This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. The Green Bay Packers traded future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers and were entering an uncertain season with little salary cap flexibility.
Green Bay put together the league's youngest roster. The theme for 2023 was evaluation. Is Jordan Love the future? Which players can become part of the long-term vision? Where must the Packers continue to build?
Fast forward to wild-card weekend, and the Packers are still playing. They went one better than last year with Rodgers and are preparing for a trip to Jerry World to take on Mike McCarthy's Dallas Cowboys.
Love? He started slowly but hit an MVP level in the final eight games. The offense powered a 6-2 finish to the season, with Love throwing 18 touchdown passes with only one interception. Rodgers numbers, you could say.
It has left the NFL world wondering: Have the Packers done it again?
Mina Kimes believes Jordan Love is playing as well as any QB in the league
ESPN's Mina Kimes has seen enough. She believes Love is the Packers' future and deserves a new contract.
"I'm done. Jordan Love is it. They've got to pay him," said Kimes.
It's hard to disagree. The extension is coming. There's no doubt about that. According to Packers cap expert Ken Ingalls, the team can't extend Love's deal until May 2. It probably won't take long after that.
Kimes is impressed with Love's performances this season, particularly in the last few weeks.
Kimes added: "He looks like he has total control of the offense. He doesn't panic. He looks like he trusts his protection. He trusts guys to get open. He trusts the scheme around him. He has the arm talent to execute upon it. I've just been so impressed by him all season long, but these last couple of weeks, he is playing as good as any quarterback in football."
As usual, Kimes is spot on. She has been on the money when discussing Love all year, not getting too carried away during the bad times or the good.
But with the regular season over and Love leading the Packers into the playoffs, he has left little doubt that he is the quarterback to lead this team into the future.
And it's going to be fun to watch.