As a British NFL fan, and that really is “fan” not “supporter” as I really can admit as much about the Green Bay Packers. N0 better evidence so this level of fanatical than staying up until 5-6am on a Tuesday Morning in order to watch them. I don’t know if it’s due to the exclusive Sky Sports monopoly but besides hearing the odd scoreline I’m neither “here nor there” about watching United play in the Premier League, Champions League, League Cup, that is enough for me. Nice to hear that Darren Fletcher is back in red though as ulcerative colitis is no laughing matter as it sidelined him for a good 10 months.
So to stay up to watch “my” Green Bay Packers (1-1) go to the home of the Seattle Seahawks (1-1). That home has been recorded as “the loudest NFL stadium” (with a number of links marvelling that honour, here, here, here, here, and here), the crowd are even given the moniker “The 12th Man“. Since Madden 11, EA Sports have offered fans the chance to vote for the cover star in a form of “a tournament bracket” and in Madden 12 Seattle’s candidate was “The 12th Man”. It didn’t win in the end as that “honour” went to Peyton Hillis who isn’t even with the Cleveland Browns in Madden 13 as he went to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. Could Hillis spouting about the CIA be no better example of “The Madden Curse” as what a “nutbar” thing to come out with, if in fact he did. Either way I honestly think that that curse isn’t real as of course as the player is chosen at the height of their career, the only way is unfortunately down.
The game between the Seahawks and the Packers was a tough one as yes the Packers boast an amazing, explosive, crazy good (blah-blah-blah) offense but the woeful defense. A defense so woeful that the organisation focused the first six picks of it’s eight picks in the 2012 NFL Draft on that side of the ball. These players may not make an instant impact but I have every bit of faith in each and every one of them as up until now those that have played this season have been promising. Nick Perry in the 1st round has to be widely expected as the one to watch as the 1st round normally does that, and he has 9 tackles and a sack after 3 games. Playing opposite the team’s best pass rusher Clay Matthews III has to be advantageous as what the Packers ask of Perry is simple. For Perry to just be an adequate pass rusher for it means the opposing defense can’t double team Matthews. When I read this stat two weeks ago I was a state of shock.
The Seahawks are part of the NFC West which has been widely seen as a “mickey mouse division” for roughly the last ten years. A division that also consists of the Arizona Cardinals, St Louis Rams, and San Francisco 49ers but in my opinion the Rams have to be trailing the rest at the moment. After the Seahawks held the hideous stat of being the 1st team in league history to win the division with a losing record, that losing record was 7-9 so could they change things? The NFC West is definitely showing how strong it can be as especially on defense, as 49ers have the defense with former 11th overall pick of the 2007 draft Patrick Willis in the middle of it. The Cardinals seem to have formed a defense of their own after bringing in Ken Whisenhunt from the Pittsburgh Steelers (the Steelers own Offensive Co-ordinator) back in that same 2007, the Steelers known for their defense rubbed off on the franchise as maybe “The Whiz” brought a thing or two with him. Now “The Cards” have installed Ray Horton as their Defensive Co-ordinator (The Steelers ‘Defensive Back’ positional coach) on 9th February 2011. But in it’s past 2 weeks it is a defensive unit that has solidly staved off the New England Patriots now the Philadelphia Eagles in both games the Cardinals were the “underdogs”. The Rams did beat a re-envigored Washington Redskins as Robert Griffin III (RG:III) seems to have lit a fire under the belly of a poor franchise, this besides other things seems to have got people stating how the NFC West is a serious division now. All in all how on earth did any Packers fan or any member of the media think that this Seahawks would roll over as the Packers may be “the champion on paper” but facts are facts that after a 14-12 loss, the Packers don’t look good right now.
The worst thing about the whole loss (Though I did find the kickstart to write about it, I did think about it momentarily on that Tuesday morning but I was too tired) had to be “the incident“. Looking at the whole game the Packers were bad, the O-Line and Aaron Rodgers were to blame for his 8 sacks though one blogger for ESPN Milwaukee in which I follow on Twitter gave the benefit of the doubt (good on him). My unlining opinion on this whole situation and how the replacement referee’s are being perceived could all be summed with the tweet respected former center (1986-1995) & current NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes sent. This just grabbed my attention to the point that I just had to tweet him back with this. Jamie Dukes then went on to tweet this and so I followed on to tweet him with this and it just says it all as I think everyone is missing the big point that sports media and individuals can sometimes be guilty of. The whole situation strikes me as karma for I tweeted a while ago about luckily not being affected by the refs… Yet. A bit of unfortunate now but in a way it was all a neccessary evil as the uproar has given the NFL the kick up the backside to renegoiate the agreement with the referees union hence the “referee lockout” and these “scab refs”, people need to see the bigger picture sometimes. As Jamie Dukes said…
One thing that I do like about this overraction (better WK3 than the postseason) is that it puts so much pressure on the money hungry NFL to rectify this, so much so even President Obama has chimed in. Then it went as far as for the NFL to come out and apologise for the mistake… HOW SWEET IT IS!