Across the nation, white-collar sports fans have abruptly stopped their daytime jobs of teaching children, reviewing contracts, and making deals to sit at their computers and weigh in with their thoughts on the Randy Moss trade.
It is the story of an unwanted franchise, the Vikings, desperately doing whatever it takes to convince the good citizens of Minnesota to pay their hard-earned dollars for a new stadium.
Wars are never fought by comfortable nations, and never won by nations that are complacent to play it safe.
The same thing can be said about winning in the NFL.
As a diehard Packer fan, I am green with envy over what the Minnesota Vikings will do to win the Super Bowl.
Stealing Steve Hutchinson: A+
Acquiring Jared Allen: A+
Breaking the NFL code of ethics to sign Brett Favre: A+
Trading for Randy Moss: A+
While the Green Bay Packers continue to make noble and calculated decisions to build a solid team, there comes a point when Packer president Mark Murphy and the numerous stock holders must ask general manager Ted Thompson to set a goal date for winning the Super Bowl.
What happens to team building through the draft when the NFL shuts down for a year because of labor issues? Players are a year older, contracts expire, and the NFL changes to either the MLB method of rewarding large market teams or the NHL model of making a winner out of every team once every five years. Neither one is good for a small market team like the Packers.
The Vikings have one last shot to win the Super Bowl. It is an organization on edge hoping that the Twin Cities will embrace them and pay for a new stadium. It is an organization soon to be in the red financially because they are going “all in” to win sports' biggest championship.
The Packers are the NFL’s fiscal darlings. I wouldn’t be shocked if President Barack Obama commended them in a speech someday. The Packers will always have a home and will never worry about sucking up taxpayer dollars for stadium renovations. They don’t need to win a championship to survive.
While the Vikings draft good players and are in hot pursuit of phenomenal but troubled athletes, the Packers only build through the draft.
Since I work a full-time job, I don’t have the time to go back and figure out how many 2009 games the Packers would’ve won if they were able to score a touchdown on the 2- or 1-yard line. I would be willing to bet that having a running back that is automatic from two yards out would’ve equaled home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Yet while the Vikings are out trying to snatch every All-Pro they can, the Packers refuse to spend their surplus of cash to sign a guy like LaDainian Tomlinson (who was pursued by Minnesota), a sure guarantee to gain a few yards to score a touchdown or get a first down. Running back Ryan Grant is good between the 20s when Rodgers' passing game is dangerous but struggles to score close to the goal line.
As much as I appreciate Ted Thompson’s efforts to build a solid team through the draft, there comes a point when they have to determine the year to win it all—the year when players like Tomlinson, Moss, and even Terrell Owens can make the difference. Ron Wolf knew this when he signed TE Keith Jackson and WR/PR man Desmond Howard, allowing the Packers to win the Super Bowl.
With labor issues growing and the possibility of major changes in the NFL, I highly recommend that Thompson and Murphy actually make this the year to win the Super Bowl instead of talking about it.
I hear Maurice Jones-Drew is available.