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End Coming for a Season That Started in January

Morgan Burnett

Yes, there it is. The photo from your nightmares.

Even as the Packers’ season floods with water and appears headed for the bottom of the ocean, make no mistake. This all began in January in Seattle.

After undoubtably the greatest championship game collapse in Green Bay Packers’ history, I wrote that there was basically two directions to go from there – One way of looking at it suggests that the future is bright and the other way of looking at it suggests that the end of an era is near. Next season will tell us which one it is going to be.

The season for the Packers isn’t over with. In fact, everything they hope to achieve is still out there for them. A win tomorrow over the Vikings would give the Packers the three seed, which means the only playoff game they would play away from Lambeau would be at the sunny winter destinations of Carolina or Arizona. Those are good teams, sure, but hardly destinations to dread.

But battles are typically won before they are fought, and if you still think this battle isn’t already lost, then you are one optimistic individual.

A loss like the Packers suffered in January isn’t the kind of loss that a team gets over in a season. In fact, a particular regime may never get over it. That wasn’t a “character building” loss. That loss was a kick to the nuts. It is enough to plant doubt in even the most confident.

You could see it in the comments from the Packers after the game. Players like Josh Sitton and Julius Peppers know what it takes to reach that point. You have to not only have the talent and the coaching, but you must also have the luck. You have to avoid serious injuries and get a bounce or two.

The Packers were the healthiest they had been in years. They had the highest scoring offense in the league and a defense that played better in the second half of the season. They had something they didn’t have in 2010 or the years immediately following – a running game. They had the leadership and chemistry to win a title.

And they also had played nearly the perfect game on defense. The favored Seattle Seahawks, the defending champions, had zero points on offense with less than four minutes left to go in the game. The offense had blown chance after chance to stretch the lead out to more, but they had played conservatively, hoping for the exact kind of defensive performance that they got.

Then Morgan Burnett would take the advice of Julius Peppers and slide down. The defense would turn as conservative as the offense. Clay Matthews would stand on the sideline for the remainder of regulation.

Surely, the game was over. Then, it was lost.

For veterans like Peppers, Sitton, Matthews and Aaron Rodgers, this was not a “learning experience.” It was a blown opportunity- an opportunity they knew full well they may never get again.

An opportunity blown in spectacular fashion.

That sort of thing can stick with you for a while. Luck turns against you. Doubt creeps in. Even if we win in Week 2, that doesn’t erase the doubt when the stakes are highest. Will we choke again? Are we even good enough to put ourselves in that position? Am I good enough? Are the coaches good enough?

Who is to blame? The fans ask it. Don’t you think the players and coaches have? What if they found it was each other? What if they no longer believe in the system?

Sergeant Barnes once said- “When the machine breaks down, WE break down.”

If this machine has broken down, can it be fixed? Or does it have to be discarded?

Maybe this is all hyperbole. I am not normally big on intangibles. Maybe Jordy Nelson’s injury and down seasons for several key Packers is the only real answer.

Ha… Maybe the Packers will win the next two weeks and at least be competitive in Arizona or Carolina.

Or maybe that game was the beginning of the end. Maybe you never get back there.

The jury is still out.


Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.



  1. PF4L January 2, 2016

    Thanks for bringing us all back to relive the meltdown nightmare against Seattle but………NEXT!!!

    1. Brad January 2, 2016

      No shit. Don’t need a buzz kill right now.

      1. icebowl January 2, 2016

        The horrorrrrrr……

  2. V January 2, 2016

    Cupboard is running bare…time to go to the store and restock it for the long off season.

  3. John Smith January 2, 2016

    The Packers peaked in 2011, Aaron Rodgers was in his Prime around that time ( 2009 – 2011 ). Since 2012, their defense has been in rebuild mode and the packers would find themselves playing catch up, to meet the elite teams, the 49ers and the seahawks. I had said this over and over, the 2014 SEASON WAS AARON RODGERS AND THE PACKERS LAST CHANCE TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL, AND THEY FUCKEN BLEW THE SEASON AWAY BY GETTING COCKY. Aaron Rodgers is turning 33 this season and Clay matthews is turning 30 in May. Along with a aging Julius Peppers, and probably the lost of Mike Neal, BJ Raji, Nick Perry in the up coming off season, the Packers would be again in another rebuild mode on defense. Which would take 2-3 seasons to fix. The Packers better days are gone. We just have to accept the fact that they had a good run, 2009 – 2014. Their window of opportunity is closing fast and teams like the cardinals, the seahawks, a rising Vikings team are going to be the teams locking up play off spots every year while the packers will be the team fighting just to get in. This reminds me of the packers from 1992 – 1998. They were a great team during that time, then they hit a brick wall after the 1997 super bowl. THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE PACKERS RIGHT NOW.

    1. ferris January 2, 2016

      The short version is Green Bay is just like Atlanta a couple years ago. A play or 2 away from the bowl and then some struggles. Good news is Green Bay is not San Francisco.

      1. John Smith January 2, 2016

        Rodgers is a really good QB. But I think people are expecting him to play at his 2009 – 2014 level. The guy was only 27-31 years old during that time, playing in his prime. What I had seen from Rodgers this season is a decline in his Pin Point Accuracy, his arm strength and HIS MOBILITY, which ultimately effects his throw on the run. But what can you expect from a aging 32 years old QB ? That’s usually the age when NFL players starts to decline in skills.

        What the Packers needs to do is work around Rodgers declining skill sets. They need to bring in veteran players to help out the younger players. Mike McCarty needs to change how the offense operates to fit an aging Rodgers. Look at how a Aging Tom Brady is still playing good. He didn’t just magically wake up one day and became young again, his coach started to build and change the offense to help Brady Succeed. The Packers DOES NOT operate that way.

        1. rebelgb January 3, 2016

          Agreed. I love Arodge but even I have to admit his arm strength, while still very good, is not what it used to be. He also seems somehow, less athletic.

          Unfortunetely it is my belief that MM is too arrogant and stubborn, and might I add fucking stupid, to adjust this offense to Rodgers aging skill sets. I see struggles for the next few years, and by the time Murphy wakes up makes changes, Arodges career will be in twilight.

          I hope im wrong. God I really really hope im wrong.

          We need a coaching change this offseason and TT to actually bring in a few FA’s. Im not talking a Redskin shopping spree, just a few guys to help strengthen the ship.

          1. MMTTDCSUCK January 3, 2016

            You are NOT wrong! this fucking GM/coaching staff were handed a growing group of players from Sherman and then Rodgers “falling” to #24th in the draft. A series of great events, and voilà a SB. The three: MM, TT, and DC have done nothing different for how many fucking years now? Same plays that do not work, same Draft and Develop that has always been schitsophrenic at best with it’s results, hot one week “lost” the next. Very few UFA’s or FA’s to bolster weak spots. And that fucking open middle Defense that is ALWAYS open in the middle. Dom Capers does not even come down on the field to get a “feel” for the game, let alone his players. These three fucks are over rated charlatans who have been inappropriately backed by the mainstream media and that awful Vic Ketchman journeyman journalist. I disliked this group in 2010, they have done NOTHING to change my opinion! Other than to further quantify my opinion of their ineptness . . .

  4. Packerfan2008 January 2, 2016

    I got bored half way through and quit reading.

  5. Pack January 2, 2016

    What a moronic diatribe. Bunch of spoiled Packer fans. Does anybody remember before Favre and even after how bad some of those teams were. Sure this season has been a mess at times but shouldn’t we be talking about what they need to do win. How many faults the Vikings have.
    I keep returning to this site despite how negative it is. The writers are the worse but I guess the best cause I keep returning. Maybe cause of the lack of Packer sites. But please can we run a positive article to get us forever fans pumped for playoffs. Anything! Come on guys!

    1. Skinny January 2, 2016

      Nice try Vic Ketchman, I knew it was you right away.

      1. John Smith January 2, 2016

        God I hate that dumbshit, he literally blinds all the people who reads articles on packers.com , he builds them up with false hopes, saying lines such as ” Ted Thompson is a good GM ” OR how Dom Capers is this defensive mastermind.

        1. Phatgzus January 3, 2016

          LMAO, he doesn’t blind anyone, those people are already fucking blind. Learn to read between the lines, fuck, more like lanes in this case, and you’ll actualy understand him. It’s not hard, plus the dude has been covering the pro game for about 4 decades, there’s a possibility he knows more than your average fan, perhaps you could learn a thing or two if you take the blinders off.

          1. MMTTDCSUCK January 4, 2016

            Perhaps you are Vic Ketchman. Same type of sarcasm, dry wit and arrogance. But I do appreciate some of his (your) videos with Spofford.

    2. icebowl January 2, 2016

      Call me spoiled – I lived through the Dark Ages …. and I dread the next coming…

      WIth few exceptions (perhaps the NE Belicheks) no team will be able to sustain dominance in today’s NFL due to free agency, parity, etc… Not that this is a bad thing…

      This team was exposed against SD and the great coaches (Fox, Zimmer, etc…) they faced thereafter worked the strategy to beat them…

      What drives the diatribes of Shawn, Monty and us fans is that this team has so much potential to be better than 11-6 (hopefully)….

    3. icebowl January 2, 2016

      Problem as pointed out by many (thinking MMTT…) is that the GB coaching staff had no Plan B in place ….

      1. Ted Hawthorne January 2, 2016

        No, that was me Icebowl. But MMTTDCSuck does contribute
        incisive posts. Shawn, this is a beautifully written post,
        newspaper- worthy. It captures the poignant agony at
        Seattle; how it shook this franchise to the core. But, like
        the 2008 banking collapse, no one was made to pay. When
        that happens the poison remains, as you point out so well.
        If TT had any honor he would have fired McCarthy, and then
        resigned himself. Since he doesn’t and didn’t, we the fan-
        base, and owners, must insist it happen after the coming inevitable humiliation.

        1. icebowl January 2, 2016

          Apologies for the oversight Ted…. I counted you with the many ….

          I agree with you that Shawn may have created his Opus Magnum with this post ….

          As I mentioned before it’s interesting that all other NFC North teams have hired new, highly capable HCs in the last two years. Gone are the days of Schwartz, Lovie (and his goofie looking successor) and Frazier – these teams are poised to take the division with fresh teams and strategies …

          I agree that it may be time to make a change in GB – Capers is too old school, Clements was a bad experiment and MM lacks inventiveness and spontaneity ….

        2. MMTTDCSUCK January 3, 2016

          Right on guys!

    4. MMTTDCSUCK January 3, 2016

      I remember the “Icebowl” and then all of the SHIT TEAMS after that, until the Holmgren/Wolfe era. Then these fucks took over, wasted Favre’s last few years, now Rodgers. Two fucking SB’s for two HOF QB’s???? Are you kidding me? I saw this fucking team failing with this current “CONSERVATIVE” unable to think out of the box mentality back before 2010! How did so many not see this? These BUFFOONS are taking us back into a new shit hole like the 70’s and 80’s! And they are doing it while wasting TWO FUCKING HOF QB’S!

  6. Shawn January 2, 2016

    Yeah, I’ll admit this story was written two weeks ahead of time. It should have been written after the season was over.
    As of right now, the Packers still have the opportunity to win it all. In fact, they will have that opportunity regardless of whether they win this weekend.
    As shown at other times, I am not one who dismisses making the playoffs as if it doesn’t mean anything. No, if you get in, you have a chance. There is no way the Cardinals in 2008 or the Ravens in 2012 should have made the Super Bowl, but they got hot at the right time and got there. The Packers COULD do the same.
    The NFL is a league of parity where the seeding means practically nothing.
    Unfortunately, I remain rather convinced that the Packers are going to lose out. Hopefully they prove me wrong tomorrow and we’ll go from there.

  7. Kato January 2, 2016

    Good article. I am starting to wonder how much longer they will have this window. Nothing is guaranteed in the nfl. It could just be a down year, but this season has proven just how many holes this team has. Will be pretty tough to patch all the holes

  8. Howard January 3, 2016

    All these negative waves! Finish Strong! GO PACK!!!

  9. Sanguine camper January 3, 2016

    If you look at teams who experienced epic chokes in the past they never recovered. It takes a house cleaning to get over a massive choke because the epic choke causes a loss in Confidence especially in the coaching staff. This Packer regime will continue to slide because they gamble too much into putting g all of their eggs in the draft and develop philosophy. This season shows that they haven’t drafted very well and have not developed all that well either.

    1. MMTTDCSUCK January 3, 2016


  10. gort January 3, 2016

    Shawn, keep being realistic. That is what this type of media needs. Don’t drink the kool-aid, don’t sugar coat what we all can see on our HDTV from the comfort of our recliners. I have always been a Packers fan (Wisconsin native now displaced elsewhere). It was difficult for me to follow the Pack during the dark ages because I was in the Navy and at sea for some of it. I found a tabloid that helped some, but it had a lot of kool-aid and sugar. The same is true of many publications and web sites today. Bottom line = I will always cheer for the Packers and hope for wins, but I am a realist and I must agree with Shawn. I hope that the Packers win out, but there is a more likely scenario.

  11. Cyberstag January 3, 2016

    I agree with most of the comments here. We wondered how the Packers would respond after that devastating loss to Seattle. We found out! This group has a chance to bounce back next season but only if there is a major move in the off season. If they maintain the status quo it’s over!!

  12. MMTTDCSUCK January 3, 2016