Can you believe it? I still can’t…maybe, like Mr. Wally Pingel, I need to buy some NFC Champion logo’d gear to actually grasp fully the fact that the season has extended for one last, hugely important, game.

I called into Brian Carriveau’s post-game show on Sunday, in part to say that this win was one of the best ever, at least from my perspective. Brian asked a very good question – was, in fact, the reason I said this was better than ’96 or ’97 because of all of the Old Dongslinger’s antics in recent years?

I pondered that question for a while – and I’ve decided that isn’t the reason. Oh sure, I’m happy that Aaron’s prepping for a big game and our ol’ buddy is sitting on his lawn mower. Much better feeling than right before the Championship game last year. It’s wonderful to beat the Bears so John Rehor could get to smile at work this week. I’m also glad that more critics will get off QB1′s back about how he “can’t win the big games.” Shut them all up for good, Aaron, and get this one too.

However, the reason for feeling so strongly this year is deeper – and less petty – than all that.

The Packers have made it to the Super Bowl five times. Since the Super Bowl is a few months younger than me, I don’t remember the first two trips. The third was special indeed – there was a sense that this team was destined for greatness and it had been SO LONG out there in the deserts of Loserland. I mean, I had turned 30 for pete’s sake. I was OLD. The funny thing is, with the third win I assumed there’d be many more to come, and that continued into the next year until….thanks a lot, John Elway. I still hate your guts. And Mike Shanahan’s.

It’s amazing that it’s been 13 years since the last time I got to watch the Packers in a Super Bowl. These years haven’t meant a banishment to Loserland again, but have been something in a way equally as frustrating – the “almost but not quite” syndrome, “close but no cigar” -the primary example, of course, being the 2008 NFC Championship Game. (I always screw that up. Since the season began in 2007, is it the 2007 NFC Championship Game, even though it was played in 2008? Sorry, I digress.)

Even when you have a very good team and coaching staff, which the Packers have had at times over the last decade, you can still fall short of the goal every year. So, I’m savoring this one. It doesn’t just feel like the first time – it’s even better.

Because I finally appreciate that I don’t know when it will happen again.


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