Jan 17 2012
It’s Tuesday..I think, and I’m starting to come out of my cave. I’ve been avoiding ESPN and WFAN since Sunday, and I’m trying to stay away from the Internet but I can’t because I’m addicted to Words With Friends and Twitter. Why am I hiding like Osama Bin Laden? Why am I in mourning like someone ran over my cat? Why have I cried myself to sleep every night since Sunday? Because… I am a Green Bay Packers fan, living in the New York Metro area.
Lets begin my day on Sunday. I don’t want to go to a bar because I’ll be surrounded by Giants fans running their mouths like they usually do, so I decided to go to my parents friends house with them – knowing that they are die hard Giants fans, but figure.. they’re my parents age, they can’t be that wild. I was wrong, but I’ll get to that later.
I come home from church, and after secretly adding “Go Packers” to the end of every prayer, I slip on the same outfit I’ve worn since the Packers lost to the Dolphins last year: My Clay Matthews jersey (I had it before he before he was a big shot doing Double Down Discount commercials), my good luck “unmentionables“, my jean leggings, one green sock and one yellow sock (it’s a must have), and my Uggs (Tom Brady would be proud). It’s the same outfit I wore every game this year. I haven’t washed the jersey since…. well before the Superbowl win last year.
A ritual of mine, I put the Green Bay helmet on my dog, Cooper, posted it to Facebook under the caption “Cooper says GO PACK GO“, sent it via text to my dad, and Cooper and I were on our way to watch the game. I was nervous. As many Green Bay fans have the pain of remembering, the last time our team met the Giants in the playoffs in Lambeau, Brett Favre threw an interception in overtime to lose the game and send the Giants to the Super Bowl and ultimately let the Giants win the big game against the New England Patriots in one of the “greatest games ever played“. I was two sheets to the wind that night – I don’t remember, nor do I want to remember. So anyways, I was as nervous as ever watching this game. Was the Giants defense really as good as they seemed against the Falcons? Could they put pressure on Aaron Rodgers the way that they did with Matt Ryan? Could our “average defense” stand up to guys like Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks? Before I even arrived at my parents house, I had already chewed all my nails off and was starting to bite my phone cover (it’s what I do when I’m nervous).
Fast forward to the game. I’m quiet. Too quiet. The Giants fans are getting rowdier and rowdier. Then comes six seconds before halftime and Eli Manning throws a Hail Mary. In my mind I’m like, WTF. This is insane. The Packers were not playing like the 15-1 team, and reigning Super Bowl Champions. They were playing like… well… the Jets (sorry Nick). Passes were dropped – and there was fumble after fumble after fumble. I shook my head in disbelief while holding back the tears (Hey, I’m sensitive). How in the world could Aaron Rodgers lead the team in rushing yards? Why couldn’t Jermichael Finley catch a ball? Where did this Giants defense come from? What in the world was that Hail Mary? It’s about making big plays at the right time, and the Giants did that. Even Mike McCarthy, the Packers #fatty head coach had said after the game “The defensive call was the right call, and the alignment showed you what was getting ready to occur from what they attempted. It’s about making plays and big play opportunities in big games. That was a big play for the Giants. It was a ten point game at half time, and we had the ball coming out. It was a big momentum play for them“.
McCarthy forgot to mention that two of his defensive players looked like deer in headlights in the endzone at that moment. How many more mistakes could the Packers make? Surely, they will come back in the second half right?
It’s the third quarter. My nails are now stubs and I’m starting to peel the nail polish off. My mom yells at me, so I start chewing on my foam cheesehead instead. This half wasn’t any better. It was all such a blur, I couldn’t tell you how many unnecessary onside kicks there were, how many missed blocks, how many dropped passes, I was in shock. The Giants and Eli Manning were making my championship team look like a joke. The Giants fans around me were going crazy and I was getting annoyed. My mom kept telling me how hot Clay Matthews is (I know mom.. that’s not the point right now). My dad, the only other Packers fan in the room, was silent.
The Packers made an entire seasons worth of mistakes in one game. I’ve never seen a game that poorly played by my team. The defense was horrible and weak and it allowed so many big plays. How many times was Eli going to get that first down after being 3rd and 10?
Manning ended up throwing for 330 yards and having 3 touchdowns. To me, it felt like he threw 3300 yards for 30 touchdowns, because the Giant fans cheers just didn’t stop. It was a nightmare! Hakeem Nicks made the secondary look like a joke over and over again. The defense was off. In one play, Charles Woodson was talking to someone, and he ended up covering the wrong player after the snap which left Victor Cruz wide open.
Though the defense had been a problem most of the season, the amazing offense was always there to bail them out. The offense lost three fumbles by three solid players – Finley, James Starks and John Kuhn. Aaron Rodgers was on his back four times. I hate to admit it, but the Giants played amazing and the Packers continued to hurt themselves over and over again. Rodgers even had an off day, despite his leading 66 yards on seven rushes. He was 26/46 for passing. He did not have good rhythm with his receivers either. He over threw a wide open Greg Jennings, and lost is first fumble of the year.
The Packers had one more scoring drive, a 16 yard catch with five minutes left – but that didn’t even matter. My eyes were filling up with tears, my cheesehead was across the room on the floor and I wanted to go home.
As the Giants fans celebrated around me, I thanked God that I was not in a bar with liquid courage, running my mouth. I was glad to have my mommy there to hold my hand and wipe my tears (I’m just kidding – I didn’t cry until I got in the car). I told the hosts of the party, congratulations, I deleted my mean Facebook post telling Giants fans to F-off, and replaced it with a “Bla bla bla Packers deserved that loss .. I’m a good sport” post, and left the party with my tail between my legs.
I got into the car and wiped away a single tear- I don’t want to watch another Giants/Patriots Superbowl. I just can’t. I can’t listen to those fans all around me – celebrating – wearing their good luck jerseys – rooting for Tom Brady and Eli Manning. I got mad again, and threw the Tupperware container into my car. I grabbed my dog, bid farewell to my parents and prepared for the 40 minute silent drive back to Redding, CT. I was not going to put WFAN on. I looked at my phone. Leave me alone Giants fans. 12 text messages. 3 missed calls, and 2 Facebook notifications – the game had been over for 10 minutes. I thanked my friends for the condolences, put my car in drive, and headed home in silence, just me and Cooper. I got home, put my car in park, grabbed my cheesehead and headed to my front door. For the last time this season, I took off my good luck socks, I removed my Clay Matthews jersey, took a long sigh, and for the first time in two years, I put it in the washing machine. I put on a Syracuse t-shirt, brushed my teeth and got into bed. It was about 9:30 pm. I laid there in darkness…and quietly cried into my cheesehead.
If you were worried about me, I’m okay now. I’m rooting for the Ravens the rest of the way and hope that San Fran can beat up on the Giants next week. If it turns out that it’s the Giants and Patriots in the Super Bowl on February 5th, you’ll know where to find me – sobbing quietly into my foam cheesehead.