Born out of a series of Tweets by commenter @RandBallsStu, an idea by your humble proprietor and a sick thirst to rile up Packers fans for no good reason, we present the second installment of our series called, "The Increasingly Lost Season." In this series, Stu will give a brief recap of the Packers' misfortunes as they tumble from 15-1 Super Bowl repeat team of destiny to Randy Wright-esque putridity (even if, in all likelihood, they really don't).
As noted in this space last week, a Packers victory was very unlikely at the Metrodome last Sunday. True to form, this overhyped bunch of insurance pitchmen was unable to stop Adrian Peterson, keep Christian Ponder from beating them, or fully exploit a Vikings secondary missing Antoine Winfield for the balance of the game. That injury no doubt helped wee Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers keep the score close, but in an increasingly lost season, are moral victories enough?
The answer to that question, as the playoffs now begin, is a self-evident “no.” With the (admittedly small) chance to snipe a bye week from the much better San Francisco 49ers, the Packers tried their level best. And it just wasn’t good enough. Now, the spectre of another cold-weather game in the House of Daunte looms on Saturday night.
Which leads me to my key to a Packers upset this weekend: change of venue.
It sounds nuts, and the logistics are no doubt nightmarish, but the numbers don’t lie: the Vikings don’t lose playoff games in Green Bay, and the Packers just can’t win in Lambeau with Aaron Rodgers on his tippy-toes at quarterback. In Minnesota’s own recent lost season, they played home games in a college stadium and at Ford Field, and a road game on a Tuesday in Philadelphia. The stakes for those games were much lower than an elimination game, so shouldn’t the team and its stockholders move heaven and earth to play somewhere, anywhere but a place where failure is, perhaps, the only option?
For many years, Green Bay split their home games between Lambeau Field and tradition-rich Milwaukee County Stadium. The latter has been replaced by Miller Park, America’s premier terrarium. The chance to play a game indoors, in Wisconsin, should be a done deal. Taking the elements away can only help the Flutie-style heroics of Rodgers and the unreliable leg of Mason Crosby. Frankly, that this hasn’t already been arranged is a baffling failure of imagination on the part of what is supposedly one of the NFL’s model franchises. It may turn out that Ted Thompson’s refusal to see what Graham Harrell can do won’t be his most glaring mistake this season.
Let’s assume that Green Bay unwisely chooses the path of least resistance and plays Saturday night’s game at Lambeau Field. It’s still preferable to the Metrodome, where the Pack would no doubt get steamrolled by a red-hot Vikings team that took their best shot. Can Green Bay and Lil’ Aaron, for one week at least, cast off the chains of their many past failures and win a home playoff game before getting flattened by San Francisco? In an increasingly lost season, don’t count on it.
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