The 2011/2012 National Football League season is over following the Super Bowl XLVI victory by the New York Giants over the New England Patriots 21 – 17 in a good game in Indianapolis. At least I think it was a pretty good game, as a buddy and I played pool during this Super Bowl which is a pretty good indicator of my interest in this particular game. During the second half my wife asked me if I thought the Packers could compete with these teams. My answer was “the 2011 Pack could beat either of these teams, assuming they brought their ‘A’ game and played up to their talent level.”
Cheeseheads still have the bitter pill of that first-round playoff exit to the Giants to get over, and now that the season is over I would say that pill is about swallowed and it is time to look forward to next year. Before we do that, Cheeseheads should remember that we were treated to a 15 – 1 regular season, something never heretofore accomplished by a Packer team. The Packers have a very young team with one of the best offenses in football and they have the best player in the league (Aaron Rodgers was announced as the league’s Most Valuable Player last Saturday night). That is a lot to feel proud about.
Coming off last season with the big win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, Cheeseheads’ expectations were high for this past year and the 15 – 1 fueled the excitement. When the tent folded on January 15, 2012, it was a tough time in the Land of Cheese and many of us still haven’t figured out what went wrong. I wrote a column a couple weeks ago suggesting there was uncertainty in the future of the coaching staff. Others have speculated about “resting” veterans in the final regular season game. Whatever caused that meltdown, it is time to look forward to the future. The Packers have won far more championships than any other NFL franchise and the plans start now to put together another run for the Lombardi trophy.
General Manager Ted Thompson is the architect of the current franchise. Thompson was recently named the 2011 Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year so we are in good hands. He knows that there are personnel problems on defense and they need to be addressed. Some of those problems (maybe all) are attributed to players that he either signed or drafted. It will be interesting to see how quickly he will react to correct problems that he may have caused. Top executives learn to deal with their mistakes; how will Thompson handle it? Will he dip into free agency this year? It will be a mighty interesting off season.
This is the last Packer Partisan column of the season. I want to personally thank all of our readers for your comments, opinions and loyal support. It has been a fun ride being your humble Cheesehead scribe over all these years. Have a great “off season” and remember… the Pack will be back.