Why do the Packers keep losing momentum in the playoffs?

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

The calendar year reads 2022 and the Green Bay Packers have still only won one Super Bowl during the Aaron Rodgers era. Talented teams such as 2011, 2014, 2020, and 2021 versions all have arguments that can be made for winning a championship.

But what gives?

Is it Rodgers? Is it the coaching staff? Playing at Lambeau Field? Playing on the road?

Any way you slice it, the Packers remain one of the few teams that you could play the ‘what-if?’ game until the end of time before going mad.

One of the more consistent themes of why these Packers teams keep failing to win it all comes down to momentum.

Where’s the momentum for the Packers in the playoffs?

The most recent example came during the Divisional Round of the playoffs in the 2021 season. The Packers, fresh off another 13-win season and the No. 1 seed in the NFC, once again looked like the team to win it all.

The narrative of how the San Francisco 49ers have been Rodgers’ kryptonite dominated most, if not all, of the storylines heading into this game. And there’s only one sure way to remove doubt from everyone not donning green and yellow: beat the Niners.

The game started off beautifully with an opening-drive touchdown from AJ Dillon as the Packers offense — one that had struggled mightily in the first quarter — moved the ball with ease.

Then a defense — a Super Bowl-caliber defense in this game — would continue to hold the Niners in check without so much as sniffing the end zone.

Everything had begun to align for the Packers.

Until it didn’t.

With the Packers marching down the field looking to go up 14-0 in the first half, they had their momentum brutally halted when Marcedes Lewis put the ball on the ground.

The Packers’ offense couldn’t muster a semblance of a scoring drive. And when they did, it came on a broken play to Aaron Jones only for Mason Crosby to have his kick blocked plays later.

Seven points were all San Francisco allowed as the snow began to fall at Lambeau Field.

Momentum: snuffed.

With the second half nearing its final moments, it was once again the Packers’ defense that kept them in it. A stuff play on fourth down with the Niners themselves looking lifeless should have all but sealed this one.

But, momentum wasn’t done killing the Packers.

With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter, Rodgers had a chance to drive for at least three points that could’ve been the dagger. Rodgers was sacked. Then the most momentum-killing play happened next.

San Francisco blocked Corey Bojorquez’s punt and then everyone inside Lambeau Field watched helplessly as the ball just sat there begging to be picked up for a touchdown.

Rodgers would then throw a Hero Ball to double-covered Davante Adams and the ball — fittingly, poetically — hit the turf on what would be the final throw from Rodgers.

Momentum giveth and momentum taketh

Looking back at the most brutal of playoff losses for the Packers can mostly be attributed to losing momentum, and failing to gain it back.

The 2011 Packers, which had every right to steamroll every team towards repeating as Super Bowl champions, couldn’t recover from the New York Giants’ opportunistic defense.

The 2012-13 Packers, coming off frantic NFC North titles, ran into the buzzsaw of Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers.

The 2014 Packers picked off Russell Wilson four times in the NFC Championship Game but were doomed by an onside kick recovery.

The 2015 Packers saw a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald break their hearts in overtime after a miraculous Hail Mary from Rodgers.

The 2019 Packers never arrived for the NFC Championship Game against the Niners and Tom Brady — in his first year in the NFC — marched into Lambeau Field with a win and went on to win the Super Bowl in 2020.

Every team that loses in the playoffs has a set number of reasons on why they lost but a strong argument can be made that no team has lost with more to gain than the Green Bay Packers.

Questionable play-calling, a non-existent defense, epic comebacks, you name it and the Packers have most likely been against it.

In three seasons now, we’ve heard coach Matt LaFleur ends his press conference saying the team didn’t play its best football in their biggest playoff games.

A fact that no one has forgotten is that in 30 years of Hall-of-Fame quarterback play, they only have two Super Bowl wins. Whether it was Brett Favre or Rodgers, the number of grueling playoff exits can make even the coldest of hearts explode.

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The Green Bay Packers have been cursed by momentum and until that changes, a Super Bowl is never going to come.