The 2005 season mercifully ended Sunday for the Green Bay Packers, but Cheeseheads bore witness to what may have been a very memorable game as the Packers defeated the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 23 - 17. The win leaves the Packers with an uncharacteristic and unacceptable record of four wins and twelve losses"¦the most losses in Packer history. It also may have been Brett Favre's last game.
The Packers put out a pretty nice effort against the Seahawks. The game was played, however, without some of Seattle's best players as the Seahawks have their playoff berth and home field advantage sewed up. Nonetheless, Brett Favre and Donald Driver put on a nice show as did the defense, led by Nick Barnett. Barnett broke the Green Bay all-time tackling record this season, which is quite an accomplishment given some of the legendary giants who have patrolled the frozen tundra over the years.
Just before the last play of the game, Coach Mike Sherman replaced Favre with Aaron Rodgers. It was a classic "the torch is passed" moment which provided a dramatic opportunity for the Lambeau faithful to pay tribute to the great warrior"¦which they did with a mighty roar amongst chants of "one more year." Favre responded to the standing ovation by waving to the crowd in what may have been his final curtain call. It was a neat moment and perhaps one last chance for Cheeseheads to express their appreciation for the great warrior and for Favre to acknowledge his legion of supporters. Although he has not yet announced his future plans, this symbolic minute seemed to indicate that Brett Favre's brilliant football career may have come to an end.
There are also something like 15 other Packer players who become unrestricted free agents this spring and likely most of them will not be returning. That means there will be lots of openings for newcomers via the draft next April or free agency. A 4 -12 season guarantees changes and not just with the players. Mike Sherman has another year remaining on his contract but who knows what Ted Thompson will decide to do with the head coach position. If Sherman returns next year, I would bet that there will be changes within the offensive coaching staff.
The possible retirement of Favre, the likely change of some coaching staff personnel and the inevitable free agency personnel changes will command Cheesehead attention during the off season. Cheeseheads will also anxiously await the college draft which always plays out with high drama. Due to their lousy record, the Packers will pick much higher this year than they have in a long time. They are guaranteed an opportunity to select one of the elite college players. Cheeseheads are eternal optimists because they know that the Pack will be back!
Happy New Year to All from the Packer Partisan!