay about 6:00 and parked about 4 blocks away from Lambeau Field.

24

December

A Green Bay Packers Christmas Wish List

I’ve always wondered what professional athletes put on their wish lists for Christmas, especially the ones with a large contract. After all, having millions or even just tens of thousands of dollars at your disposal can pretty much buy you whatever you want. Fortunately, I have managed to put my curiosity to rest this week.

Through some careful reconnaissance work, I was able to secure a sampling of items that various Green Bay Packers players and coaches have put on their Christmas lists this year. And in the spirit of giving, I have decided to share the findings with you.

So without any further ado, I present to you the 2011 Green Bay Packers Christmas Wish List:

Aaron Rodgers – “Defensive Cookbook: The NFL’s Top 10 Recipes For Stopping High-Powered Offenses”

Ryan Grant – 20 carries in a single game

James Starks – Black reflective sunglasses, a trenchcoat, and the red pill

Randall Cobb – Percy Harvin’s Playbook

Donald Driver – New publishing deal for a fourth book, “Quickie Wins His Second Championship”

Jordy Nelson – “White Men Can’t Jump” (DVD)

Jermichael Finley – Prototype for Mueller’s new brand of “Traceless Stickum”

Tom Crabtree – The Foo Fighters to get back together

Andrew Quarless – One more shot on Jared Allen

Ryan Taylor – Private lessons from LeRoy Butler on doing the Lambeau Leap

T.J. Lang – A comfortable athletic cup

Evan Dietrich-Smith – “Get In Their Heads: 99 Ways to Annoy Your Opponent”

B.J. Raji – An endorsement deal with Frigidaire

Howard Green – An endorsement deal with Omaha Steaks

Desmond Bishop – “101 Silly Chuck Norris Jokes” for NOOK

A.J. Hawk – Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” on original LP

D.J. Smith – Another growth spurt

Clay Matthews – Renewed subscription to GQ Magazine

Frank Zombo – A flowing Spanish cape, a flat-brimmed black sombrero cordobés, a black cowl sackcloth mask, and a shiny new rapier

Sam Shields – A tattoo artist that can count

Tramon Williams – Face Atlanta again in the playoffs

Charles Woodson – Roger Goodell to abolish the “Tuck Rule”

Mason Crosby – A roof for Lambeau Field

Tim Masthay – Adamantium claws

Mike McCarthy – A case of ice-cold Iron City Beer from the homeland

Dom Capers – Cullen Jenkins