Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Sobering Joy of Ten Wins

The Green Bay Packers 37-26 victory over the Detroit Lions moves them to 10-1 for the season. There are lots of stories in the GB Game 11 Stats but what strikes me is the tone in Brett Favre’s voice in the post-game interview.

The exuberance in his face that the cameras catch during the course of the game is absent. The big smiles as he completes a personal and team record 20 straight completions are gone. Instead there is a reserved and reflective veteran player cautiously picking his words as he speaks on record. Pressed for a statement about the quality of this team he simply says, “I consider us lucky, I consider us pretty good, umh, I consider us kind of an unknown”.

You can sense Favre is weighing the balance between lucky and good in his mind and perhaps for the first time wondering if there is enough discipline and talent in this team to be better than Dallas. It’s those unknowns that keep pushing optimism back into place. He has been this far up the difficult path to the Championship before. He understands the seriousness of purpose required to reach that goal and how far away he is from the finish.

Some sort of confidence trigger appears to get switched on in the Halloween week Monday Night overtime win at Denver. The phenomenal 82 yard TD pass ending that game is only the 19th point of the night, and the fourth game in a row where the Packers score 23 points or less. Over the subsequent four games the team puts 33, 34, 31 and 37 points on the board as the offense begins to perform consistently. The Green Bay Press Gazette message boards dare to use the “P” word.
Tom Pelissero: Favre is sold on this team. Even when he smirks and says they're "not bad," c'mon, they're 10-1. Favre is not a guy who is going to broadcast to the nation that he thinks his young squad can challenge the Patriots. And going into a game like Thursday's showdown in Big D, this team needs to embrace the underdog mentality, not go through the week with bravado.
The team has the expected damage that comes from playing a collision sport and nothing in the future is guaranteed or predictable. Yet as the Packers head home for Thanksgiving night, they have every right to believe they are legitimate contenders to be the best of this season. That’s both a delightful and sobering thought.