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In Sports Commentary

The Packers need to lose - the sooner, the better.

The Packers need to lose. NOW!


I'm going to say this and then duck behind a huge mound of those horrible yellow cheesehead cowboy hats.

I hope the Green Bay Packers lose on Thanksgiving Day to the Detroit Lions or the following week against the New York Giants.

I know it seems like heresy for a loyal Packer fan (me) to hope for any loss in what so far has been a remarkable season. But I'm not a heretic. As the drunk said after the cop pulled him over, "Let Me Explain."

Football coaches (as well as coaches and managers in other sports) have a multitude of tasks and roles to fill. Some people think all they do is develop a scheme and then send the troops out to do battle.

But there is so much more to the job. Being a head football coach is an 18-hours a day, seven days a week job. Their influence on players is immense. If a coach walks by a player without saying good morning or how you doing, the player is likely to fall into a funk or wonder why the coach isn't talking to him.

Football players, along with other world class athletes, are notoriously fragile beings with psyches and egos that demand skillful manipulation.

A big part of the job of a coach is to manipulate those psyches and egos to keep pressure away from his team, or to at least help them deal with the pressure.

This is a pressure-filled season for the Packers. They have the normal pressures all football teams do. But there are some extras at work against the team. The defending Super Bowl champ always has added pressure because opponents want to beat the champion a little more than they want to beat anyone else. And there is the pressure of living up to just about unanimous pre-season predictions of superiority.

Playing in a town like Green Bay is different than any other team in the league. In Green Bay players see their neighbors in the gas station. Their wives and girlfriends see their neighbors in the checkout line at Copps.

The one thing the Packers do not need is to have hordes of the charming members of the world's sporting press assaulting them if they remain undefeated as the season moves along. You can't imagine how disruptive that kind of attention can be.

I've been a part of those kind of mosh pits on both sides of the coin. When something both big and unusual is happening, like an unbeaten NFL streak, it's like a siren call for vultures. I love reporters and have a great deal of respect for a free and unfettered press.

But a thing like an undefeated season will bring out a media horde mentality that is like a tsunami, unstoppable and potentially very destructive. Everybody wants a scoop, a story, a soundbite.

Green Bay is a great place to play football because there are very few distractions. No dance clubs, not much theatre, not many fine dining places. But the atmosphere that allows for maximum focus on your job can also be a trap if you need to get away from the game for awhile. Where do you go?

If the Packers can find a way to prevent this kind of mind numbing distraction they will make their chances of a repeat title better. I really believe that finding a way to avoid major distractions when you get to the playoffs is one of the major tasks of a coaching staff.

By losing a game in the next couple of weeks the Packers will slam the door on the potential for one huge distraction. It won't impact their spot in the playoff seedings and it won't make them doubt themselves.

What it will do is give them a much better chance to keep their focus where it needs to be as the playoffs begin.

I'm done. Start throwing those foam cheese bricks now.


Talkbacks

Poeartemer | Nov. 22, 2011 at 3:47 p.m. (report)

GO PACK GO!!!!!

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sandstorm | Nov. 22, 2011 at 2:10 p.m. (report)

you play to win the game. Colts didn't one year and were bounced easily from the playoffs. how did that lack of distraction work for them? this team was under tremendous pressure the tail end of last season and managed to win a super bowl. this team handles pressure nicely and to be the only 19-0 team in NFL history would be pretty special.

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mp51 | Nov. 22, 2011 at 12:35 p.m. (report)

i understand what the reverend dave is saying. i take it as a loss wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen, and may be a blessing in disguise. but what would we rather have, undefeated but a loss in the super bowl, a la the pats, or 2 losses and a ring? we all want the latter. of course we'd all choose undefeated plus a ring. all david is saying is that with a loss, there will be less distractions, which can only help their focus. interesting article, david.

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brewguru | Nov. 22, 2011 at 11:55 a.m. (report)

What do you mean their playoff seeding wouldn't be affected? The 49ers are 9-1 and right on their tails. One loss would have a GREAT affect!! But what more should one expect from someone who used to bait Bart Starr and who likes the NBA?

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devidia | Nov. 22, 2011 at 11:32 a.m. (report)

I agree, Dave. All of this winning when we know that there are chinks in the armor is making me kind of nervous in the respect that I hope they will lose in the regular season when there is time to work the bugs out before the post season. You REALLY don't want to come up short in the post season. I personally picked the Pack to go either 14-2 or 13-3 for the season and then another Super Bowl appearance, but if they are going to lose a game or two they'd better do it in the regular season. A loss would not be a bad thing right now.

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