The famous catchphrase of legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield and seemingly the theme to the Green Bay Packers 2012-13 NFL Playoff run. The media and the pundits are snubbing their collective nose at the Packers. Can this work to Green Bay’s advantage?
Granted, the Packers have been their own worst enemy at times – losing games they should have won and losing games on national TV. Their 11-5 record was not incredible in the regular season, but in reality it was a blown call by an official and a couple of game winning field goals away from being the best record in the NFL.
Yet thus far in the playoffs the Packers seem to get the “text me later” from the media. On Saturday after it was learned that Joe Webb would start in place of Christian Ponder for the Vikings, Tony Dungy prattled on and on about how Webb would be the difference maker in the game. Rationalizing his logic with the idea that the Packers had not seen any film or prepared for Webb and he would be able to disrupt the Packers defense with the read option. The reason the Packers had not seen any film on Webb is because he was on the bench. He couldn’t even beat out Christian Ponder.
Earlier in the week leading up to the Packer versus Vikings game all the talk was about how Adrian Peterson was going to run wild on the Packers defense. It almost seemed like the Packers were the underdog to the Vikings. Now granted there is some precedent here, in two games the Packers defense did not demonstrate they could even remotely control Peterson.
But in Week 17 the Vikings played their best game of the year. They played hungry and desperate. But Week 17 did not represent the Vikings’ 2012 body of work. The Packers put themselves in a position to lose to an inferior opponent.
Leading up to the NFC Divisional Playoff game in San Francisco the Packers are once again chopped liver. This week former New London, Wisconsin, resident and current quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, is being hailed as the second coming. Like Joe Webb, he is a new age quarterback that can be effective running the read option and can pick up yards on the ground or through the air. However, unlike Webb, he actually has a considerable amount of talent. But the amount of media attention around a guy who really only played half a season and put up very good, but not incredible numbers is well, peculiar.
Thankfully the media has not gone as far with their praise of Kaepernick as his coach has. Jim Harbaugh recently said Kaepernick is ‘Savant’ like. This coming from a guy who when asked about San Francisco’s other quarterback Alex Smith lacking confidence, said, “That’s just a lot of gobble, gobble, turkey…” With that said, take it for what it’s worth.
What makes the buildup of Kaepernick even more anomalous is that Aaron Rodgers, the Super Bowl XLV MVP and 2011 NFL MVP will be opposing him. Nonetheless, one of the most “trusted” football analysts Greg Cossell goes on San Francisco radio station KNBR and says, “I don’t think Aaron Rodgers is playing particularly good football.” And adds, “He’s leaving an awful lot of plays on the field.”
Now Rodgers’ numbers are down a bit from last year, but he still threw for 4,200 yards, 39 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Even with Saint Kaepernick in tow, you’d have to think the 49ers are still kicking themselves for picking Alex Smith over Rodgers.
The thing is this lack of respect is probably a blessing in disguise. Rodgers feeds off of being shortchanged. And the Packers as a whole seem to have a bit of a superiority complex. Maybe being kicked around a bit will give them greater focus, something to prove.
At the end of the day the only way to get to respect is to earn it. It’s a sure bet the Lombardi Trophy would silence the critics.
Patrick Hughes covers the Green Bay Packers for Lombardiave. Additionally, Patrick writes for Oregon Sports News, oregonsportsnews.com. Follow him on twitter @phughespdx. Also Like Lombardiave.com on Facebook and follow Lombardiave on Twitter.