He's seeing the play-sheet well

Much, much has been made about Rodgers' recent hot-streak, where, over the course of four must-win games the Packers' quarter-back has played excellent - neh, exceptional - football. And much should be made. Rodgers has given Packers fans world-wide some-thing special over the last month. That game against Atlanta - it's a rare treat, and I hope my younger readers come to appreciate it. Sure, you may be grinning at stop-lights and even at work now, fresh off the Big Win, but appreciation for a master-piece like that should become more acute with time. It's the kind of game you'll take to the grave.

Facing our greatest rival in the NFC Championship game a week later makes it even more difficult to fathom the superb good fortune we Packers fans now find our-selves immersed in. We go from one of the greatest games and passing performances in a generation to the most-anticipated Bears match-up in generations, and all of that could lead to another Super-Bowl trip for the Green and Gold, which is, after-all, the only game that really matters.

Now that's a Hum-dinger, dear readers! Trying to even wrap one's mind around these realities... these possibilities... well, it's like trying to explain hot-routes to a piece of buttered toast. It's too big for one week's worth of human thought and enjoy-ment. I recommend putting off sleep until mid-February, folks.

We've got a great defense, but look around. Every-one standing has a top-notch defense. That's the entry fee this year. The reason the public perceives us as the favorite, and the reason the sports-books have us listed as the favorite, is because of Ronnie Rodgers, and particularly, because of the way he dissected the top-seeded Falcons on the road. And that's fine. Rodgers deserves the praise coming his way this week. He is seeing the field with crystal-clear, high-definition focus, but I would like to talk about the man on the side-line today: Coach Mike McCarthy is also seeing the play-sheet well, and his leader-ship that has taken the Packers to a second NFC title match in five years should also be commended.

I really enjoyed what I heard coming out of the coach's press conference on Monday after-noon. There appeared to be more truth coming through the mis-directional coach-speak than usual. McCarthy, too, feels the magnitude of this week in Packers' history, I'm certain.

Some of my favorite quotes:
"I really don't think it's a big deal, frankly. Both teams are going to play on the field."
 Exactly. This is not an issue, folks. If the Bears want to play on hay, let 'em.
"I really see no benefit to go back and talk about the pain of '07. '07 is a different year. It's a different team, there's different coaches, playing a different opponent, and we're playing in a different location. So I'm sure everybody that went through the experience in '07 has a personal memory of what they thought maybe they could do differently or how they can learn from that experience. I'll be a better coach this time, the second time around, and the players that went through that game I fully anticipate them to be better players. It's like anything in life, when you have the opportunity to learn from experiences"
As I wrote back in May, anticipating the new season, "Comparisons sure are easy, but they're rarely worth much when time gets in the middle, dear readers." You've got to keep up with the times, not get stuck within them. And besides, who wants to think about that god-awful game any-ways? I've already expunged it from memory.

"It's really a privilege and honor now to be part of this great history with the playoff game against the Bears. I know it's only the second time it's happened, the 182nd meeting of both teams. Personally I'm honored to be a part of this and to be going down to Soldier Field to play for the Halas trophy and for the opportunity to play for the Lombardi trophy. It speaks volumes. It's great for both organizations, great for our fans. It's going to be a fun game to play in."
He gets it. More:
"We don't like their team and they don't like our team. I get all that. But I respect the way they play. They play the right way. We play the right way. But this is about winning championships, and we're going down there to play for the NFC Championship Game" 
And more:
"You know how they're going to play, they know how we're going to play, and I think that's the way you like to play. Roll the ball out there and let's go get it. I think it's going to be a heck of a game to watch." 
What can I say? I love hearing our coach speaking the truth, speaking from the heart. It honors the tradition represented in this Championship, and it only gets me more excited for the game. Or as they may call it, when explaining this rivalry to future generations of fans: The Game. May your nerves and antsy-ness remain at reasonable levels this week, dear readers! Check back often for more play-off week bonus coverage...

Until next time, then,