Tuesday, January 22, 2008

da bears still suck

I've heard a lot about football this week. I've watched a lot of football this week. I've lived a lot of football this week. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, there isn't much else to do. Beer, brats, cheese curds and Packers fans are about all you can find in Green Bay.

It was a really fun trip up to the frozen tundra. We got to visit with Mike's family. We ate a lot of artery-clogging food. We listened to some Wisconsin polka music. Oh, and there were a few hours that we stood out in the elements watching a football game. More about that in a minute.

As we drove into town, we started listening to Green Bay sports talk radio. There wasn't much talk about strategy. Instead it was all about putting footballs in the freezer before practice. And not wearing sleeves. Not concern about how the teams matched up. Not talk about how Green Bay would keep their running game going against a pretty decent run defense. Frozen footballs and sleeveless linemen. Was Green Bay looking past the Giants? I'm not sure I would go that far, but the confidence level seemed so high - in everyone I talked or listened to - that it seemed no one thought the Giants could potentially win the game. Overconfidence? That seems fair. There was some talk of the horrendous game against Chicago in the cold and wind, but that was often followed by distinguishing that this game would be in Lambeau.

I won't lie, I was nervous for the Giants. More because they haven't really been tested in the cold this year. But I also knew that cold temperatures would likely keep the score close and that the Giants are comfortable right now playing with anybody. Even the Packers in Lambeau in January. At the stadium before the game, I was asked by Mike's brother-in-law: Really, who did I think would win the game. I told him that I thought either team could win it. That the cold was a great equalizer and that the Giants have been pretty good at wearing other teams out this post-season. I'm not coming in waving the white flag, folks.

On to the game. It was cold in the stadium. Mike and I layered up. His family gave us a lot of high tech winter gear and plenty of hand and foot warmers. Still the temperature drop was noticeable when the sun went down about a half hour before the game started up. I was never cold, but if I took my hands out of my mittens to send a text message, they needed to get back in (and grab a hand warmer) within a minute or so. It was frostbite cold. Temperature was around -2, wind chill around -20.

Our seats were in the north end zone, about 40 rows up. Serious hometown fan territory. That was the one bummer of the game for me (besides the total clown behind us who had no business calling himself a Packers fan - cheering for linemen to go down ("I hope they have to bring a stretcher on the field!") and yelling while the Packer offense was on the field - what a jackass). The fact that I never did locate another Giants fan anywhere near us who I could celebrate a bit with. I've been an away team fan at any number of games and that is the first time I've been my own little island like that. Needless to say, Mike wasn't giving me any high fives. There were a smattering of Giants fans elsewhere in the stadium, and the overwhelming majority of Packer fans were civil-to-nice to us outta-towners.

We had a pretty good view of the field. I've never been in end zone seats before, but being that high up, we could see the entire field. I didn't even have a hard time telling the amount of yardage on running plays, etc. I did have trouble seeing detail on instant replays when they came up on the big screen all the way across the field. We couldn't tell whether Amani Toomer really caught that pass on the sideline or if he was out of bounds. We couldn't tell if Plaxico had possession and fumbled or if the pass was incomplete.

What I did see quite clearly were both of Tyne's misses in the 4th quarter.* Kicked right at our seats. Oh, and he kicked the game winner our way as well. After that kick was made in overtime, Lambeau was as quiet as I've ever heard a sports venue. And all the way through the parking lot back to the car, practically the only sound to be heard, well other than the guy playing a trombone in sub-zero temps for spare change, was the swish swish swishing of ski pants as people walked and the crunching of packed snow under heavy boots.

Sports radio in Green Bay after that loss was something to behold. Plenty of anger to go around. The overwhelming sentiment: "We shoulda beat the crap out of the Giants!" (That is actually a direct quote. Prior to the game, I also heard "We're gonna beat the crap out of them!" Maybe this is only amusing when said in a Wisconsin accent though.) I think that Mike McCarthy might have a few questions to answer in Green Bay about the preparation for that game, as well as the play-calling, during the off season. The good news is that the Packers are a young team and they don't seem like they'll lose many players to free agency. Everyone assumes Brett will be back, and heck, he probably will. That last interception would be a tough last play before retirement for him, I think.

This picture probably sums up the trip. It was taken about halfway through the 4th quarter, tie score on the board (quite possibly the best thing about this photo is that I managed to capture the aforementioned jackass - yup, that's him in the black poofy hat and feathers):

I hung in pretty well for a Southern California girl.

We'll be in Vegas for the Super Bowl again this year. Should be a good game. I don't think the Giants are ready to roll over for a drubbing just yet.

*I had a totally sick feeling going into overtime that the Giants could lose the game after outplaying the Packers for most of the game. Wow, that would have been a demoralizing loss. There is nothing that makes a Giants fan more nervous that having a kicker miss kicks. Maybe I'm the only one who still remembers the feeling watching Feely lose this game for Big Blue (at least in part because I was at that game), but damn, I sometimes hate kickers.

1 comment:

PackSmack said...

Hey, love the title; that's how I found your post. Good description of your trip to Lambeau. Nice evaluation of the experience and the game. (Sorry about the jackass who sat behind you.) Giants deserve the trip to the Super Bowl because they beat us in Lambeau in January. Best of luck against the Cheatriots.