Never before, in my opinion, have two defending champions defended their titles quite so stylishly as the Packers and the Bruins.
While any team can be beaten on any day, there exists that rare crown jewel of indestructibility. It starts with a championship ring and excels with a growing myth made true—a reputation that wins battles before they are ever fought, and a ruthless team that refuses to flinch in the face of making history. And when it comes to football in Wisconsin and hockey in Massachusetts, no winning streak is too long, and no dream is too audacious to accomplish.
And there’s another similarity: when you look at the rosters of these two teams, there’s a feeling that you’re looking at a slew of future legends. The collection of names is simply outstanding: Rodgers, Woodson, Starks, Driver, Jones, Nelson, Matthews, Jennings, Bergeron, Horton, Krejci, Lucic, Marchand, Chara, Thomas.
These are names you would expect to find spread out amongst six or seven teams. We’re talking about two teams here. This is amazing. This is history unfolding right in front of us.
When you look past the mouth of Rex Ryan and the hoopla of the Harbaughs, you being to realize that there’s only a few great teams in the NFL—the Patriots, the Packers, the Saints and the Steelers—and only one of them is on their way to a perfect season and a legitimate shot at repeating as NFL champions.
When you look past the hysteria of Crosby, you begin to realize that the Bruins—despite not having an MVP on their roster since 1973-‘74—have rather quietly assembled a squad of the most dangerous hockey players in the world.
For the next decade, when other teams build their rosters to compete for championships in the NFL and the NHL, these two teams will have to be factors in every decision they make and in every analysis they make of their own progress: “Yes, Player X is good and we’re interested in him...but can he help us beat the Bruins?” “Yes, we’re having a terrific season and we’re in contention...but can we beat the Bruins?”
Only time will tell, of course, but the ingredients are there for both teams. To win a title is wonderful, but to win them as frequently as the Chicago Bulls or the Boston Celtics is a totally different matter. At that point, you’re talking about overachieving to a virtually psychotic degree. You’re talking about that sliver of a realm where being great isn’t enough.
I look at the Packers and the Bruins and I see a decade of dominance for both teams.
I envision the next ten years of my life as a time in which I’ll witness the emergence of Tyler Seguin as one of the greatest to play the game. I envision the next ten years of my life with Aaron Rodgers being a steady topic of the conversations I intend to have. I envision a decade in which every single NFL analyst on the planet concludes every last rant, opinion and critique with “Yes, but can they beat the Packers?”