Ja  Kato

Ja Kato


I started out as a Packer fan in Milwaukee's south side as a small boy, about 5-6 years old. We played from the end of the telephone pole to the crack at the end of the alley for goal lines, with the garages that lined the alley as the out-of-bounds markers. A few years later, when someone in my family couldn't go to Milwaukee's "County Stadium" for Packers games played there back then, I'd fill in. I was in heaven.

Sunday afternoons were a ritual in our house. I learned the game from my dad, who demanded silence during plays, while filling me in on the rules and what it takes to be a winner. Then, my uncle, the former high-school Qb who also played for the Army team got in my head, and I turned into a 'bomb' in the alley games. Too bad by the end of high school the rumbles and tackle we played on cement took it's toll on my spine, and I had to forgo football playing. From that time on, I thought if I couldn't play anymore, I'd be the Packs No. 1 fan, and have been, even after moving near Detroit, to a small Michigan town.

The games I filled in on are still fresh in my mind, with the smell of cigars and beer on chilly afternoons, with the roar of the crowd filling the air. Lombardi on the sidelines chewing out a tackle for missing a block, or Horning putting a crooked kick through the uprights, and Taylor scampering for a first down. How about WIllie Davis stuffing a runner short, or big 66 raising hell for the offenses, along with Willie Wood and Herb Aderly covering like blankets. We could see it all live from some good seats on the 43 yard line in the upper deck.

I prayed constantly for the team and my favorite players. My prayers... well, you know what Green Bay did in the "60's. They became the team of teams, putting Green Bay on the map as Championship town. I guess I still do, and it all came back with Ron Wolf, Holmgren, Favre, then Mike McCarthy and T. Thompson came, together structuring success at it's highest level ever. The franchise has "opportunity" knocking during the next few seasons to surpass even the greatest of the great, Vince Lombardi and his records.

Who would think one team could ever be blessed enough to have tenured a 17 season quarterback who shattered most of the record book, then be followed by an even more spectacular quarterback, as we are seeing in Aaron Rodgers? Dallas had a few, but not any team in NFL history has come close to the numbers these two super-hero's have put up.

I'm not all that crazy about the changes NFL football has seen during the past few decades. No longer do we see any team with a "grind it out, shove it down your throat running game", but we do see more excitement in the air game, with many times one after the other phenomenal catches and runs after the catch.

2012 holds only a few questions that if working in favor of the team, will bring another Super-Duper-Bowl showing for G.B.. The injuries sustained and the degree of impact or severity can have the biggest demise on hopes for bowl games in Packer-land. As seen last year, if the D-line has a couple season ending bang-ups, the whole efficiency of the "D" goes down. Improvements in the draft along with trades have me excited for D. Capers and his crew. He's just too damn good to be a last place drarf, two years in a row. Look for drastic improvements. A couple years ago, their pass rush and run stopping game was near flawless, and they were healthy most of the time. The aging backfield has a few improvements that will help in the passing game defense, so overall, look for a move putting the team from 32nd into the top 10 this year. With Capers, that's not even good enough. He's a champion and breads champions. Overall the teams power-rankings slipped a bit from #1 to #2 on "Bleacher Report" news, but not in my book. The Green Bay Packers are #1 all the way around, and we'll see when February rolls around how far off I am.

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