Nathan Sass

Unconditional Apologies to Team Thompson

In Green Bay Packers, NFL, Sports on February 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

We live in a world where people seem to be incapable of recognizing and acknowledging that they were wrong about almost anything.  We excuse, we rationalize, we justify and sometimes hold to positions to the point of absolute absurdity.

I hate when people do that.

Today I must practice what I preach and humbly apologize to a few people about whom I have been galactically wrong.  I doubt that they will ever read any of these words, but I will offer them none the less.

To Ted Thompson, General Manager of the World Champion Green Bay Packers

For years I told anyone that would listen that you would never put together a championship team.  I railed against your unwillingness to use free agency.  I mocked your unwillingness to fill holes at key positions after injury with available veterans.  I was firmly convinced that the Packers would only ever be “good enough” to get to the playoffs, but never a championship caliber team.

I was wrong, utterly, completely, and totally.  Please accept my humble apology.

To Mike McCarthy, Head Coach of the World Champion Green Bay Packers:

For as long as you have held the reigns of my beloved Packers, I was certain that you were in over your head.  There were moments of brilliance, but I could not help but point out the accompanying moments of seeming idiocy.  I mocked your play calling relentlessly, and was vocal in my belief that you would never lead the Packers to the top of the mountain.

I was wrong.  Please accept my apology.  Your work this season was possibly the most impressive coaching efforts in the history of the NFL.  No man has held a team together through more adversity and continued to lead them to victory.

To Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback of the World Champion Green Bay Packers:

Since becoming the starting QB, I was convinced that while your statistical production was fantastic, you were not a “winner”.  I told everyone that would listen that you did not have what it took to win big games, or single-handedly secure victory when all looked lost.  It was never your talent that I questioned, it was your heart and ability to win and to lead.

I was so very wrong, and I offer my apologies and beg your forgiveness.  This season you did what no Packer QB has ever done.  Even as one weapon after another was taken from you buy injuries, you never flinched.  You stood strong and continued to lead, no matter who was lined up around you.  When you were battered and bruised, you fought through it and never once became nervous and jittery in the pocket.  And when it mattered most multiple times this season, you did what was necessary to win.

More than that, Mr. Rodgers, you have been the very model of professionalism on and off the field.  The more we learn about you, the more impressive you become.  You are the type of man who seems to always try to do the right thing, even if no one is looking.

I congratulate all three of you for reaching the pinnacle of your profession.

——————————

One final thought on Super Bowl XLV.  When the final seconds ticked away and I realized that my beloved Green Bay Packers had become world champions, my thoughts immediately moved to two people for whom I could not be more thrilled, bringing tears to my eyes.

Donald Driver has endured season after season with sometimes little hope of a championship.  Mr. Driver is unique to the sports world.  His story reads like a Hollywood script that no one would believe.  Through all the adversity and pain, he never stopped working and he never stopped smiling.  He remains the only professional athlete I know who’s primary endorsement is a charitable organization, not a shoe company or a sports drink.  If ever a person deserved to become a champion, it is Donald Driver.

Charles Woodson was once the most sought after talent in the nation.  He was named the best football player in the college ranks, drafted 4th overall by the Oakland Raiders and played at the highest level.  He was robbed of a game winning moment in the AFC championship game by a stupid and non sensical rule that seems to only exist to let referees save Tom Brady from failure.  His only Super Bowl  appearance was marred by a starting Center’s break with sanity and an opposing coach who knew every move the Raiders would make.  When he became a free agent, he was suddenly unwanted by anyone except the Packers, but he did not become bitter.  He worked harder, and became another coach on the field.  His willingness to play through pain and injury is the stuff of NFL legends.  Woodson finally has his ring, which he so richly deserves.

These two men are the type of individuals we should elevate as role models.  These are men who deserve to be champions.  It is good that sometimes the good guy wins, and “doing it the right way” gets rewarded.

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