The Waiting: A Packers Championship
I was still in the womb when the Packers won their second Super Bowl in 1968, and my daughters were in the womb twenty-nine years later when the Packers finally won their third. Although it might have been somewhat poetic had the Packers' fourth Super Bowl victory taken place with the next generation in utero, I’m happy to say that my children won’t have to spend their first three decades on earth hearing about the Glory Days. Instead, they witnessed them firsthand last night, when the Packers beat the Steelers Super Bowl XLV.
It just so happens that the first Packer game I can remember also took place against the Pittsburgh Steelers, this one in 1975, a 16-13 loss at County Stadium in Milwaukee. My father and brother went to the game while the rest of the family watched on TV, and I was certain that I could see my father’s checkered pants and my brother’s lanky frame as the camera scanned the crowd. Losing had become such a tradition in Green Bay by 1975 that the Milwaukee Sentinel headline the next day read (if memory serves): “Losing Packers: Don’t Feel Bad.” That’s right. A close game against the defending Super Bowl champions was considered a moral victory for the lumbering Packers.
Green Bay finished with a 4-10 record that year, and while people kept telling me that Bart Starr was The Man, The Myth, The Legend, as head coach he appeared significantly less than legendary. I’d never seen clips from the first two Super Bowls or the classic quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl against Dallas. I'd only heard the stories. For many, those last great victories had taken place merely seven years earlier. But for me, they'd occurred a lifetime ago.
Prior to yesterday’s victory, it had been fourteen years between Super Bowl wins for the Packers. Even if another fourteen years times two pass before Green Bay wins the next one, that’ll be sooner than how long those born in the tumultuous year of 1968 had to wait to witness a championship.
Soak it up, young fans. Championships are a thrill for they simple reason that they happen so infrequently. You may have to wait a little longer for the Brewers to win a World Series, but I put down some money in Vegas last week for a Brewer appearance in the next October Classic at 8-1 odds. And who knows? After last night and the Packers finishing the year with an improbable six straight victories, anything can happen.