It couldn’t have come at a better time

Even the Vikings' premier linebacker Chad Greenway couldn't upend Donald Lee and the Green Bay Packers last season as the team overcame injuries and several close losses to make it into the playoffs and take it the distance. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

I thought it was Christmas yesterday.

With all the political upheaval in the state of Wisconsin the past three months, the state’s image among others in this great nation has taken a nosedive. No matter on which side of the aisle one resides, it’s been a brutal time in America’s Dairyland.

So, when the message from the Green Bay Packers popped into my email yesterday, at least a small smile appeared on my face … a smile that grew into a grin after opening the message. Attached was a pdf from the team with the title “2010 Green Bay packers Season Review.”

Now, what could be better than that?

Immediately downloading the document, I discovered that it included 166 pages packed with statistical information from the past season – just about any and every statistic one could possibly imagine. Individual, team, offensive and defensive. It’s so full of information it will take months to digest in its entirety … and that’s exactly what I suspect I will be doing in the coming months – reading it from the cover adorned with the beloved Vincent T. Lombardi Trophy to the last page whose final entry is this: “Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25 at Cowboys Stadium; Arlington, Texas.”

So, it’s time to put aside all thoughts about whether there will be a 2011 season, all thoughts about the NFL draft set to begin tomorrow night, and start diving back into the 2010 season.

And what a season it was.

From the 27-24 loss in the season’s opening preseason game to Cleveland, right down to the incomplete pass and the victory formation of Super Bowl XLV, it was a season of huge highs and unbelievable lows.

But in a nutshell, what made this past season special are some special people and special moments. We should have gotten a clue out of the blocks when Clay Matthews began the season by blowing through offensive linemen, crashing into quarterbacks and finishing it off with his trademarked showing of his “guns.”

But little did we know this team would be crushed with injuries that seemed to mount faster than Greg Jennings could cover 40 yards. The number and severity of those injuries were brutal and would have beaten down any other team … but not this one. All the while, players stepped in and kept the ball rolling.

Even when Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of the Detroit game (clearly the lowest point of the season), the team came right back to nearly knock off the Patriots on the road.

We should have had a clue right then and there that something special was happening.

What we saw happen from that point on was what many would consider a miracle.

The special teams, especially the punting of Tim Masthay, improved drastically, the running game behind James Starks started to pose a threat, B.J. Raji, Jordy Nelson, and Bryan Bulaga emerged, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver continued to fight through injuries and fatigue and only got stronger as the season went on.

Behind the inspired play of Rodgers, the team got on a roll, had a little luck on their side and took it the distance.

So no matter what things look like from an outsider’s perspective, the state of Wisconsin surely has plenty to hang its hat on … especially when we sport the world champions of the NFL … the smallest and most storied of all league franchises.

It’s time to snuggle up with my iPod on full blast and pore over those 166 pages … the memories are still burned into my memory … and the future is waiting for only bigger and better things this season.

Let’s get the draft done, the CBA signed and get on with things.

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