Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pleasant Surprises

One of the joys of being alive is when something unexpectedly good happens, a positive surprise, a gift that just arrives at our doorstep. For Packer fans, this football season, though only at the halfway point, has already been like that memorable birthday party from your childhood when you got every single thing you asked for.

A Fast Start…It’s A Miracle!
Since 2003, Packer fans had become accustomed to watching their team stumble out of the gate and have to put on a furious rally in November and December in order to have a chance for the playoffs. This season has shown a striking reversal of that unpleasant trend. How wonderful to think that the topic of Home Field Advantage might once again come up during Thanksgiving dinner, instead of unnecessary speculation about what the components are of that unusual stuffing in the bowl next to the turkey. Some things are just better left to our imagination.

Timing is Everything
A seldom discussed aspect of success in the NFL is catching a good opponent during a time of the season when they are struggling. Such as: Playing the Eagles before they figured out that holding onto the ball is in the punt returner’s job description (they apparently thought that dancing skills were the most important thing). Playing the Giants before they stopped listening to Tiki Barber and discovered they were a good team. And of course playing the Chargers while they were still adjusting to a new coaching staff and philosophy.

Not since the Lombardi Era…
Whenever you hear a broadcaster start a sentence that way, you know he’s about to say something positive about the Pack. Last week, the Not Since Vince was the amazing feat of having won six consecutive road games (including the end of last season). The team has gone from Road Worriers that sometimes played tentatively away from home and let excellent chances for victory slip away in maddening fashion, to a team of Road Warriors that never gets down on itself when the opposing team takes the lead.

Bouncing off “The Wall”
How many times were we told prior to the start of the season, that once Brett Favre turns 38 he will mysteriously and suddenly hit “the wall” and be unable to throw a football any longer, because that’s what happened to Elway and Marino, and thus it must be so, now and forever. I think the 40 or so defensive backs that have tried without much success to slow down the Packers’ passing game this season might respectfully disagree with that notion. And the top three quarterbacks thus far in average passing yards per game are: Favre, Brady, Romo.

We should all be lucky enough to hit a “wall” like that during the course of our careers.

Over Time, the novel

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