I’m sorry cheese heads, but the dream has died. For the second time in four seasons, the Packer Nation was teased with the idea of a “magical” season that seemingly could have no end. But that’s the trouble in having Brett Favre as your quarterback. While you’re never out of a game, you’re just as sure to have your heart ripped out in the final seconds by a coined Favre interception.
But let’s not hang our heads. The 2007 Green Bay Packers accomplished many things, let alone reached the conference championship game. Along the way to a 13-3 record, the Title Town natives escaped tough road game at Denver and Kansas City, beat one of the two teams in the AFC Championship, and won one of two against this year’s NFC representative in the Super Bowl. Granted, they couldn’t finish things up in the most crucial match-up of the season, but can you really blame them?
Well, actually, yes you can.
This team overtook everyone. Even non-Packer fans started rooting for this team. The apparent lowly Giants upset the Cowboys in the second round of the playoffs, setting up a game that, for all intents and purposes, Green Bay should have easily won. They had Ryan Grant and a stout rush attack fresh off a 200 yard performance in a dominating win over Seattle. They had a bend-but-don’t-break defense that kept opponents out of the endzone more often than not. They had Lambeau field, for once living up to it’s name, and actually being the frozen tundra. And they had Brett Favre.
Brett Favre, you know, the guy who broke all those records, kept the fans of Miami and St. Louis interested in the NFL season, and made that guy at the bottom of last year’s fantasy leagues look like a genius when he nabbed him in the middle of round six.
But this was all too good to be true, wasn’t it? Just like the 2004 season when the 1-4 Packers went on a surge and ended 10-6, only to fall to the Philadelphia Eagles in overtime. And how did that magical season end? Just like this one. With an ill-advised toss. Begging us to ask the question, yet again, if the magic man himself really does have anything left to give us.
Well, he proved all season long that the answer was yes. Could he still beat top level teams? In the first three games of the season he helped the Packers beat the Eagles, Chargers, and Giants. All three of which were in the post-season the year before, and two of which ended up in this year’s conference championship games. In other words, yes, Brett Favre could still get it done against the elite.
But was his arm still as good as it’s always been? Was he still accurate? Could he still be prolific? After breaking every major career record, Favre nodded his head to that question, as well, on his way to a 4,000 yard season, topped with 28 touchdown tosses, his most in three years.
But what is there to make of a team, that in just two seasons, made a dramatic jump from a 4-12 bottom feeder to a 13-3 squad that sat among the NFL’s elite for most of the season? What do we make of them squandering home-field advantage, missing golden opportunities, and literally throwing the game away?
For starters, we forgive Brett Favre and give him a mulligan. Without him and his ridiculous risk taking, Green Bay would not have been 8-8. Note the heroic efforts against San Diego, Kansas City, and Denver, as well as his dominant performances along the season. He was truly the heart of the 2007 Green Bay Packers.
And after forgiveness, what then?
Well, if you’re a Packer fan, you hope and pray he returns for one more season.
And if he does come back and things end the same way; an interception to end the season, then that’s what is going to happen. Because at the end of the season, only one team can win. And while the 2007 Packers are right with all those other 31 teams that will not be labeled NFL Champion, they’re the only one with Brett Favre on their team.
Here’s to one more season of missed opportunities. Here’s to another playoff run with Brett Favre. Here’s to one more shot at true magic.