Post mortem; Green Bay Packers 2004 season
Well, it's over! The Green Bay Packers roller coaster season of 2004. It all ended when the perilously arranged coaster cars derailed. –Brutally slamming 70,000 crestfallen fans onto the spongy turf of Lambeau Field. The faint Super Bowl hopes of the Packers died via an A$$ wiping home loss to none other then the NFL's poster child of dysfunction, the purple stain of the NFC north, the consistently inconsistent Minnesota Vikings.
Brett Favre had his worst game of the season, and it possibly could be Favre's last game as a Packer. I think it just may be. And maybe I think it should be. I don’t mean that, I'm just a little down after yet, another game of inexplicable interceptions. Favreceptions? Plus, I'm not all too pleased with the Slowik's trademark "bend and then break" defense or the woeful special teams play. (With the exception of Ryan Longwell) And how about that pass rush? I swear, on some plays Dante Culpepper had enough time to floss his teeth back there. Hell, even a quick brush and rinse. Dental X-rays even! OK. I'll stop now.
Big News at 1265 Lombardi
As I am setting the type on this article, the Packers just announced a press conference at 3:30 PM on Friday the 14 of January. My sources indicate that Bob Harlan will hire Ted Thomson as the Packers general manager. That is great news! We shouldn't hang Mike Sherman; he hasn’t done the worst job as a GM. Especially how he was tossed into the fire –previous to the Packers he hasn’t even been a head coach, let alone a GM! Considering everything, −he did a remarkable job! But there is much room for improvement. And besides, it's simply too much for one man to handle. Period. With myself being the furthest thing from a workaholic, I can’t imagine why anyone would want 2 full-time jobs! Especially when coaching an NFL team is already like 2 full-time jobs, add the GM duties and that's like having 3 or 4 jobs! Mike, take a break already!
Those who want Mike Sherman replaced as the head coach need to answer one burning question. Who then? Ok, maybe he isn’t the greatest coach in the world, but to be sure, Mike Sherman is a good coach. Maybe a gosh darn good coach! How many great coaches are out there? Plus, I believe Sherman's coaching will get better, once he sheds the GM duties. So, unless Bob Harlan has a Vince Lombardi the 2ND, lined up and ready, he would be crazy to let this man go.
There's one exception. Could we somehow get DickVermeil? I really like him. Of course, other peoples' opinion may differ. Some folks don't ‘especially like seein' their coach cry. You know, ...with big, watery emotional tears of joy, and like, ...all the time! If you're not sure what I mean, check out the NFL film "A coach for all seasons" that chronicles Vermeil's career. It's a must see. You think "The English Patient" was a tearjerker? Just try and hold it in, as emotion builds to unbearable levels... Check out these actual (or, maybe made up) excerpts: Line judge “FIRST AND TEN!" Vermeil: “oh man, I so proud, boo-ho-ho...” or “KANSAS CITY HAS WON THE COIN TOSS..." Vermeil: Wha whaa, sniff, I love you guys, sniff" Naw, let's keep Mike Sherman around as the head coach. But it would be nice to see him cry once in a while. Or, in general, show some emotion on the field.
All in all, 2004 was a rather discouraging season, and the way the Packers folded at Lambeau Field was a just and fitting end. Yet ever the Packer fan, I'm optimistic. She's taken in a bit of water, but the great ship Lambeau isn’t capsized yet. We can get this thing turned around. Maybe if Favre comes back, and if we can get someone to rush the opposing QB's, and relearn how to tackle. Maybe, just maybe, we can snag another one of those purr-tee Super Bowl rings.
With new management in the house, we can expect changes at Packer headquarters. Here are the suggestions that I, S. Lyle OConnor, will make to Ted Thomson, once he settles in and gets around to returning my calls...
•Tom Rossely is the offensive coordinator of the #1 offense in the NFC. Fire him. •Bob Slowik may not be the defensive genius we thought he might have been. Fire him. Or light a fire under him. Or light a fire under his players. Maybe all of the above. •Fire the special team’s coaches. Both of them. •If Favre does come back, there needs to be an understanding that he can be pulled when he's having "one of those days". Man, I know that’s a tough call, perhaps just for one series. It's seldom done
that way, but just try putting the 2nd stringer in. Perhaps it could spark the team. No spark? Then go back to the man. That could take some pressure off him. Or screw with his head even more!!! Like I said, that's a tough call.
Maybe a little perspective is in order...
You know what? Perhaps this junk isn't really all that important! I was in attendance for the Packer/Viking playoff game. (Thanks, Mike and Liz!). Sitting directly behind me was an attractive lady with her adorable 5-year old son. She had a cute southern accent. A hottie with a southern accent! I switched into babe'in mode, and went to fire up the (ever and ever more clunky...) S. Lyle OConnor charm engine. It sputtered on the first pull, then refused to start. When a dozen more tugs on the starter cord yielded no results, I primed the carburetor with a dollop from my Jim Beam flash, and tried again. Ver-roomm! That did the trick! I throttled her up to 115 % charm output and struck up a conversion... I soon learned that she and her son traveled from San Antonio, Texas and were guests of the Packer organization, via the “Make a Wish Foundation”. The poor little guy has terminal leukemia, and his wish was to meet his hero, Brett Favre. Well, they spent a good part of the pregame rubbing elbows with Brett Favre and the gang. They were in good sprits and having a great time. But unfortunately, ...their cute little Texas toes, bones and fingers were frozen half to death. We all helped out by giving them extra blankets and foot warmers, but the relentless Wisconsin chill would give them no reprise. By the 4th quarter they could take it no more, and left to watch the game from the warm confines of the Lambeau Atrium. I thought about that lady and her son a lot since then. When I see people with such grace dealing with such overwhelming problems, it makes me feel truly ashamed of my lackluster, self-pitying existence. Sometimes, we all need a kick in the head, in order to realize just how lucky we are and how thankful we should be. So, if you would, please include them in your thoughts and prayers. Don’t ask me names, ...when the charm engine is running on straight whiskey, my memory modules get a little spotty. Just mention "them nice Texas folks at Lambeau Field". God will know whom you speak of. And while you're at it, please tell the big guy to give my very best regards to Reggie. And ask 'em to please send us down another one. The Packers surely could use the help on their defensive line, but more importantly, humanity desperately needs another giant and gentle helping hand like Reggie White has so often provided.
S. Lyle OConnor has left the building, possibly even the planet. But, even still you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org Go ahead and write him, you know you want to.