Born out of a series of Tweets by @RandBallsStu (#hirestu), an idea by your humble proprietor and a sick thirst to rile up Packers fans for no good reason, we present another year of “The Increasingly Lost Season.” Stu will continue, tongue-in-cheek, to explain the Packers’ misfortunes as they inevitably tumble into Randy Wright-esque putridity. Stu?
How do you recover from the worst defeat in your franchise’s long history? The answer is time, but the Packers will need more of it. I have an idea.
Every generation has its “Where were you when…” moment. Pearl Harbor. JFK. The Jonas Brothers breaking up. And now, Green Bay/Seattle.
Of course, before their NFC Championship tilt, “Green Bay/Seattle” was shorthand for a Golden Tate touchdown catch that was ruled complete by non-union refs because karma is breathtakingly real. After the beautiful, heartbreaking events of January 18, it referenced something altogether different and less politically divisive.
Carol Burnett is credited with saying, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” If she watched the NFC Championship Game, she might amend that to, “Comedy is when Mike McCarthy has more confidence in Mason Crosby and Eddie Lacy than Aaron Rodgers when you're steamrolling the defending champs on the road.”
This is a lot less pithy than the original aphorism, I’ll grant you, but holy [redacted] how did McCarthy not get fired at halftime? LOOK AT THIS:
(“Aaron, Mason is FEELING IT today, gotta get him on the field.” Image courtesy Football Reference.)
Anyway, despite having the ball and a 12-point lead with 5 minutes left, the Packers somehow, in a manner defying logic, reason, and important laws of thermodynamics, lost 28-22, spurring Packers fans to drink exactly as much as they were going to drink anyway, but more purposefully.
In the wake of such a gutting defeat, with a Super Bowl berth right there for the taking and a likely victory against a beatable Patriots squad in the offing, six months without football probably was for the best for both the team and its followers. One has to ask the obvious question, though: Is that long enough? Grief and loss linger. Pain goes away slowly, should it ever.
Now, the logistics of taking a season off are daunting. But hear me out.
The NFL is printing money. Green Bay fans are already shelling out money for imaginary stock certificates and filling Daunte's House for preseason scrimmages. So, my proposal is this: Take a time out. A 12-month time out.
For home games, honor the tickets. Let the kids run around on the field. Maybe have some local high school teams play. Induct some slow-footed special teamer who your granddad from Solon Springs loved into the Ring of Honor. You can offer a refund to anyone who wants to see an actual NFL game, but remember, this is the haughtiest, most self-regarding fan base in American sport that doesn’t root for the St. Louis Cardinals, so they’ll find it their duty to the team to pay up. Because they care, you see. Also, if you play Vince Lombardi dress-up anywhere else but Lambeau Field on a Sunday, your kids are going to put you in a home, and if I know anything about Scott Walker's Wisconsin, they won’t be regulated.
(SIDE NOTE TO VIKINGS FANS: Ditch the Moss jerseys and Helga braids, and dress like Jerry Burns on game day. If you’re wondering how to do that, just wake up on Sunday, put on a Vikings sweatshirt, and do nothing with your hair. Bam, you’re Jerry Burns. You might end up defending Bob Schnelker without even realizing it.)
Away games are even easier. The teams will gladly take the forfeit victory, and to recoup the ticket sales, the NFL just has to come up with another stupid gimmick or two for someone else to foot the bill. Put the Thanksgiving games on pay-per-view or something evil like that which will infuriate everyone AND WILL STILL BE A COMPLETE SUCCESS. There, funded.
Now, it’s pretty late in the game for this to be put into effect. Green Bay’s first friendly is Thursday night against the Patriots. But when they line up for that first snap, as Aaron Rodgers peers over his offensive line, would anyone be surprised if the tiny general just looks at his teammates and says, “Man, I can’t believe we lost that game,” and walks away to audition for a Hot Pockets commercial?
In an increasingly lost season, no one would blame him.