The Elemental Home Field Advantage

Back in my younger days, I wore a lumber-jack beard year-round. Like most critters in Wisconsin, I learned to grow it out long and shaggy during the winter months. Those were the days before heated portable shanties and fancy face-masks. I was watching a special on Yellowstone National Park the other night and the camera settled on a group of lumbering bison marching through the snow-pack. “The bison are more comfortable now than in the heat of summer,” the narrator reported. My imagination kicked in and I saw Brett Favre and General Grant and Donald Driver and Coach McCarthy trudging through heavy drifts five feet tall, steam rising from their snouts, and I could see them all smiling, the whole herd. “The Green Bay Packers, a hearty bunch, prefer the frigid Wisconsin winters to the gentle expanses of Texas Stadium,” the narrator said in a booming voice.
Home field advantage is magnified by the extremes of that environment, and for the Packers, in January, this advantage remains elemental. Come Sunday, it is going to be beard-freezing cold on The Tundra, and I don’t think wee Baby-Faced Manning and them fancy city slickers are going to handle it very well, much like a domesticated flamingo in the Yellowstone High Country.
Beyond the matters of team-building, and the optimal environments each team might enjoy, the Packers are no doubt the more talented bunch. And we’re by far the healthier squadron. Case in point is the Giant secondary, which could not stop the passing attack in week two when at full strength. Furthermore, we were without top scoring threat Greg Jennings and a credible running game. Especially in the second half of the season, the Packers coaches have excelled at keeping defenses on their toes with a more balanced attack. When the Giant’s defense lines up, shivering and tired from two weeks of tough playoff football, I guarantee you they’ll be thinking too much and defending too little. “How do you stop a well-organized herd of 1800 pound bull bison on their home turf?” their inner voices might say. Oh, readers, it’s going to be a long day for them on The Tundra; there are just too many options in the Green Bay offense. No amount of electric hot-pants or hand warmers or determination can help them now. Only a slow, painful end awaits.
Does anybody else just want to mash a 50-gallon bucket of raw potatoes while watching the Green Bay defense lately? Lord Almighty, I sure do. It’s like them bang-tails send this old columnist osmotic energy beams through the television set. Like I said earlier in the week, it’s as if the Packers are playing in another, faster dimension. And you can bet the Giants have seen that too. If I were one of their receivers, I’d be fearing the Human Wreckingball Atari Bigby on every route. Mashed Potatoes! With gravy.
Well, folks, I am finally ending my ice fishing odyssey this weekend and will be staying home for a boisterous viewing with the rest of the rowdy crowd. I’m sure we’ll be cooking up a variety of fine meats and treats, and taking our intensity up to level nine or so (my apologies in advance to the neighbors). It’s not too often that we can enjoy an NFC Championship at home, so I hope all of you will follow my lead and put your celebrations in Beast Mode. Again, I don’t think it’ll be a close game, Sunday, so mark it with confidence and vigor, dear readers: New York – 10, Green Bay 33.
Until next week, then.