My father passed away on October 25th, 2016. That’s a date I will never forget. He was a Cowboys fan and we used to spend Sundays together, religiously watching as many football games as we could handle in a single day and with a single screen. When I discovered football and the NFL, seven years ago, he was a bit surprised but happy to tag along for that ride.
He had watched the game before when my older brother was a kid, and both the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins were huge in Mexico. Now, he would listen to every story I told about the Green Bay Packers. He would care about the statistics, the changing rules, the name of every wide receiver, cornerback and backup quarterback that I mentioned. He would look around and try to buy for me any piece of Packers merch he could find in Mexico City stores. Scarves, tumbler cups, action figures, plushies, gloves too large for my own hands.
Then he got sick, went to the hospital, and died. And I almost quit football.
I hate to say this because just a few weeks ago I said that the Packers had a great chance to turn things around for the rest of the season. Alas, they haven’t. And from the looks of it, they won’t.
So, what went wrong? It’s hard to tell, but besides quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone, things never quite picked up on the turf for the Green Bay Packers. Heck, they even lost tight end Martellus Bennett back to the New England Patriots. He started seven games and then the team played a very odd game of injury-waive-goodbye with him.
I never cared about football until January 9th, 2011. Growing up in a country with its heart set on soccer, and born within a family of soccer enthusiasts, football was always the odd sport for me.
Even when I went to study at a football-crazed high school and college (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), I never attended a game. I went out of my way to avoid interacting with players, coaches, and matches. Why, then, am I now writing an article about my love for the Green Bay Packers?
I woke up this morning with a gut feeling that if the Packers beat Minnesota today, the road to claiming the NFC North would be a walk in the park. A few hours later, the game began and it didn’t look too bad for the Packers. True, the team’s injury roster has gotten longer with each passing week, but the presence of amazing rookie players and the optimism that invaded the fans after that Dallas game seemed enough to get us through.
And then quarterback Aaron Rodgers got sacked and injured on Green Bay’s second drive in the first quarter. The shoulder injury turned out to be a collarbone fracture that could keep him off the field anytime from four weeks to the rest of the year. Worst news of the 2017 season.
Reflecting on the past, these are my views and hopes toward the 2017 season for the Green Bay Packer
Last season was a slippery slope for the Packers’ fans. It started out with the high note of having WR Jordy Nelson back from a year-long absence due to a torn ACL, but then went south when the team hit a 4-6 mark that looked like the season was already lost.
Then came Aaron Rodgers’ famous “run the table” press conference, where he almost got too cocky about the team’s chances to come back from that. But the Packers delivered. They ran the table, clinched NFC North for the 5th time in 6 years, and went on to face the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC Championship. That 44-21 score felt like the worst of times.
The 2016 playoffs showcased both the strengths and the weaknesses of the team. Looking back on them, one thing is crystal clear: while having Aaron Rodgers as a quarterback and as a leader is a huge strength for the Packers, depending on him has become a liability over the years.
We’re a month away from the Pro FootballHall of Fame Game and the return of football-infused days and nights. With a few weekends left until we can put our jerseys back on to cheer for our teams, I have devised a mini-marathon of football related movies to enjoy with your fellow NFL fans.
(Also, this marks my first cinematic contribution to NFLFemale. I’ll be reviewing movies about football once a week for as long as I can find them.)
Remember the Titans (2000)
A family classic! Set in 1960’s Virginia, this movie stars Denzel Washington as Herman Boone, an African American football coach set with the task of leading a recently integrated high school team in small town Alexandria. The newly-formed Titans face a tough season, but also the need to overcome fear, ignorance, and hatred in order to become a real football team. It’s a feel-good movie –produced by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer– and includes performances by Will Patton, Hayden Panettiere, and a young Ryan Gosling.
From April 4-8, the Green Bay Packers gave back to the Wisconsin and Northern Michigan communities with their yearly Tailgate Tour.
Saturday April 8th saw the end of the Green Bay Packers’ 12th annual Tailgate Tour. From April 4th through 8th, a group of Packers (both current and former) players embarked on this on-the-road charity event that raised funds for six different non-profit organizations. The players involved visited towns in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to connect with their fans in person and give back to the community. The lucky cities to receive the Tailgate Tour were Medford, Ashland, Houghton, Rhinelander, and Iron Mountain.
This year, the Packers Tailgate Tour included current players Brett Hundley, Aaron Ripkowski and Jake Ryan; former players Robert Ferguson, Ahman Green and Ryan Longwell; as well as Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy.
With surprise stops that allow the Packers to reach out to a wider part of their fans in hospitals, schools, and community centers, the tour gives everyone a chance to enjoy a good time with their idols while helping out local charities. Over 2.3 million dollars have been raised for local nonprofits in the 12 years duration of the Tailgate Tour.
The Tailgate parties help fans connect with the Packers through Q&A sessions and autograph signing. However, according to the players themselves, this is a unique chance for them to both get to know their fanbase better and thank them for the constant support.