College Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz once said, ”Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” The 2012 Green Bay Packers are playing their best football at the right time and have a legitimate shot at winning a Super Bowl because of the adversity they have overcome.
A “Fail Mary," a blown lead in Indianapolis and a couple of beatdowns at the hands of the 49ers and Giants have made many question the Packers and their role as a contender. Green Bay fans and the media have been pessimistic at times.
However, adversity was exactly what this team needed this season.
In 2011, the Packers finished the season with a 15-1 record. Everything was going according to plan. The ball bounced Green Bay’s way on numerous occasions. They had the league's best offense. They were the defending Super Bowl Champions with the league’s best player, Aaron Rodgers, playing the game’s most important position. That record was the best in franchise history, but it did not end in a Super Bowl championship. They faltered at the end of the season because they were finally punched in the mouth by the Giants and they did not know how to get back up.
2010 featured an eventual Super Bowl champion that had to overcome many forms of adversity. Star players like Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant and Nick Barnett were placed on season-ending injured reserve. Green Bay also had no running game to speak of. Those factors made many doubt the Packers as true Super Bowl contenders.
However, the Packers defied the naysayers and went on to make an improbable run at the Lombardi Trophy.
In other words, 2011 was an easier season than 2010 for the Green and Gold. But 2010 was a more rewarding season.
The 2012 Packers are similar to the 2010 team because they are peaking at the right time. Both teams also had to overcome adversity in the form of tough losses and injuries—one could even argue that this year’s team has had to overcome even more adversity than their 2010 Super Bowl winning team.
Overcoming adversity in 2012 has allowed the Packers to continue improving in all three phases of the game. That will make any team better come playoff time.
The 2011 squad seemed unbeatable during Weeks 1 through 8. That invincibility factor wore off by the end of the season.
Adversity brings a team closer together and pushes them to improve their craft.
Green Bay has improved noticeably over the past four weeks, which is very good timing. Their previously weak rushing attack has defied the naysayers while rushing for 131 yards per game and their defense has only given up 254 yards per game (two games were played without standout Clay Matthews). They have become a complete team because of the worthwhile adversity they have impressively overcome.
The 2012 Packers’ experience in overcoming adversity will help them during the postseason, where every NFL team meets some form of adversity and doubt. If this team wants to win another Lombardi Trophy, they must overcome a few more difficult obstacles.
I am confident that they can do just that because they have proven that they can all season long. The 2012 Green Bay Packers are as ready as any team.
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