Tuesday, February 08, 2011
The Ultimate for Fans
I'm 33 years old. My primary rooting interests have consistently been the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Timberwolves, Wisconsin Badgers (Division I sports outside of men's hockey), and UMD.
In my lifetime on Earth the planet, only the Packers have managed to win a pro or Division I championship. They've now done it twice.
Watching UMD win two Division II titles has been a total thrill. This past year was -- for this UMD supporter -- especially gratifying, because of everything the Bulldogs overcame. Injuries, suspensions, horrid officiating, weather, etc.
It was special to see.
However, nothing beats seeing a team climb the biggest mountains that exist.
Especially when they overcome what the Packers did.
I've talked before about how there is a certain amount of luck that has to go your way to win a major championship. Even in UMD's case, there were some bounces of oblong football that went their way to help them win, even when it didn't look like UMD could buy a break when it came to health and officiating. Guts, determination, drive, and intensity are wonderful and generally necessary qualities, but you have to get lucky at some point.
Maybe it's Michael Vick underthrowing a taller receiver in the end zone, allowing Tramon Williams to extend and make the interception. It might be a turning-point play like Williams' pick-six in the divisional round, a horrific decision made by Matt Ryan with no duress. He just lobbed the ball where he shouldn't have. Maybe it's the Bears being stupid enough to keep Todd Collins as their No. 2 quarterback, essentially delaying Caleb Hanie's entrance until it was almost the fourth quarter.
The Packers deserve this title, no question. But that's not to say that luck didn't play a role. Clay Matthews wasn't looking to strip the ball from Rashard Mendenhall, and even if he was, he had no way of knowing it would bounce where it did, and that Pittsburgh would have a couple players unable to recognize the situation and locate the ball before Desmond Bishop did.
They deserve it not because they got lucky, but because they were a resilient team that didn't let injuries or momentum swings keep them down. They won three straight road games to get to the Super Bowl, then beat a Pittsburgh team that -- while you could argue they beat themselves -- so rarely does such a thing that you have to think the Packers had something to do with it.
It's the best for a fan. It's bragging rights for a year. It's getting to hear your team called "World Champions" over and over again.
Now, wouldn't it be nice if the Brewers followed suit? And UMD hockey?
Man, this could be quite the sports year.