Hello Wisconsin: Another Year, Another Heartbreak

They're beginning to make a habit of this.

For the fourth time in seven years, the Packers’ season ends with heartbreak in the NFC Championship. 

But unlike the games against Atlanta and San Francisco, this is one that the Packers should have won. And unlike the game against Seattle, there is every reason to believe the Packers were the better team, and that their loss is an upset.

That, more than anything, makes this one tough to swallow. This was supposed to be the year Aaron Rodgers and the Packers finally got back to the Super Bowl, after a decade of waiting.

One cannot say with any certainty what the future holds, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that this was Aaron Rodgers’ last, best chance at getting a ring, with some tough financial decisions looming this offseason. And it stings.

I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time wallowing in this article. It’s Wednesday afternoon at the time of my writing this, which means we’ve already had several days full of drama and despair, and frankly I’m sick of it already.

But damn. This one hits different. It feels like the Packers should be playing in two weeks, and they pissed away the best shot they’re going to get at it for the foreseeable future. 

I’ll love this team til the day I die, but do they ever know how to hurt me.

Why do you still listen to media blowhards?

I can’t believe how many people on Twitter and around the Packer blogosphere this week got sucked into the whole “Aaron Rodgers might not be back next year” ridiculousness. There was never, not once, any reason to believe it’s even a remote possibility. Rodgers makes one offhand remark in the heat of the moment after of the most crushing losses of his career, one that doesn’t even indicate anything about his desire or ability to return, and OF COURSE all the worst people in sports journalism run with it.

Seriously, why do you (“you” not referring to this particular audience, this is just me ranting, DEAL WITH IT) waste so much emotional energy on people like Mike Florio, Skip Bayless, and just about anybody in the national media? 

Unfollow. Block. Don’t consume their content. It’s low-quality clickbait hack job bullshit on its best day. They either know nothing, create content/arguments in bad faith, or both. 

If you want Packers content fixes with takes based on actual knowledge and reason, there’s a whole lot out there for you in all different flavors. 

CheeseheadTV takes a generally positive and upbeat tone, which isn’t necessarily for everybody, but you can’t say the folks don’t know what they’re talking about.

There’s so much great work coming from nontraditional media sources that isn’t trying for manufactured drama. There’s a billion different Packer podcasts that do incredible work, and a lot of it has completely different feels or approaches. Pack-A-Day, Pack’s What She Said, Cheesehead Radio, Reporting as Eligible, the Game On Wisconsin network of podcasts.

You’ve got so many folks who do incredible work with Packers tape. Our own Dusty Evely, and the one and only Ben Fennell are two that immediately come to mind. There’s Andy Herman who does solid grading based on film study.

If you want people who tend to be a little more… well… negative, or at least not as sunshine and roses as people like myself admittedly tend to be, there’s plenty out there for you, and while I don’t always agree with their opinions or care for their style, they’re at least coming from a place of knowledge. 

Ultimately, for me, football is something I follow because I love, and because I love having something to distract me from the unending slog of everyday life (especially in a pandemic). What’s the point of continuing to engage with absolute crap from sources like ESPN, FS1 and NFLN, all of which are largely horrible, when you can get smarter, more interesting and more informed content of all types from people who aren’t just trying to get you riled up for your ad revenue?

Just my two cents.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

Hoo baby. I know I speak up my folks at 1840 Brewing Company frequently and that I’ve featured them a fair number of times in this space recently (I promise I’ll throw some new breweries into the rotation soon), but I just had a beer that was so fantastic I couldn’t NOT share it with you all. Immediately jumps into my list of all-time favorites.

It’s 1840’s Mexican Drinking Chocolate, and by golly is it fantastic.

What you’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with cacao, Mexican coffee, Mexican vanilla, Mexican chiles and cinnamon. It packs a punch at 12.3 ABV, and let me tell you, it’s a special one.

The beer starts out perfectly smooth, with the vanilla and chocolate balancing out the coffee, and then it hits you right at the end with the spice of the cinnamon and chiles. 

As if this wasn’t delicious enough, they also made a barrel-aged version, which is also amazing and adds some fantastic bourbon flavor into the mix. But I almost prefer the regular version, because the barrel aging cut off some of the spice of the chiles, and it’s the chiles that really take this from being a great beer to a Tim Backes Beer Hall of Fame first-ballot entry.

Unfortunately, they sold out of their entire stock within hours of the beer’s release, so it’s not currently available for purchase. But they release this beer each winter, so keep this at the back of your mind for next year and jump on it if you get the opportunity.

LeRoy Butler: Robbed again

LeRoy Butler should have been in the Hall of Fame years ago. And it looks like he’s going to have to wait at least another year.

Butler tweeted a “maybe next year!” update on Wednesday, indicating he was not selected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021. This was Butler’s second consecutive year as a finalist, so he’s at least getting some momentum, which can be difficult for guys who have been out of the game for as long as he has.

I think the chances are good Butler is inducted sometime within the next several years, but every year he waits is a criminal offense at this point. 

Meanwhile, let’s keep that hype train rolling, and get it working for Sterling Sharpe once again as well.

Brian Gutekunst hasn’t failed Aaron Rodgers and that take is ridiculous

I’ve seen so many people talking about how Gutekunst has failed Rodgers, or that the Packers haven’t didn’t go “all in” enough this year for the Packers to win a championship, which is why they’ll be sitting at home on Super Bowl Sunday once agani.

This is outrageously stupid.

The Packers had four first team all pros. Seven pro bowlers. Rodgers played the best football of his career because the Packers brought in a coach that was capable of redoing and revitalizing the offense.

The Packers had players who have an argument for being the very best in the league at their position at left tackle, center, wide receiver and cornerback. They had elite players at left guard, running back, EDGE defender, defensive tackle and safety, and a guy who should have been a pro bowler at tight end.

There might not be another team in the league that is so loaded with talent at so many different positions. That’s not to say the Packers are without weak spots, but I don’t know how anyone making a good-faith argument could possibly, legitimately believe this team wasn’t built good enough to win a championship this season.

There are going to be those who continue to harp on the draft picks, particularly the Jordan Love selection. But which player who was a) available at that spot and b) was legitimately projected to go at that position in the draft would have made the difference in Sunday’s game? There’s not a single rookie in the league that would have made the difference in the Packers’ NFC Championship bid. 

The Packers added crucial pieces in free agency last year. Their 2019 draft picks stepped it up big time this year to help take this team to the next level. There was no further money after last year’s spending spree to bring in big-time free agents this year. Gutekunst gave it what he had, and by any measure, he succeeded. There hasn’t been a better constructed Packers team in at least a decade.

This isn’t about Brian Gutekunst failing Aaron Rodgers. It’s about the Packers as a whole failing themselves. It’s a team that played and coached poorly in a game it should have won.

If anything, that makes the end to this season more frustrating. You can’t make excuses about the roster. The blame is on the execution. Period.

Happy Belated Birthday to Bob Uecker!

Now, I’m not a baseball fan at all. I quite despise it, actually… for all kinds of reasons. It’s the absolute worst.

But you know what’s NOT the absolute worst? Bob Uecker, who turned 87 on Tuesday.

People throw around the word “national treasure” a lot, but that pretty aptly describes Uecker, who is a mammoth figure in baseball and sports, and who is one of the most beloved Wisconsin and Milwaukee celebrities you’ll find. He remains sharp and hilarious even at old age, and Brewers fans are extremely lucky to be able to continue cherishing his calls.

Happy birthday Ueck!

Speaking of baseball sucking,

The Miller Park sign has come off the Brewers’ stadium, and the American Family Insurance Field sign now adorns the facade.

Because, you know, nothing says “baseball totally isn’t irredeemably boring” by going from beer to insurance.

Looking ahead

Next week I’ll spend a bit of space in this column talking about the Super Bowl matching between the Chiefs and Buccaneers in addition to some random Packer musings. After that, I’m unsure what my focus will be during the offseason.

I look forward to random tangents related to the Packers, Wisconsin and otherwise, even when the offseason is at its most dull.

 

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (82)

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ricky's picture

January 28, 2021 at 06:27 am

2020 sucked. We lost a lot of good people. But to hear that Bob Uecker is still alive and kicking at 87? You just made my day. And when it comes time for him to go, St. Peter will be "Putting me in the first row!"

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 28, 2021 at 07:20 am

"Brian Gutekunst hasn’t failed Aaron Rodgers and that take is ridiculous"

Completely agree. This isn't on Gutey. Look at the moves he made late to try and get us over the top. Brought in Snacks. Brought in Velhdeer, Tramon Williams. He was bringing in veterans to make a difference.

Unfortunately Velhdeer got covid and couldn't play. Snacks was barely used and Williams wasn't used at all.
Maybe we should be blaming the ones that were to put these players on the field. Williams for example should have been on the field. I a long with many others said he should take Redmond's role away. If he was playing I have 0 doubts that he catches the ball that Redmond dropped or didn't catch i guess we should say, since i don't think it hit his hands.

There is only so much a GM can do. He can bring in the players but its up to the coaches to get them on the field. There was more then enough talent on this roster to be playing in 2 weeks.
Unfortunately we aren't.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:36 am

Everything Gutey touched this year, and most of it since he got the job, has turned up positively. He is a good GM.

We'll see if he is a Super Bowl GM soon. But this loss isn't on a lack of talent. It is on coaching and execution.

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dobber's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:56 am

DId you watch TWill with Baltimore? He's taken a step back from 2019 already. It's a pretty narrow take to say that he should've been on the field (barring injury) playing a significant role after being plucked off the street mid week. He was a reason to not activate Josh Jackson, and injury insurance if they made it to the SB.

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Coldworld's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:40 am

Yes, he was slow. Father Time catching up even with him. Inevitable yet it’s too easy to forget and juxtapose his former self.

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Coldworld's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:42 am

Duplicate deleted, sorry posting glitch

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Coldworld's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:40 am

Duplicate deleted

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Leatherhead's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:05 am

I agree. Nobody failed anybody, we just weren’t quite good enough to overcome our own mistakes. Close. Closer than last year.

I have to disagree with the author on his “foreseeable future “ statement. I think the Packers will be good next year, too.

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Coldworld's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:46 am

Agree wholeheartedly. Just don’t see the basis for the end of an era mindset.

I think we have improving players and an MVP. The losses are largely planned for and we should have the H back element next year. Still some areas to strengthen (CB for one), but I like the personnel. Get rid of Pettine and a DL might help too.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 28, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Coldworld, Pettine isn’t going anywhere. We’re 28-8 with LaFleur and Pettine. The defense has been above average both years.

And Pettine has accomplished this despite have to work with guys who suck or are overpaid or both, according to the self-appointed cognoscenti. King, Sullivan, Redmond, PSmith, Lowry, Lancaster, Kirksey, etc.

So...sorry to say, but Pettine and just about the entire defense will be back.

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Swisch's picture

January 28, 2021 at 01:39 pm

Leatherhead, I'm reluctant to fire anybody, but I think Mike Pettine should go (and I wish him well).
Even if Pettine is considered to be very good by some, we need to see if we can upgrade to the best defensive coordinator possible.
MLF has the offense up to one of the best in the NFL; now we need to strive to get the defense up to a similarly elite level.
My concern about Pettine is that he may be a talented coach in many ways, but may not be all that good in making quick adjustments during a game. We need that.
Unless the Packers really believe Mike Pettine is an elite defensive coordinator, we should try for someone of that caliber, or someone who is close to elite and trending toward that level of expertise and achievement.
Whatever mistakes MLF may have made with the offense against the Bucs, we can say he is still quite young for a head coach and has a real possibility for growth. We can have good hope he'll learn from the past to make better decisions in the future.
I'm not nearly as confident about Pettine in that way, but could be wrong.
It may be good for all concerned for him to move on to another point and place in his career.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:38 pm

Firing Pettine is Gute's call. And the only reasons you would fire a sucessful DC, is to have a different voice if the message is not getting though or the organzation decided to change the teams play style. That means cutting a good potion of the defense and pretty much starting from scratch. If that were happening Pettine would have been gone already, and we would have heard of mass player cuts coming from 1265 on the defensive side of the house. LH is right, unless there is something we don't know, Mike Pettine is not going anywhere.

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Swisch's picture

January 28, 2021 at 05:49 pm

I guess people would vary in rating the success of Pettine, but I can't help but wondering if the Packers could do significantly better at defensive coordinator -- even if the team's style of play on defense stayed pretty much the same.
I could be wrong, but Pettine doesn't seem an elite defensive coordinator now or in the near future.
The Packers should have an elite defensive coordinator, or someone who appears on the way to becoming elite in the near future.

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dobber's picture

January 28, 2021 at 06:04 pm

"That means cutting a good potion of the defense and pretty much starting from scratch. "

I think it's a safe bet that if there's a DC change (and Pete Dougherty on his most recent Q&A says he thinks there's a 50-50 chance), the new DC will likely need to be able to run a defense that utilizes most of the players already in house (meaning that I wouldn't expect a shift to a base even front).

Sure, they canned Bob Sanders early in the MM years to go from a 4-3 to Dom's 3-4, but they weren't nearly in the same place in their development as they are now.

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mamasboy's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:31 pm

Tramon should have either started or taken someone's place shortly after the game started. That's a real head scratcher.

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egbertsouse's picture

January 28, 2021 at 07:21 am

Criticizing media blowhards? Seriously? Wow, the pot really calls the kettle black in this article.

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TimBackes's picture

January 28, 2021 at 07:33 am

Yes, you know, well-known media blowhard Tim Backes, who writes two articles a week for CheeseheadTV in his spare time, is equivalent to people who get paid millions of dollars a year to spend hours each morning talking about why Aaron Rodgers hates the Packers.

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egbertsouse's picture

January 28, 2021 at 07:45 am

The size of the wallet does not correlate with the amount of wind produced. I think I learned that in physics....or was it political science?

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Johnblood27's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:40 am

I am shocked that you chose to fall back on your supposed education as a defense...

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stockholder's picture

January 28, 2021 at 07:54 am

There is not a single Rookie who could have made a difference.?? HUH? - The Beer has gotten to you. - Queen and Chinn. Not to mention saving $$ for those 7 and others. 2. The blame was aimed at Pettine!!!. 3. 1 cb and a LG doesn't make up for Lack of irresponsibility on this DL. Fault GUTE!! We lost in the trench. Think of what would have happened if we had another Clarke. Which was the problem at the beginning of the season. When he ignored the DL Free Agent market. Lowrey was his solution with Ke KE. TB got it with Vea and SUH! Gute doesn't. So Summers and Redmond were better then Queen and Chinn? Both MVP Rookies and Leaders. Open your eyes. Blinders are for horses. Gute said they were looking for WRs and Lbs at draft time. His solution was a WR that opted out. A ILB that sat the bench, A Retread at RT. And bad trades that cost us draft revenue. What did Love do?. Where was the punt returner we needed? Yes Gute did submarine Rodgers, and this DEFENSE!

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TimBackes's picture

January 28, 2021 at 07:56 am

You lost me at Queen. Queen was one of the worst-graded rookies in the NFL, and one of the worst-graded inside linbackers. The Packers got better play out of Krys Barnes for a much lower investment.

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stockholder's picture

January 28, 2021 at 08:16 am

Queen made the All -Rookie team and Balt. Loves him. Murray was rated higher at draft time. Queen was the fit for GB scheme. Yes Barnes did well until he broke his thumb. If lower investments are what your looking for. Your Fired!

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PeteK's picture

January 28, 2021 at 08:56 am

Martin also chipped in and should improve with experience.

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PeteK's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:01 am

Your argument is moot because our defense stiffened by the end of the year , especially against the run. TB gained almost 300 yds rushing against two very good Ds, but only a paltry 76-3.2 against us.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:23 am

The defense was actually pretty stiff all year, but the garbage time points confused some people.

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Rebecca's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:29 pm

The defense did improve but having a very high scoring offense helped keep them off the field.

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Rebecca's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:24 pm

Too bad Kevin King was such a stiff on those two plays we’ve been shedding tears over. The Bucs’ defense was 5 points better.

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stockholder's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:21 pm

Barnes should improve. A Rookie is considered a vet after 8 games starting. He was a FA. pick-up. Making him out to be the next #66 is a stretch. But since the ILB is a revolving door. And how bad it's been. I understand your feelings. My argument isn't moot. LeFlueur wanted a stop after the FG and didn't get it. How many 3rd downs were converted by TB? Why did LeFluer abandon the running. TBs DTs! If Brady didn't get picked, you would have seen more running. It's all gas and No brakes in the playoffs. You can't run on hot air. Stats are just that in the playoffs.

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PeteK's picture

January 28, 2021 at 03:36 pm

Barnes was a FA ,you never know but, nobody is saying that. Martin missed some time with injuries and no pre season." Veteran after 8 games", you must be confusing players with a new car. Stock , you crack me up.LOl

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 28, 2021 at 08:06 am

The Rodgers Thing - At one point it was reported that Rodgers was seeking an out-clause in his contract. I can't confirm whether or not he actually got it. If he did NOT, then yes, this is all a bunch of B.S. If he DID then there is a reason to perk up your ears when he says things like he did.

Last Best Chance - Following on from my first point, this is why if Rodgers does have an out clause it would not shock me if he used it. I never thought this team would take a step backwards in 2020. I do definitely buy into the idea that this team will take a step backwards in 2021 - and I'm hoping the young guys prove me wrong. I always wanted TT to take a shot at a Super Bowl. Well, Gutey bought guys like Z, Preston, Turner and Amos (and even Ricky Wagner), and the Packers took a shot. It should have worked, but it didn't. Now we are going to have some tough choices to make in 2021 for probably the first time since free agency began in the NFL. And I'm o.k. with that, but the reality is that it is going to be very difficult to keep all of the guys the Packers have under contract for 2021, and probably impossible to bring back guys like Linsley and Aaron Jones, and even Kevin King. Unless these guys are willing to take short prove-it contracts, I don't see them back in Green Bay.

Things I look forward to in 2021 - The continued development of guys like Dillon, Gary, Tonyan and Alexander. The return of Bakh. The (hopefully) continued development of MVS and Lazard.

Early Draft Projections - They are out and guess what, everyone says the Packers should take a wide receiver in Round 1 again. It's supposed to be another deep WR class, so who knows. Personally, OT, DL. Win in the trenches. Period.

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dobber's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:00 am

"The Rodgers Thing - At one point it was reported that Rodgers was seeking an out-clause in his contract. "

There are no voidable years on ARod's deal. The Packers hold the cards. His only power is to sit.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 28, 2021 at 05:35 pm

I don't see that happening.

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Coused's picture

January 28, 2021 at 08:11 am

Good post

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Guam's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:07 am

"But which player who was a) available at that spot and b) was legitimately projected to go at that position in the draft would have made a difference in Sunday's game?"

WR: Higgins, Pittman, Shenault, Claypool

DL: Gross Matos, Blacklock, Davis

ILB: Queen

All of these rookies played significant minutes and were impactful for their respective teams. Would they have made a difference on Sunday? I don't know, but they played well enough elsewhere to be seriously considered.

And please don't drag out the ridiculous idea that these players weren't graded for a first round draft choice. The Packers can trade back just as easily as they traded up (Love) to insure proper value for their pick. And this doesn't consider what the Packers could have done with their fourth round draft choice. Given the success of their fifth and sixth round draft choices not to mention their UDFA pick up (Barnes), the potential contribution of a fourth round pick should not be entirely overlooked.

Gute drafted for the future rather than for 2020 with his first and fourth choices this year and that is both his job and his choice to make. That does not insulate him from legitimately being scrutinized for choosing the future versus maximizing the opportunity now. The Packers would have been a better team in 2020 with any of the above players and a fourth round draft choice than they were with Jordan Love who never was active for even one single game. Would they have been better enough to beat the Bucs? I don't know and I don't think anyone else knows.

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Mojo's picture

January 28, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Good post Guam.

There must be an internal memo at CHTV that states no one can criticize Gutes 2020 draft.

You can't convince me that out of the entire 2020 rookie class there was no players who would have been as good or better than what were GB starters this year and that GB had no chance in getting them.

I said before and after the draft, GB should wait a year or two before going after Rodgers replacement. Now we're going to burn at least a couple years of Loves rookie deal.

A replacement better than a starter can make a difference.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 28, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Those guys all had fine rookie years, but are any of them such an improvement over what we had that it would have made the difference in this game?

Like you say, I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

We lost this game on two plays: The TD bomb before the half, and the fumble/TD to open the second. None of those players you mentioned would have changed that. The WRs......we had the league’s best passing offense without them. MVS had over 100 yards and a TD. Lazard was wide open for a TD. We didn’t lose this game because we needed some rookie WR.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Here’s the story on Love: The personnel people studied every snap he took in college. They talked to his coaches and teammates. They interviewed him. Then they said “this is our guy”. If he’s a bust, it means they were all wrong about him

He’s had his year to learn. Get stronger. And he’ll get another year. He’ll be the backup to Rodgers in 2021. We’ll be good again, and we’ll take another shot with Rodgers. After that it’ll be more about Love than Rodgers. If Love is ready, we’ll move Rodgers.

But soon...sooner than we realize....this guy is going to be our starter.

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Guam's picture

January 28, 2021 at 03:18 pm

I understand this is all conjecture at this point and none of us has any idea whether these rookies would have made a difference. What if a rookie DL burst through the Bucs O-line and sacked Brady on the TD bomb before halftime, thereby stopping it? We can make up scenarios until the cows come home and none of it really matters.

My basic point is that we were very close and it wouldn't have taken much to put the Packers into the SB. Whether the first and fourth round draft choices would have been enough is anybody's guess, but the possibility existed for Gute to do more for the 2020 team. He opted for the future instead. I hope he is right.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:24 pm

It was Keke's job, but he was out with the Concussion. Claypool was intriguing, no doubt, he would be the big WR/TE red zone presence. After Lynch poached Aiyuk, Higgins was the guy I would have preferred on a trade down. I would still take Love over Tua.

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Tingham's picture

January 28, 2021 at 08:51 am

Tim.
Great Column as always. You summed up all of my feelings in one article. From the heartbreak of the loss to the Rodgers non-story to the Gutey let us down. The only thing disappointing to me is I live in California and wont be able to indulge in the Imperial Stout bomb. Sounds awesome. Keep up the great work and remember haters gonna hate.

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TheBigCheeze's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:00 am

"This is outrageously stupid."----no, timmy....YOU are outrageously stupid.....just look at Tampa Bay.....they went all-in this year, and they're on the cusp of going from worst to first...goofynutz traded up to take a QB.....'nuff said....

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PeteK's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:18 am

Guam and Cheeze, imagine if Love works out like many QBs who sit and learn, it's a QB driven game. Our young LBs were solid and WRs good this year. Your comments disrespect two of our hard working and best finds, MVS and Lazard.

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Guam's picture

January 28, 2021 at 12:00 pm

PeteK: This was a legacy decision by Gute. If Love proves to be the next great Packer QB, all will be forgiven and forgotten just as it was after Thompson drafted Rodgers. If Love bombs.....this draft will haunt Gute for wasting the best chance for Rodgers to win another SB. Since less than 50% of the QBs drafted in the first round in the last decade have signed a second contract with the team that drafted them (i.e. bombed), this is a high risk reward decision.

And no, I am not disrespecting our young wide receivers. The four I listed would have been talented additions to the Packer receiver corps regardless of how MVS and Lazard performed. Additionally, I would have preferred drafting a defensive lineman and yes, I am disrespecting Lancaster, Lowery, Harrison, Price, etc. etc. Our D-line is just not that talented save Clark. If you aren't sure about what a really talented D-line can do, see: Bucs, Tampa Bay.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 28, 2021 at 01:50 pm

Not talented, yet we should fire the coach who put an above average defense on the field with untalented people.

Does that make sense?

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frankthefork's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:07 am

Bet a hundo that Sammy E. from Texas starts and plays better than Love at anytime in the NFL...and you can get him in April with the 30th pick or later. I would draft him for grooming and bet Love still will be the Back-up. Boyle and Rodgers are both gone come June 2022 or earlier.
Point is trading up is giving up another player...period! 4th rounders usually play and start. Look at the facts.

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stockholder's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:33 pm

The odds are against Love. Especially to make MVP. No Matter how you argue the the Love selection. It was to get Rodgers traded, and Cap relief. The picks being the frosting. Gute threw the gas on the fire. And Rodger's didn't play #4. More to gain then lose. Especially his own wallet.

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Striker's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:24 am

The Bucs went 7-9 last season despite the human turnover chucking a league high 30 INTs. They had a top 6 defense by DVOA. They actually only signed 3 UFAs in the offseason and even, with Brady, are hardly "all in".

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tealman0's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:16 am

So if people don't agree with you, they are "outrageously stupid." With such open mindedness I'm surprised you haven't been tapped to help broker the mid-east peace talks.

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TimBackes's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:27 am

Yes, absolutely, it is an outrageously stupid take to think the Packers did not sufficiently build a roster capable of winning a championship.

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Guam's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:13 am

I guess I am outrageously stupid for thinking they didn't build a roster capable of winning a championship (since they didn't) and could have done more with a first and fourth round choice than pick a player who never played. Stupid me.......

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Swisch's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:22 pm

Guam, it's an opinion piece by Tim, which means he can say outrageous things.
In your comments, which are opinions, you can be outrageous, too.
Sometimes in the heat of a good discussion, it's possible for one or more of the participants to get carried away. I don't know if that's the case here, but let's hope there are no hard feelings, at least none that last all that long.
I think it's a good discussion about this past draft and the wisdom of picking Love, especially in terms of whether we could have gotten help on defense.
A sincere question for you Guam: When we look at the front seven for the Bucs, and even add a couple or more of their reserves, is there anyone we could have reasonably drafted in 2020 who would make a similar impact this season?
Another question is whether any of your draft picks would have upgraded the Packers front seven on defense to really make a significant improvement for the unit this season?
Even if your guys contributed to other teams this season, would they have been better right away than who we have?
One way to think about it: Would Kenny Clark have made a big difference in the Packers defense if his rookie year was 2020?
Again, good discussion, and probably no one is right and wrong.
I lean heavily toward Tim at this point if there is not that one front-seven defender who would have been a big difference this season. (Remember, too, that we didn't have Keke for the Bucs game).
I'm uninformed enough to make my opinion in this case rather mild. but I'm okay with others making stronger, more outrageous statements pro and con.
In any case, let's hope we could all have a beer together tonight in good camaraderie, whatever our opinions on players and tastes in beers.
One topic of discussion would be how to balance any given draft year to fill current needs as well as future needs -- including, as a real-life example, this upcoming 2021 draft for the Packers.

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Guam's picture

January 28, 2021 at 03:23 pm

I don't get too upset by anything on a blog Swisch. I would prefer people not get too outrageous in their opinions simply out of a sense of decency toward others, but I am old and old fashioned that way. I was poking fun at Tim because of the language he used and turned it back on him. I wasn't actually upset because I understand your point very well - it is an opinion piece.

Regarding players that could help, both Blacklock and Davis (DTs) were playing regularly as part of their team's DL rotation and both teams had decent defensive lines to start with so it wasn't need driven playing time - they earned their spots. Would either one have made a big difference - hard to say. Some rookies are major contributors (think Elgton Jenkins), others not so much. However the Packers were without Keke and playing Lancaster and Lowery a lot. Would Blacklock or Davis have been better? I would like to think so, but this is all hypothetical so who knows?

As much as I am not a fan of Queen, he played all year as the starting ILB on a playoff team. Would he have been better than UDFA Barnes - probably. Enough better to beat the Bucs, doubtful, but again who knows?

My primary point was that Tim stated that Gute did everything he could to make this team as good as it could be. Not true. I understand why Gute drafted Love, but those picks could have used to make the 2020 Packers a better team. Better enough to win it all, IDK, but certainly better.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:55 pm

Giving the constraits of the Cap, Tim's right here. This is not PFF we are talking about. Building a roster that becomes good enough to be elite takes skill and luck. Could we have used more depth, sure and a healthy Raven Greene too? But to pretend that those players would make a difference in the Packers defensive system....that's just projecting.

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Guam's picture

January 28, 2021 at 06:03 pm

The salary cap has nothing to do with this - we're talking about rookies who are cheap.

Regarding projecting, yes I am. Neither one of us knows whether those rookies would have made a significant difference on the 2020 team. Elgton Jenkins made a large difference in his rookie year. Rashan Gary did not. Rookies are always a crap shoot. However these players certainly could not have contributed less than Jordan Love who was inactive the entire season and possibly might have contributed much more.

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Dragon5's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:29 am

Tim, does Woodman's carry the stout every winter?

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TimBackes's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:33 am

I'm not sure what distribution looks like for this particular beer. The smaller the brewery, the more I'd recommend getting it directly from the source. But if any chain would have it, it would probably be Woodman's.

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PeteK's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:36 am

I think Rogers likes to tweak the media just a little bit. LOL Gute earned my respect this year because even with a draft for the future, it still produced a starter and 3 players that had solid contributions plus a few minor. If we equal that next year we'll be set( starting CB, contributing RB, RT and the rest is gravy.

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dobber's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:03 am

Rodgers is a smart dude. He knows anything he says will be dissected, analyzed, and scrutinized ad nauseum. He doesn't waste words because of it. He also keeps a low profile because of it.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:39 am

"Unlike the game against Seattle, there is every reason to believe the Packers were the better team, and that their loss is an upset."

This was an upset. But we were the better team in 2014 vs SEA too. Same with 15 and 09 vs the Cards. The same as 11 and 07 vs the Giants. Same os 03 vs PHI. Same as 98 vs SF. 97 vs DEN. 95 vs DAL.

In the last 25 years, we have had ELEVEN legit shots at the title. We have won 2. Either our coaching staff or our players have pissed away NINE of those shots. By my logic, this was the 4th worst pants-wetting in that time (1. 97 2. 14 3. 07). We have two super bowl titles in almost 30 years with 2 top 10 all-time QBs. Frankly, that's just not good enough.

It's time to admit the obvious, even if it hurts: The modern-day Green Bay Packers are playoff chokers. And THIS is why I have learned over the years that it's the hope that kills you. This shit hurts. More this time around because for the first time since '11 I actually started to believe after Tennessee that we were going to win it all. I started to hope. Even in '14, until we buried SEA for 3.5 quarters of THAT game, I thought they were better and expected to lose going in. I expected to win this one. Most of the time, I just expect the January loss, because I have 30 years of proof it's almost always coming.

Well, it did. See you all in September of '21. Let the annual heartbreak appointment begin. Again. :(

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Crankbait's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:32 am

I disagree, the Packers were not the better team. Better offense? Maybe. Better team, no way. no comparison with the defense , outcoached also.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:38 am

Crank,

We won the turn over battle. Won the TOP battle. Won the yardage battle. We lost in situational football. The very thing we've led the league in all year.

We were the better team all around on Sunday. We choked.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 28, 2021 at 12:49 pm

TOP and TO battle wins are stats that are important and usually the first things applied to a win, but the situational is the real decider of a win or a loss, and says more to which team is the better. The Packers have been marvelous in the stats, but situational success has been awful when needed most, and why they haven't achieved the success desired, the SB victory, less participation.

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Dragon5's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:01 am

I believe it's the culture...commercialization of the sport and political "nice guy" correctness has taken our storied past of the Lombardi days that preached rugged fundamentals and excellence with little margin for error to "hey look what we accomplished , we'll get it next time." Unfortunately that has permeated to youth ball with the "every kid gets a trophy." To put it bluntly, we're soft, and have been for a decade. Soft teams crumble during crunchtime and the Packers are now unfortunately the NFL poster child with the current 4 of the last 7 NFCCG loses. Build a team not just on diva-esque RAS potential, but also blue collar lunch pail guys with some nasty grIT that know how to lead; we haven't seen that formula since 2010 and you know I'm speaking of guys like CWood, Collins, Jenkins, Sitton, Driver etc. With the evolution of social media and self expression so prevalent nowadays, It would be really fun to put Lombardi on the sideline to observe his reaction how someone like current scapegoat Kevin King celebrates a tackle that he just gave up 6 yards up on or Jamaal Williams dancing because he gained a simple first down. One day, I hope we once again reach the point where we pound opponents into submission, AND DON'T LET UP.

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fastmoving's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:41 am

Just a great read. Smart and true.

Unfortunattly the flatearth crowd, who knows everything and just want to fire all, because we are too soft and wasting here prime, will always be there. They just like conspiracy (and not just in football, like you could see) and feeling smart once in here life. And thats the only chance for them.

Im proud of the Packers. Proud of the team and the organisation as a whole. Great story and great people. They did good and they are brave and thats since decades (at least most).

Maybe not good enough for all, but you can never get these kind of guys. No chance. They just like to complain and to cry.

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dobber's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:10 am

The bottom line is that 2021 will depend on what the league does with the cap. There's reason to believe that there won't be a catastrophic cap contraction: the NFLPA wants to avoid that at all costs. The best we can hope for is that the two sides will negotiate a cap freeze and the 2021 cap will be about the same as 2020. If that happens, that leaves the Packers (with their top 51) about -$13M in cap space. This team will look different in 2021, but should retain the majority of its starters. The depth will be young, first-contract guys but this coaching staff has shown an ability to coach up some position groups. How 2021 firms up will be the drama of the offseason, and I'm genuinely excited to see how it happens.

They've already made one key move in letting Mennenga go.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:12 am

Hopefully, Pettine is next and they don't hire STs or DC in house.

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BBlake's picture

January 28, 2021 at 03:00 pm

Too late.

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Since'61's picture

January 28, 2021 at 10:44 am

Remember last season at this time we were also disappointed. Based on how badly we lost to the 49ers and based on the team’s needs we did not have expectations that we would go 13-3 again and get back to the NFCCG.
And yet even with what many of us considered questionable draft picks and no offseason to speak of we did go 13-3, earned the #1 seed and returned to the NFCCG.

Each and every NFL season is its own silo. We should not infer what next season will be based on the conclusion of this season. If we did go on the the SB this year it would not automatically mean that we would repeat next season.

We may decline next season or we may reach and win the SB next season. Only time will tell us.

We may be disappointed now but that can all change by this time next year. Until then, it’s one day at a time.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:31 pm

Did you receive your vax yet?

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:02 am

You cannot blame the pundits when the person of their punditry is responsible for igniting the fuse. It may be clickbait, but so were most articles in the newspapers and the reason was to create sales and followers in today's version of newspapers.

I have derided this team nearly all season, as like other seasons. Much is because of the players brought in, players released etc, but the one significant reason was again proven to be what I fear most, this team cannot sustain the playoff level of play needed to win. Coming close is not winning regardless of how much one spins it to a liking, it's a failure. Winning is winning and losing will never be winning. The regular season record means nothing come playoff time. It's what enabled you to be a participant, but it means nothing when playoff play is a much higher demand from the players and coaches. The Packers know more about how to fail then win in January, the time of the season that makes winners and puts the losers and pretenders on the stage of mockery, where all excuses become the jokes that make it an even worse stage to be upon.

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Lare's picture

January 28, 2021 at 02:28 pm

The result this season shouldn't be surprising to anyone, they went 13-3 last season and didn't do anything to improve the roster in the last offseason so they ended up with the same result.

I'm betting that if they don't do anything to improve the starting roster or coaching they'll end up with pretty much the same outcome next season.

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PeteK's picture

January 28, 2021 at 04:01 pm

"All our yesterdays have lighted fools, poor players that strut and fret their hour upon the stage, It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury"

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Swisch's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:20 am

The Bucs seemed a little better to me than the Packers.
***
I don't read much about the Packers except here at CHTV. I like the staff writers and the fans.
***
I don't care how great Rodgers is in the regular season, if he's not willing to follow the play calling of MLF in crunch time, he's not worth it.
I don't know whether or not this is the case, but it needs to be addressed urgently -- because this kind of insubordination would poison the whole team.
Even if the Bucs are better than the Packers, the Packers are good enough to have won this game.
I'm not saying Rodgers was disobedient and caused the loss. I'm saying the question about his cooperation and compliance needs to be asked -- and answered by at least the coaches and front office.
MLF has to trust Rodgers in the same way Lombardi trusted Starr, or the season-ending heartbreaks will continue.
I know I've been writing about this a lot, but I can't think of a more critical issue for the Packers. We can't expect the heartbreaks to end if we're not willing to address the hard questions.
As a fan of Rodgers, I truly hope he's back with the Pack -- but he has to be all in with MLF as a total team player.
No matter how successful the regular season, no matter how amazing the passing stats, a team can't win the biggest games if the quarterback won't respond well to the coach in the most important moments.
***
Having written that, my sense of things as a passionate Packers fans since the early 1970s (b. 1962 at Columbia Hospital in Milwaukee) is that we fans really have to savor the good things -- such as two straight seasons of 13-3 records, with a playoff victory after each one.
Each win is to be cherished. Every player who makes a sincere contribution is to be appreciated and embraced as a person.
There's a lot to be excited about these days as Packers fans, and as the emotional aches and pains from this past Sunday slowly subside, we do well to enjoy the highlights from this past season.
Now the fun is thinking about how to get better, although it's hard to be patient until we see guys on the field again, hopefully in early August with lots of fans in attendance.
***
Now I need to give myself another COVID-haircut, if I can summon the energy and the courage.
I wish I had a good chocolate beer with Mexican spices, though without the caffeine, and less alcohol.
I don't much like the hoppy beers that taste like grapefruit, or the dark beers with too sharp an aftertaste.
I wish there were more rich and creamy stouts and porters (not sure of the distinction between them), but haven't found that so far in my fairly recent home of northern Georgia, between Atlanta and the Appalachians.
Kind of wish I lived in Cedarburg (my late mom's hometown) or somewhere else in Wisconsin; but it's nice here, not nearly as cold, and I'm glad to be near my wife's family (all of them transplants from California).
Don't think I'll watch the Super Bowl.
Please excuse the length. Thanks for reading if you came this far.
Happy Off-Season!!!

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Philarod's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:19 am

I agree with the spirit of this article, but can't say that nobody from where the Packers ended up drafting (or later) would've helped. At WR alone, either Claypool or Higgins would've mostly likely instantly become WR#2...and possibly, in time, WR1. They have almost the size of Lazard, but with much better tools and athleticism.

I would say that other than Rodgers, the only other elite players are Bakh (injured), possibly E Jenkins, and Jaire. I even hesitate on Davante. I have great regard for his character, and know that he's technically very polished, but I don't see him as close to the top WR in the league. And he did not play well Sunday. Neither, of course, did AJ -- good, but not top tier...with Henry, Delvin Cook, a healthy Saquon or CMC and a few others clearly better. That said, I'll miss him if he leaves, as is likely.

But even with GB's mistakes -- essentially handing TB 7 points right before halftime, and 7 right after, and dropping a 2-point conversion (16 points!!), "we" were 5 points away -- with two of our stars having bad games, and Lazard kind of MIA. I mean, we praise WRS around here if they get a little separation and actually hold onto the pigskin.

But same old, same old: Although a better squad this year, Rodgers has basically been surrounded with 6-10 talent and 8-8-type coaching the last 10 years, and still brought the Pack to the precipice four times and worked miracles to get them in contention a few other years. By statistical analysis (I can't cite the article off the top, but read it this morning) he has been the top postseason QB the last 20 years, and it's not all that close for second place (yes, counting Brady). He has had to play almost perfect football for them to win -- the exception (ironically) being the first NFCC over the Bears. No, he wasn't perfect...and maybe, he could have run it in on 3rd down (not sure), but with any decent play around him, he has 4 TDs and O INT with an often-collapsed pocket.

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Packers0808's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:42 am

You seem to be sports wise mentally challenged!

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Philarod's picture

January 28, 2021 at 12:46 pm

And you say that because ___ ,or is that all you can offer?

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Packers0808's picture

January 28, 2021 at 01:31 pm

Because by reading your post it is self evident!

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frankthefork's picture

January 28, 2021 at 11:20 am

2020 results = below average draft effort-failure. The Goal was the Championship and SB.
Changes over the last 25 years ; 2 great quarterbacks with one SB each with 12 chances at NFC championship game opportunities.
The main common denominator is the stubborn FO. W/ Tight wad Russ Ball...and board. It's top down in every business I know of!

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Razer's picture

January 28, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Ripping on Gutekunst is easy and may be a way of taking out frustrations. I am not a fan of some of our "Packer ways" but these front-office tendencies didn't keep us from winning the NFC Championship. Our coaches, quarterback and some critical mistakes kept us from reaching the top.

I would like to see us value D-line and ILB more than we do. I think that it has been a perennial weakness for Packer teams this past decade. As I was hoping we would invest in a real running game and some honest TEs. Well, we did finally embrace the running back and got ourselves some tight-ends and wouldn't you know that we forgot about them when it mattered. That loss was coaches forgetting about their strengths, stupid decisions and a quarterback who can't rise past his tendencies.

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Todd's picture

January 28, 2021 at 03:25 pm

Fun read, Tim, and really like your comments about the "media blowhards." The other day on cbssports.com I saw an article "Aaron Rodgers trade rumors: Five best fits", and in a moment of "WTH...is he leaving?" clicked on it. Of course, I was quickly shaking my head at the craziness of it and my own stupidity for clicking on it. The national media is absolutely breathless over the possibility of Rodgers leaving.

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stockholder's picture

January 28, 2021 at 07:11 pm

After reading other comments. I See why he said it. The grass always looks greener on the other side. The writing is on the wall. He can see it. He's now walking on egg shells. And everyone knows it.

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Starrbrite's picture

January 28, 2021 at 08:40 pm

Good article Tim. I don’t however like the title. Many of the biggest packers fans in the nation (including myself) are not from Wisconsin and have never lived there.

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Maxswag's picture

January 28, 2021 at 09:05 pm

Yes, heartbreak is the right description for that game!

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