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Will the real Packers step forward?
Posted: Thursday November 12, 1998 12:48 PM
I can't figure it out -- the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome that affect everybody's favorite teams. Dr. Jekyll was that mild-mannered young physician/scientist who not only took his work home with him but also ingested his own product. Once that mighty concoction passed the gums and a few convulsions later, you get Mr. Hyde, aka Greg Lloyd or Bryan Cox.
Now Mr. Hyde, Mr. Lloyd or Mr. Cox are not normal men (especially that Cox fellow) but if you're playing pro football, that's a good thing. A little foam around the mouth can do wonders to give you that edge over your opponent.
Two Sundays ago, a red-hot 49ers team traveled to Green Bay to play a Packers team that appeared to be performing very average at best. The Packers (aka Mr. Hyde) rattled off 16 unanswered points to start the games. I witness convulsions and rhythmic shaking by Antonio Freeman after an 80-yard bomb on the game's first play. Surely Freeman had just ingested the bubbling brew.
Eight days later on pro football's biggest regular-season stage, Monday night, out of the visitor's locker room to play the Pittsburgh Steelers trots Dr Jekyl (aka the Packers). Before the dust had settled, the Packers were out of the game.
Now trust me, I am not suggesting that the Packers need to drink something to make them stronger -- that only happens in baseball. But how could a team that has played in the last two Super Bowls look so inconsistent in the short span of eight days?
The Monday night crew threw up a stat that the Packers were 1-9 on turf outdoors going into the game. Well, if I'm on the schedule to play the Packers next year I build an outdoor AstroTurf facility for them to visit. I know it sounds crazy.
Bill Cowher is magic on Monday night, the Steelers have never lost two home games in a row under his command. The Packers hadn't lost a home game since I can't remember when, until the Vikings (dressed as Dr. Jekyll) came in there last month. I was in Green Bay for the Monday night game they played against the Vikings. I've never seen a crowd get a team so fired up to play. I've played Monday night at Mile High, K.C., the Kingdome, Rich Stadium. The public address system in Lambeau Field pumped the music so loud during introductions that the folks down the road in Appleton could hear it. The players danced and pumped up the crowd that night -- too bad Dr Jekyll started the ball game off for the Packers. Vikings win, 37-24.
What makes good teams go bad? It would be great if all you had to do was down some bubbling mix. We all tend to second-guess when things go wrong. Maybe the defensive backs should have pressed instead of playing off ... we need to play action pass more ... why don't we blitz from the corner or up the middle?
Teams don't really play flat. Football is a simple, violent game. Normally the most aggressive team wins, the ones who play more like Mr. Hyde than Dr. Jekyll.
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