Sleepless In Wisconsin

Sports Talk Radio Is Buzzing Today In Wisconsin

It’s approaching 24 hours since the biggest choke in the history of NFL Championship games, this one of course, featuring the incredible, unimaginative, conservative and overly anxious, Green Bay Packers.

In an homage to the recently departed Stuart Scott, I kept searching for the “cooler side of the pillow” last night. Flipping, flipping, flipping, it didn’t matter. I couldn’t find the cooler side of the pillow, it just got sweatier and sweatier, and the hours of sleep kept getting shorter and shorter. Sleepless in Wisconsin, I would imagine I was just one of thousands claiming to be Green Bay Packer fans looking for some solace last night.

The list is endless, and now nearly a day later to the hour when the Packers began to creep into their let’s-not-lose-this-one mode, the pain still lingers. If you’re a sports talk radio junkie like myself, the endless stream of repetitive Q and A’s and conspiracy theories that started this morning does nothing to reduce the sting of a scab torn wide open.

Here’s the rundown, in no particular order, of the reasons for the greatest choke in the history of the NFL Championship football game, and all these excuses just simply set the stage for the most embarrassing defeat in the history of Packer football:

Mike McCarthy’s conservative play calling. McCarthy set the tone early, settling for FG’s when his team was in the nastiest road stadium in all of professional football, and carrying it through into the final minutes of the fourth quarter, when coach Mike’s insistence on running Eddie Lacy 20 times ultimately cost him his big game coaching credibility.

The continuation of deplorable Special Teams performances, spearheaded by their illustrious leader, Shawn Slocum. Getting deked on a fake field goal attempt (the pass tossed by none other than your former punter, Jon Ryan) after your team’s defense had pitched an improbable 16-0 shutout through much of three quarters, is nothing short of inexcusable. Botching the most important onside kick coverage play of your life is the final straw. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Mr. Slocum.

Dom Capers, who are you? Are you the mad genius that moved Clay Matthews inside to bolster a sieve of a run defense after a red-faced effort in New Orleans earlier in the season, or are you the two-headed monster that plays Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk, rushes three down lineman on 3rd and 19 and continually delivers game winning drives for the opposition with your implausible defensive schemes with the game on the line? Enough is enough, please find employment elsewhere, Dumb Capers.

Mr. Rodgers, the one-legged wonder, how can anyone toss a shred of blame your way? You miraculously emerged from the locker room at halftime to slay the dirty Lions just three weeks ago, tamed the wild Cowboys at Lambeau on leg last week, then slugged through another steely-eyed performance in the loudest, angriest den of them all, Century Link Field yesterday. But Aaron, wouldn’t you like to have back those two poorly thrown interceptions, and another pass to a wide open Jordy Nelson in the first quarter in the end zone? And why, oh why, couldn’t you have please checked out of those horrible run calls from coach Mike with the momentum swinging the Seahawks way, and tossed a few lasers to surprise the Seattle D? The newly annointed Lord and Savior of Football, Russell Wilson, did just that, with the game on the line, in OT, and the Seagulls are on their way to the Super Bowl. 178 yards, 1 TD, 2 picks and a 55.8 passer rating. Aaron Rodgers on one one leg, I get it. J.J. Watt, MVP? Maybe now I get that argument.

Brandon Bostick, R-E-L-A-X. When all the fingers are pointed your way, when all the armchair quarterbacks riddle your Twitter feed with vulgar insults, take comfort in the fact that had you just blocked Seattle’s Matthews, Jordy Nelson would have been there to …probably drop the ball, just like he did in Buffalo. Which, by the way, had the Packers come away with a win on December 14th, that game yesterday would have been held in Green Bay, and not Seattle.

With 5:13 remaining, why, oh why, Morgan Burnett and Julius Peppers, have you no spine at all? Mr. Peppers, why instruct Burnett, with pick number 4 off Wilson in hand, to take a knee? All that remained in front of you two were 20-30 yards of wet, green grass, and all that separated you from a pick 6 and a 23-7 lead are five lumbering Seattle lineman and little old Russel Wilson waiting to make a tackle? WTF.

Finally, the Seahawks got the last Ha Ha. How can anyone explain the 30 yard across the field wounded duck Wilson lobbed to Willson for the 2 point conversion with 1:25 to play? Up until that point, Clinton-Dix had played brilliantly, but it all went up in smoke when he seized up at the one instant he needed to make a play on the ball. To add insult to injury, that faux pas happened in the same end zone of the infamous “Fail Mary” play two years ago.

This mammoth jigsaw puzzle of 1,000 plus pathetic excuses ultimately can be assembled, and it reveals a litany of “reasons” the Packers are making tee times and the Seahawks are preparing for New England. In the end, when all is distilled to define the final recipe, the Packers simply played not to lose, not, to win. They were indeed, the better team on Sunday, they just didn’t want to play that way when it really counted, when, of all things, a trip to the Super Bowl was on the line.

On and on and on. From Lucas and Dawson to Dan Patrick, Rich Eisen and Colin Cowherd, and Dan Patrick, Jr., Mr. Mike Heller. All the sports talk experts will spew their theories, but none of it really ever solves anything. It simply, and will be forever, a bad, bad loss for any one associated with the Green Bay Packers.

In the meantime, until you come to your own acceptable conclusion, good luck getting any sleep the next few nights in Wisconsin. If I may suggest a remedy, try some Four Roses bourbon over ice, with a little beer chaser on the side. That concoction might, just maybe, help ease your pain.

And For What

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