The Green Bay Packers 1961 and 1962 championship seasons of the Lombardi era were ripe with the sweet innocence of turning over a new leaf, and experiencing something new. But the latter championships in 1965, 1966, and again in 1967 were the result experience, toughness and an understanding of the tenacity it takes to win consistently in the NFL.
The 2014 Green Bay Packers find themselves in a similar scenario. After bringing home the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLV Packer fans were sure Titletown was reborn. But following three consecutive disappointing playoff losses to first the Giants and then twice to the San Francisco 49ers one might believe that this year’s Green Bay Packers squad is due to begin another championship run.
Peaking over the shoulders of the digital Railbirds reporting from Ray Nitschke Field my twitter feed tells me that this year’s Green Bay Packers squad has the experience, toughness and an understanding of the tenacity it takes to win.
Mike McCarthy has repeatedly stated that quarterback Aaron Rodgers reported to camp looking better than ever and with impeccable focus. Rodgers’ competitive fire burns as hot as any champions’. One would have to believe that losing to the brash Colin Kaepernick is an experience that will motivate Rodgers and drive him to take his team to the promise land.
On the toughness front Mike Daniels has been pretty vocal about his desire to infuse some nasty into the defense. Daniels went as far as considering taking a swing at teammates if need be.
Periodically there has been news coming from Green Bay of various practice scrums. But the Wednesday practice leading up to the preseason contest with the St. Louis Rams saw six different said scrums. Jordy Nelson likened it to WWE. The toughness Packer fans have been looking for seems to be brewing. Personally if the Packers developed a reputation of having a mean streak I would be all for it. For they have been a punching bag far too long.
Tenacity goes hand in hand with will. The will of a team comes from its leadership. Mike McCarthy is a strong leader. Vince Lombardi he is not, but he is no pushover either. McCarthy entering his third season at the helm of the Green and Gold knows what it means to be a championship coach. He also knows the empty feeling of coming up short. Lead by coach McCarthy’s persistence, drive and a helping of stubbornness feed the tenacious appetite for success of this year’s Packers squad.
It would pretty bold to proclaim that the Green Bay Packers are on the verge of running off three straight NFL Championships. With that said I like what I hear coming from Titletown.
The Packers in the recent past have been a young team and I am sure they will be again, but they have quality experience in key places. The toughness is coming and unfortunately it is a result of getting kicked in the teeth time and time again. As for tenacity, Mike McCarthy would not be at the helm if he didn’t have what it takes to produce a winner.
These are not your grandfather’s Green Bay Packers, winning teams molded by the heavy hand of Vince Lombardi. But it appears they do have an opportunity for greatness.