I took a glance backward Saturday night as I trudged out of the stadium Saturday night, and I saw Lambeau Field in all her glory.
Stung into semi-silence and reeling from a painful loss, she still stood there proud, strong and, yes, glorious.
I stopped to take a picture or two and felt a wellspring of honest pride.
Sometimes, you have to look backward to see your way forward.
This storied franchise has always been more than any single player, even those whose names appear and will one day appear on the ring of glory. It’s more than any single game too, even those that end in trophy presentations.
The Packers represent their hard-working, loyal, passionate, unpretentious city and have for more than 100 years. The team, which includes every player and every coach who has ever emerged from that tunnel on game day, has known enviable triumph during that span, and crushing defeats.
This game, in which we lost to a team that failed to score a single offensive touchdown and inexplicably sent just 10 guys out to defend a game-winning field goal, ranks right up there with some of the most painful in recent history — the muffed onside kick of 2014 NFC Championship game, the 2007 overtime interception at the NFL Championship game, the infamous Fourth and 26.
As such, it will define the team. But, it won’t derail the franchise.
We’re better than that.
I had the honor of speaking with NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dave Robinson Saturday afternoon before the game. Eloquent still at 80-years old, he spoke about how Coach Lombardi prepared his players for the mental challenge playing in the cold and some of the ways he would get inside the heads of opposing players.
Mr. Robinson played for the Packers from 1963 through 1972, which means he saw some of the franchise’s greatest wins, and a couple of its more challenging seasons. I have spoken to Mr. Robinson on several occasions and I’ve never heard him say a single negative thing about any of his years with the Packers. Analyze their play? Yes. Speak bitterly about their lapses? Never.
Frankly, I’ve never heard him say a negative thing about any of the Packer teams that came after him either.
He is as honored today to represent the Packers as he was when they drafted him nearly 60 years ago. Let’s be like Dave Robinson..
The Packers will learn from the heartache of this season, they’ll make some necessary changes, and they’ll move on.
And, I’ll be right back in that tradition-rich stadium cheering them on.
Go Pack Go!