Sunday, January 23, 2011

This one is for all the cookies in the jar as far as I am concerned.

All is quiet north of the border this morning.  Once 2 p.m. hits, it might as well be utterly silent.  Pick any random town in the state of Wisconsin and you’ll find a virtual ghost town.  Frozen tumbleweed might as well blow across Main Street.  It isn’t a time to be out and about amidst the hustle and bustle.  There is a football game to be played.  A football game that may be more important than any ever played (if you ask anyone around here).  Shit is about the go real as the actual battle is being fought.

The citizens of Wisconsin aren’t often united on any issues.  If we aren’t debating the merits of a high speed train system, we are arguing about a state wide smoking ban.  There has always been plenty to disagree about.  However, one thing has generally kept us all on the same page.  When it comes to Packers football, this state bands together like chubby kids sneaking out of fat camp.

Just look at Facebook this morning.  It is littered with references to the game.  Hell, the past week has been filled with posts.  There hasn’t been a game getting this much attention ever as far as I am concerned.  People are taking this seriously.  Not just seriously, but bat shit seriously.  The fans are more into this game and rivalry than the players are.

We all know the history.  This is only the second time the Packers have ever played the Bears in the playoffs.  It is the first time ever that the NFC was decided between these teams.  It is an epic scenario just based off of the history of the two teams.  Then take into consideration that a few years back, when hired, Lovie Smith made his first goal as the coach to beat the Packers.  That is a bold fucking statement.  And you know what?   He followed through and beat the Packers that year.  That didn’t sit well with Packers nation.

Fast forward to this season.  The Bears won the NFC North in a fashion that was composed of luck and inept play by the Packers.  The general sentiment is that the Packers lost the division more so than the Bears won it.  On the other hand, the Bears fans all feel as if the critical world of sports is shitting on their team.  They expected more respect since they did win the division and earned a first round bye.  Their team is playing at home.  However, somehow, they are listed as the underdogs.  As a true fan of my own team, I know that would piss me off.

The rivalry was in full force this week.  Nasty verbal barbs were being exchanged.  Jokes were forwarded in emails.  Pictures were photoshopped into trash talking media.  Music videos were shared across facebook.  It is not just Packers versus Bears or the city of Green Bay versus Chicago.  This is about Wisconsin versus Illinois, or how both sides would describe it, Good versus Evil.   This is about those god damned tolls we have to pay just to visit Ikea.  This is about the jacked up prices in Lake Geneva.  This is about all the jokes about bad driving or the implication that being a cheesehead is a bad thing.  All the frustrations of two states in storied feud  gets settled on a football field near the shores of Lake Michigan.  A trip to the Super Bowl is technically on the line, but so are bragging rights.

Wisconsites want to stick it to the FIBs.  Illini want to shut up all the beer drinking cheeseheads.  Whoever wins will get about seven months of bragging rights before the loser gets another shot in this feud.  Seven months can be a long fucking time.  

Many will say that this is just a game.  Those people clearly don’t understand the gravity of the situation.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just Cut(ler) it out. He isn't THAT bad...

Have any of you noticed how there seems to be some real hate for a young fellow named Jay Cutler?  You might have heard of him.  He’s the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears.  No, not him.   Not him either.  I know it’s hard to keep track of all the Bears quarterbacks since there have been 42 of them since Brett Favre started his first game.  However, I am referring to the most recent guy.  Yep, the one with the pouty face.  NOW you know who I am talking about.  This guy.

He doesn’t look too happy in this picture, does he?   I wonder why that is.  It is probably because his blood sugar was low or something like that.  Now, I don’t exactly understand the disdain people have for Cutler.  I’ve never really picked up on a blatant reason to hate the guy.  Sure he throws an interception or two, but so did the guy us Packers fans followed for 16 years.  We got over it.  Poor Cutler might just need to hang in there for a while.  Maybe if he wins some games, he’ll win some people over.

And it isn’t even just Packers fans who hate on the guy.  The people of Denver were happy to see him traded to the Bears.  News outlets in Wisconsin were quoting Bears fans wishing they had Rodgers as their guy.  Hell, the internet is littered with all kinds of memes making fun of the poor dude.  It apparently is really easy to do so.  If I had photoshop skills, I might get in on this.  Instead, I’ll just let a bunch of other people do it for me.

I found some real winners in the Facebook event named “National F**k the Bears Week!”The site is littered with them.   So, with that, let me share the ones that really warmed my cold heart a bit.

This one is probably my favorite since I especially loved “Inception”.  Incredibly creative.

This one is great because it plays on the LOLZ Cats memes and shows some pouting.

I love a good motivational poster mock up.  

This one brings up something I never noticed about Jay Cutler, but gosh damn, they are right!

This one is just plain offensive.  I don’t agree with it whatsoever.  I am curious if it is a photo shop job or a legit jersey someone runs around wearing on game day.  I doubt it’s a Packers fan wearing this shit.  They wouldn’t waste their money on a Bears jersey.  This has to be a disgruntled Bears fan.  Come on, people, it isn’t so bad for you.  Your team made it to a Super Bowl with Sexy Rexy.

This one isn’t even a mock up.  Someone just found an embarrassing photo.   Simplicity is sometimes the most effective.

Some of the photo skills are a little rough, but they make up for it with a good joke.

This one is just plain clever.
Now as I said, I don’t get the Cutler hate.  Other than his supposed poutiness, he isn’t that bad of a quarterback.  He’ll probably even start more than two consecutive seasons for the Bears.  That would be a feat.   However, I am not naive.   I know that a few solid seasons won’t save Jay Cutler from ridicule from the Packers nation.  We make a pass time out of knocking on the Bears’ quarterback.  We’ve been doing it since Jim McMahon was there.  In actuality, longevity at the QB position makes you fodder for Packers fans.  Just ask Jim Harbaugh, Erik Kramer, and Rex Grossman.

Grossman was actually fun to make fun of.  His erractic game play essentially spoke for itself, so the jokes he endured weren’t as funny as his numbers.  Speaking of numbers, let’s go over the astounding number from before:  42.   That is the number of starting quarterbacks the Bears have had since the beginning of the modern Packers era (we’ll call it that from now on rather than pointing out that it is when Favre started his first game).  For shits and giggles, lets look at the list of field generals from the past 19 years (Source:

1992: Jim Harbaugh, Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer
1993: Harbaugh, Willis
1994: Erik Kramer, Steve Walsh
1995: Kramer 1996: Kramer, Dave Kreig
1997: Kramer, Rick Mirer
1998: Kramer, Steve Stenstrom, Moses Moreno
1999: Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller
2000: McNown, Matthews, Miller
2001: Miller, Matthews
2002: Miller, Chris Chandler, Henry Burris
2003: Kordell Stewart, Chandler, Rex Grossman
2004: Grossman, Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson
2005: Kyle Orton, Grossman
2006: Grossman
2007: Grossman, Brian Griese, Orton
2008: Orton, Grossman
2009: Jay Cutler
2010: Cutler, Todd Collins

And yes, I do realize that they are counting guys being shuffled around as an additional start.   Either way, that shit ain’t good.  They probably should have kept Orton.  People didn’t seem to hate him that much.  Hell, they seemed to respect the man’s neck beard.

Maybe that isn’t the best picture of the guy, but I still respect the neck beard.  It takes a big man to pull it off.  In all fairness, Orton had a decent season on a really bad team.  Over 3,600 yards, 20 TDs, and only 9 INTs.  Those numbers are enough to win for a quarterback.   They were just as good, if not better than Cutler (3,274 yards, 26 TDs, 16 INTs).  Kyle Orton still got the good end of that trade.  Even if he is getting pushed out of his job so that the Chosen One can start.  He’ll find a new home and still won’t have to face the ridicule that Cutler will face if he doesn’t win on Sunday.

Now, as I said, I don’t totally get the hate on Jay Cutler.  He is much better than some of the riff raff on that list a few paragraphs back.  Shane Matthews anyone?  Jim Miller?  Chad Hutchinson?   Bears fans should be glad that the guy stays healthy.  Granted he may be inconsistent, I would still take him over most of those other guys.  I respect the fact that he even made it to the NFL when he hadn’t ever played in a bowl game during his time at Vanderbilt.  Hell, this is the first year he has been in the postseason since high school.  The man has something going for him if he is now starting in the NFC Championship game.

Some of the hate is probably jealousy because Cutler is banging Kristin Cavallari from that show I don’t know the name of and would never watch.  That has to count for something, right?  Maybe he has emo hair, but at least he trims it, unlike Mr. Brady in New England.  In fact, he isn’t even the least likable quarterback left in the playoffs.  When has Jay Cutler forced sex on a woman in a bathroom guarded by goons?  Probably never.  

Win or lose, Bears fans, at least your quarterback isn’t an accused rapist.  And that is something to be proud of.

Monday, January 17, 2011

There's no other way,,,

Just over three weeks ago within the walls of Lambeau Field there was a growing rumble of words becoming clearer every second.   There were a few minutes left in the game versus the Giants, but the crowd was already looking forward.  The Packer nation had spoken.

“The Bears Still Suck”

We wanted another shot at those opportunistic sons of bitches.  They stole a division title that should have been ours.  Instead a few mistakes and some ill-timed injuries practically gifted the Bears with the NFC North crown.  The essential idea was that Bears didn’t so much win the division, but the Packers just lost it.

Two weeks ago was an intense release of frustrations.  The Packers needed a win to get in and they just happened to be playing the team that stole what was rightfully theirs.   Lovie Smith had his starters playing the whole time in a game that meant nothing to his team.  However, we would soon learn why he tried everything in his power to win that game.  There is no way in hell that he wanted to play these Green Bay Packers. 

The Packers were now a different team than they were in September.   They were no longer disjointed and undisciplined.   They had overcome the rash of injuries.  This team was now a force to be reckoned with.   These Green Bay Packers were dangerous.  That game in week 17 was not meaningless for the Bears after all.  If they wanted to make it to the Super Bowl, they had to stop the Packers from being on the other side of the bracket.

Only the Packers weren’t going to have any of that nonsense.  The defense shut the Bears down while the offense scored in the clutch.  All they had to do was get in the playoffs.  Once that happened, the regular season didn’t matter.  The playoffs is where the question of “who is better” is sorted out.

This Sunday we will get our answer once and for all.   The rightful winner of the division will be crowned.  The best in the NFC will be known.  The oldest rivalry in professional football would write its most epic chapter yet.  There is no better way to settle this feud than to play in the NFC championship game.

The truth is that the Bears don’t actually suck.  They were good enough to get the job done this season.   They were good enough to get a win over the Pack.  They were good enough to earn a first round bye.   They are not to be taken lightly, but that isn’t anything I would worry about with this Packers team.

By the end of the game third quarter this week, most Packers fans were looking towards the next game.   The same reaction overcame majority of the cheese-head nation.   Sure, we would love to knock around the Seahawks, but that wasn’t going to satisfy our need to prove a point.   We wanted them one more time.  We WANTED the Bears.  We would not be satisfied if it was any other team.  I can’t think of any other way this season could become any more storied.

Bring on the history…

Bring on the rivalry…

Bring on the feud….

Bring on the Bears…. 

Is it Sunday yet?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Destiny is calling...

The expectations were high.  A city, a state, and a nation of followers all had the same goal in mind.   Reaching this pinnacle of excellence was not going to be a surprise.  It was what was meant to be.

Are they meant to achieve the ultimate goal?   Are they merely pretenders?   Were the expectations too lofty?  In less than a week, destiny will show its hand.   On the shore of Lake Michigan, there will be an epic showdown like never before seen.  The outcome has yet to be determined, but one thing is for certain:  It was meant to be.

Two men will finally shake off criticism they may never have deserved.  Validation may be 60 minutes away.

Another may be rewarded for more than a decade of devotion. 

A folk hero can write another chapter.

A field general is on the verge of finally taking his place as the proper heir to the throne.

Under the direction of a defensive virtuoso

A hungry cub will stalk his prey,

While a hungry monster waits to claim his next soul.

A snubbed warrior can send a message to the naysayers.

A season of missed opportunities and close calls can be atoned for. 

Fallen brothers will be avenged.

Disappointment will be replaced by pride.

One obstacle remains to be overcome before anything truly becomes history

A step by step process comes down to one task…

It's time to go bear hunting.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

and the beat goes on for the Packers...

The Green Bay Packers won another game today.   If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t be playing next week.  The playoffs are obviously a win or go home scenario, which is one that scares the crap out of me when it comes to this team.  My beloved Packers are a two-headed animal.  One head is like a beautiful mermaid.  The other looks like Susan Boyle.  You get the team that looks like a well oiled machine or you get the one that played against the Lions late in the season.  You never know which head wears the helmet from week to week.

Fortunately, this weekend’s wildcard game against the Eagles was played by the pretty head of the monster.   The Packers held the lead as soon as they got it.   They were firing on all cylinders in the first half.  They looked utterly unstoppable on offense and defense.  Michael Vick was on a leash (pun totally intended).  Then the second half came around and the fuggle head put on the helmet from time to time.   The offense couldn’t sustain a drive like we needed them to.  However, the defense decided they weren’t going allow another disappointing nail-biting defeat.   The Pack moves on because the defense once again bent a little, but did not break.

That is the story of this 2010 Packers team.  They may bend a little, but they do not break.  This is especially true of the defense.   They may let a team get down the field, but they eventually put a stop to most drives and force a punt, field goal, or turnover.  Twice this came up today when the Pack forced the Eagles to kick field goals after they looked hot.  What happened?  Akers missed them.  This adds to my ever growing confidence in that defense.  We are at a point where I am actually excited to have them go out there.   I anticipate big plays being made.  Matthews is almost always in the mix.  Raji could bust through that line at any moment.   Woodson is always within reason of getting a defensive touchdown.  The Packers defense makes as many plays as the offense these days.  This is something Green Bay hasn’t had since the mid 90s.  A defense like this is built for a championship run.

Aaron Rodgers played as good as he could have given the play calls and dropped passes.  The running game found a spark with James Starks.  They ate up a lot of time which was beneficial because that meant Vick wasn’t out there chucking the ball downfield to DeSean Jackson.  The most important accomplishment by the offense was that they didn’t make any huge mistakes.  They didn’t force anything that wasn’t there.  That was something that happened from time to time during the regular season.  Tonight they went with what was given to them.  It happened to be the running game for the most part.  They also made sure to get the ball to whoever was open.  Rodgers did more checking down than usual.  The ball was spread out and everyone had a chance.  That’s how Tom Crabtree scored that touchdown in the first half.  He was the best option and Rodgers got him the ball.

Rodgers will benefit from being in the dome next week.  He can electrify the air by throwing it everywhere.  The last time he was in Atlanta he completed a career defining 90 yard drive with a Jordy Nelson bullet touchdown pass on 4th down.   It was the most clutch he has ever been.  The Packers would have won that game if it wasn’t for poor special teams play and a shit brained facemask penalty.   I expect Rodge to pick up where he left off.  Now only if the defense can stop Tony Gonzalez.

Speaking of the defense let me make one last point before I call it a night.  Tramon Williams.   He is the defensive player of the year for this team.  He might not be the flashy choice like Clay Matthews or Chuck Woodson, but he deserves the credit.   Tramon was snubbed from the Pro Bowl.  He had a better year than Woodson did.   The reason many people didn’t notice was because we didn’t hear his name mentioned a lot.  Williams didn’t get burned as much as Woodson did this year.  There may have been other guys in the NFL with more interceptions, but that isn’t any indication of Williams’ effectiveness.  It is hard to get interceptions when they aren’t throwing the ball your way because you have their guy covered.  With Tramon being that damn awesome, it allows Woodson to roam around every once in a while.  That usually leads to good things.   For that, Tramon Williams, you are my pick for Packers’ defensive MVP.