(If you are one of my loyal readers, congratulations on being my first loyal readers! Also, I didn’t write an article last week because of The Shingles. I capitalized that because I hope you think it’s a band instead of a terrible, gross disease. Welcome back, me!)
Here we go again. I think that phrase popped into my head about 32 times since it was decided the Packers were going to meet the New York Giants for a Wildcard Playoff matchup in Lambeau this Sunday. Oh Geez.
It’s definitely happening and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Anytime I hear the words “Giants in the postseason”, I get all misty-eyed and for some reason I can’t feel my tongue. Unfortunately, I have good reasons for melting down like a snow pile on the sun–The Giants have been at the foot end of devastating postseason ass-kickings in Green Bay for basically my entire adult life. So, in that spirit, I will tell you the stories of the two times the Giants ruined everything.
After the 2007 NFC Championship game, I sat in a laundry basket for an hour. I can’t remember why, but I also called my ex-girlfriend while I was in there. Yeah, that bad. I watched every single game that year–standing directly in front of the TV. I was 17 and I assumed that sacrificing my own comfort would please Brett Favre. I think it helped. Needless to say, he was robbed of his dramatic, freezing Super Bowl return and I took a few years off my knees. So, sitting in the linens made a little sense.
By the 2012 Divisional Round game, I had discovered beer and no longer needed (nor had the fortitude required) to stand for that long. After 2010-2011–the year in which my alma mater won the Fiesta Bowl, I met my current/lifelong lady friend, and the Packers won 19 straight games and a Super Bowl–I was such a winsome little pup that I was actually excited about beating the Giants and claiming revenge. That did not work out, as you may remember.
Our offense missed the bus and I spilled a full beer on my new girlfriend, breaking the glass in the process. I spent the next few hours building a whole new worldview. I began asking questions like, “What’s the point of regular season success if you bomb in the playoffs?” and “Do you think the girl cleaning up my shattered beer glass wants to kill me, and if I asked her to, would she?”
Thankfully, times have changed. The Aaron of those days is no more. Little did we know, he was merely a cocoon–his current form only a stage in his lifecycle. Then, out popped Godgers and a new day was born. I’m older and I actually live with that same girl in NYC. Of course, I moved as a part of my long-term plan to trick Eli into a large shipping crate and send him to Antartica. He’d probably like it better, anyway.
Green Bay Packers Vs. New York Giants in the Postseason
January 20th, 2008 January 15th, 2012
Final: GB-20 NYG-23 (OT) Final: GB-20 NYG-37
The two games I mentioned are also the only Super-Bowl Era postseason meetings for these two franchises. And, depressingly, there are some eerie coincidences. For instance, both times the Packers have lost to the Giants, they beat them in the regular season. Just like this year.
Both times, it seemed the Packers had Manifest Destiny on their side and were riding straight to the Super Bowl. Granted, I won’t go that far with this team. But, “Run the Table” is pretty magical. There was magic in both previous seasons, as well:
- In ’07, the #1 seed Cowboys lost a stinker to the Giants and the Packers had them at home–where we had never lost a playoff game. At 13-3, with a practically shimmering Brett Favre at the helm, the Packers were a shoo-in. Nope.
- In 2012, the Packers went 15-1 (Goddamn Chiefs) and basically moon-walked into the playoffs. 17 point loss.
Both times, Eli Manning farts around the field for 16 games and then becomes a Clutch God for a full month. He’s really not had a great year in 2016 either, 16 picks is more than double Aaron’s number and that only comes with 26 td’s. If he turns it on in any fashion this postseason, I’m calling steroids. Joe Flacco perfected in 2013 what Eli Manning invented in 2007–though in all honesty the tradition probably belongs to Terry Bradshaw. I can’t quit you Terry.
Both times the Packer QB had a stellar year that put the whole sports world on notice.
- Brett Favre was “Sportsman of the Year” and had one of his best seasons, ever. Also, coincidentally, it was his last year. And the Giants played in his last game. I really hate this team.
- Aaron was the far-and-away winner of the 2011-2012 MVP and looked like he was going to break every record ever on the way to his 2nd straight title. I would have really liked that.
Both games were very winnable after the first half and then devolved dramatically.
- In ’07, it was 10-6 at the half. Donald Driver was making plays and the Packers were in their elements. Coughlin willed the Giants to that victory. I will never forget his frozen red face.
- In 2012, the Giants jumped out to a 10 point lead right at the end of the first half with a last second touchdown to Hakeem Nicks. The Packers were able to cut it down to 7 in the 3rd quarter–then the Giants cut the rope. Eli and the Giants scored 17 points in the fourth quarter. That was the difference.
However, as many similarities as there are to those seasons–there are twice as many differences. This is a different Packers team. It’s been a long time since the team felt good about itself. You could tell the late season victory over Washington did nothing to energize the Packers for this season. By November, the team was wilting and it looked like the window had closed.
But, as good teams often do, they survived. You know the rest. This “chip on the shoulder” spirit is the same one that took Aaron and the 2010 team to paydirt. Whether or not the Packers can win on Sunday is uncertain. But it’s a sure thing that it won’t be anything like those years. Pack to the Past is letting go of the bad memories.
Aaron Rodgers seems committed to making more good ones.