December 28, 2003

Green Bay Packers Keeping Playoff Hopes Alive


In what proved to be a pretty unlikely, but very exciting turn of events (assuming you’re a Packer fan… but then, who isn’t?), the Packers made the playoffs to represent for the NFC North! After a week in which quarterback Brett Favre’s father passed away, people are talking about their less-important win over the Broncos, while the Vikings lost a heartbreaker in Arizona, as if it’s Super Bowl destiny… but then, a lot of other teams will stand in Green Bay’s path on the way to Houston.

I found the perfect recap of the playoff weekend from none-other-than Boomer Esiason, posted on the Packers’ Web site, reminding us all that, not only did the Packers need to win, the Vikings needed to lose:

    Watching the Vikings lose to the Cardinals Sunday wore me out - and I didn't even play. What a wild day for the NFL. Wasn't it Mike Holmgren who asked for divine intervention after his Seahawks beat the 49ers a day earlier? Well, guess what? The unexpected actually did happen. The Seahawks have Saints to thank; the Packers can thank the Cardinals.

    There were smiles and cheers in Green Bay, while tears were shed in Minnesota. This season-ending loss to the Cardinals will be hard to forget for the Vikings' faithful and will be forever remembered in the annals of team history. If you watched the Vikings-Cardinals game from start to finish, you probably could never have predicted the outcome.

    With a series of events that started to unfold last Monday night in Oakland, events too unbelievable to explain, it is now the Green Bay Packers who represent the NFC North in the playoffs. As the Packers were crushing the Broncos in Green Bay on the final day of the regular season, the lowly Cardinals were inflicting a final mighty blow to the Vikings in Arizona. What a way for Dave McGinnis to go out. With his career in Arizona finished, McGinnis is able to savor a memorable final victory over a heavy favorite that needed a win to make the playoffs.

    What in the world was going on Sunday? It's hard to explain. My initial thought was that there's definitely a guardian angel flying over the Green Bay Packers and their quarterback, Brett Favre.

    How else can we explain what happened in Arizona? These things just don't happen - a fourth-down, game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass on the game's final play by the Arizona Cardinals? Are you kidding me? Quickly, answer this: Who threw the pass and caught it? Answer: Josh McCown to Nate Poole. Now see if you remember that next year at this time.

    As Vikings players fell to the ground in complete disbelief in Arizona, pandemonium erupted at Lambeau Field. News of the Cardinals' game-winning touchdown spread like wildfire through the stadium as Packers fans gripped their portable radios and watched the luxury box televisions to confirm what they had just heard. Packers players got the sense that something must have happened in Arizona, as they could not understand why their fans were cheering so loudly for the two-minute warning. Let the postseason party begin in Green Bay.

    Uh-oh! Wait a minute! The final play is under review in Arizona. They're waiting in Green Bay for final word from Arizona ... and finally, the ruling stands: touchdown. I wonder how many people thought of Irvin Favre, Brett's father, at that moment. I know I did.

    It has been an awfully tough week for Favre, except for maybe the football game Monday night against Oakland and the scrimmage against Denver on Sunday - at least that is how the Denver Broncos viewed the game against the Packers. It was what took place between these two games that tested Favre.

And, in fitting post-win gloating, a friend sent me the following poem:

The Last Week of Football

‘Twas the last week of football, and all through the game,

The Packers were winning, the Broncos were lame.

The Vikings were playing the Cards without care,

In hopes that the post-season soon would be there.

The NFC North they had all but wrapped up,

An eleven point lead should have been quite enough.

I still watched the Packers, but to my dismay,

What a shame that another game they would not play.

At the two-minute warning there arose such a chatter,

I quickly switched channels to see what was the matter.

From CBS to Fox, I used the remote,

And saw that game end on this wonderful note:

The Cards had just scored with two minutes to go,

It seemed that the lead, the Vikings might blow.

Then what to my wondering eyes might appear,

But a recovered on-side kick, one more thing to cheer.

The seconds ticked by as I started to wheeze,

The Vikings’ defense looked a lot like Swiss cheese.

And then on the very last play of the game,

Came a miracle touchdown, Lambeau Field was on flame!

You see, our own fans had now heard of that score,

As the shock did wear off, they started to roar.

It began to sink in as to what this did mean,

The Vikings had lost, eighteen – seventeen.

The coach who had blown a six-and-oh start,

Was whining and wailing and eating his chart.

When it became clear that he’d brought on more shame,

His thoughts turned to whom could he possibly blame?

Was it Culpepper, Kleinsasser, Hovan, or Moss?

Or was it McCombs, the team’s arrogant boss?

He looked at his list, and was checking it twice,

But the obvious choice was himself, Mike Tice.

So the Packers did clinch the NFC North,

And into the playoffs they would venture forth.

And Packer fans cheer with this holiday cry,

Happy Christmas to all, but to the Vikings Good-Bye!

Bravo! Now, they have to beat the Seahawks under their old (Super Bowl winning) coach Mike Holmgren… At least it’s at home in Title Town.

- Arik

Posted by Arik Johnson at December 28, 2003 03:53 PM | TrackBack