Green Bay Packers: The Focus on Going Undefeated
Staring the season 10-0 and having the burden to being the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go undefeated is quite daunting. Especially with a short week and the Lions on Turkey Day. Is this the week the Packers lose game #1?
Aaron Rodgers has emerged as the best QB (Drew Brees is right on his heals this year) in the league and the defending Super Bowl Champs look well on their way to a repeat: the hardest thing to do in all of Sports (IMO)!
So how do the players and coaches handle this situation? Turn it into a goal? Make an undefeated season a priority? Try to ignore it and down play it to the media? Let each and every player have his own opinion of the situation?
A big "No" to all of the above! Going undefeated becomes a by-product of winning the opening drive (of every game), winning the first quarter (of every game), winning the turn-over margin (of every game), overcoming bad referee calls (in every game), winning the fourth-quarter (of every game), ect, etc, etc. Therefore, the coaches have a responsibility to address the issue immediately and get all players, coaches, trainers, doctors, and team personal on the same page with the same answer and voice.
What happens if the Packers host the Lions, in the regular season finale, in a nasty blizzard (known to happen in northern Wisconsin) and the outcome is decided by fumble and field goal with 2 minutes remaining? It could happen! Or what happens if the last game of the season means nothing - does Aaron Rogers even play - risk of injury! (If I was the coach - he wouldn't be playing!) How do the players and coaches bounce back for their playoff run? Are they disappointed that they will not be that team to go undefeated? Will it be built up by the media, in epic terms, and become a major distraction in their playoff run? What happens and what would be the Legacy of this packer team if they went undefeated in the regular season and lost in either the playoffs or Super Bowl?
I can assume that every member of the Patriots would trade a regular season loss for the Super Bowl XLII (or whatever number that was) win.
The voice: Being undefeated has never been a goal of this team. It’s not something we are focusing on or care about. If it happens, it will be a by-product of our commitment to being great and we will then be crowned Super Bowl champs. But for right now, we do not spend any energy or focus on a goal that does not exist. Therefore, there is no need to discuss it any further. It's not a focus. Our focus is on the now!
My wife’s uncle, Dr. McKenzie is the best NFL team doctor in the business and the Green Bay Parkers team doctor. I look forward to his take on this repeat campaign when it’s all said and done.