First, a moment of silence for all the dear Green Bay Packers fans out there. You have certainly been gracious throughout the 2011 season as the Vikings played football like a dog on roller skates and your team cruised toward Heather-Graham-in-Boogie-Nights perfection. To see it all end with a horrendous choke -- and yes, that is really the only way to describe both the final score and the manner in which it was achieved Sunday -- has to be painful. We are respectful of and familiar with your pain. But still, that doesn't mean we are going to let an opportunity pass by to write a little bit about Sunday night. So here are a few thoughts, neatly divided into two categories:
PACKERS MAKE HISTORY
Some historical fun facts:
*The Packers are now the ONLY team to finish 15-1 or better in a 16-game regular season and not win a playoff game.
*Aaron Rodgers finished the regular season with a 122.5 passer rating, the best in NFL history. But three of his final four games were under 100 ... including his 78.5 mark on Sunday, which was his worst of the season.
*As mentioned on Twitter but us as well as others: Daunte Culpepper still has more Lambeau Field playoff victories than Aaron Rodgers. It's still unclear which part disgusted Joe Buck more. We're not happy to see the #DiscountDoubleChoke hashtag lighting up Twitter, but we're not NOT happy. (Also, it is available in T-shirt form).
*You might have thought the Packers' defense was horrendous on Sunday -- and, to be sure, the tackling was atrocious. But in terms of total yardage -- 420 total yards allowed, including 325 passing -- it really wasn't much worse than their average. Of course, Green Bay was historically bad on defense this year. The Packers set NFL records for most yards allowed (6,585) and passing yards allowed (4,796), good for per-game averages of roughly 410 and 300, respectively.
PACKERS HELP HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF
*You couldn't watch that game Sunday without being reminded, on several levels, about 2007. 1) Once again, the Giants went into Lambeau Field and crushed the hopes and dreams of a Packers "team of destiny." 2) Once again, the Giants defeated a team in the conversation as one of the all-time greats (Patriots in 2007). And once again, a catch pinned against a helmet played a key role -- the above picture on the Hail Mary before the end of the half, and this one from the Super Bowl (turn away, Patriots fans)
*Speaking of those desperation heaves ... well, the entire state of Wisconsin might have seen enough of those this season. Lest we forget, it was a Hail Mary from Michigan State that ended the Badgers' run at a perfect season and dashed any hopes of a BCS Title Game berth.
Again, fans of Wisconsin-based sports: We are sorry to have to bring these things up. We legitimately know this is a rough day for you. If you'd like the names and numbers of any 15-1 support groups, we know a few good ones. If you'd like to borrow our "My team went 15-1 and all I got was heartbreak" T-shirt, you are welcome to it (just cross out heartbreak and write in with Sharpie "the benefit of every imaginable call, and my team still lost by three scores").