In 2007, the Green Bay Packers experienced dizzying new heights in the land of the NFC North. With Brett Favre leading the way and the Packer offense exploding at every position, there was little room for error when it came to considering Green Bay as legit title contenders.
It's safe to say now though, if it wasn't for those pesky New York Giants, Green Bay may have won their fourth Super Bowl trophy. But unfortunately, Packer fans will always be wondering what could have become of their more than impressive 2007 campaign, and if it wasn't for yet another Brett Favre interception that cost them a spot at the big dance, Packer fans will always wonder how they may have fared against the New England Patriots.
That is a question that will also be left unanswered, and aside from what could have happened, the more important story that unfolded in 2007 was the addition of, coincidentally, former New York Giants running back Ryan Grant.
When Ryan first arrived in Green Bay, he didn't have a yard to his stats or the smallest shred of credibility to his former Notre Dame Fighting Irish name. Still, it was a signing that has payed off in the long run for the Packers, but the yellow (and also green) brick road to Ryan Grant's recent success didn't come in the typical fairytale way that some NFL fans seem to understand.
No, Ryan Grant was a criticised running back, and in a league where players are judged on what they do right, when something goes wrong, fans and coaches will second guess you all week long.
It seems like a long time ago now, but in reality it was only a year ago that I was criticising Ryan Grant's game play, and wondering just when Ryan would pick up the slack, take his finger off the button, and stop rushing for dismal two to three yard gains.
Thinking back, I do wish I hadn't thrown my television remote so many times in anger toward Ryan Grant, but looking at that old and powerless clicker, it has become clear to me that all of my aggression, has earned itself a reward.
Green Bay has finally found their running game.
I am under the impression that some Packer fans do feel that Grant has a long way to go in order to make himself an elite back among the Chris Johnsons and Adrian Petersons of this league. And of course, I wholeheartedly agree.
However, when you think back to Green Bay's recent offensive powerhouse days of late, the words 'running back' don't appear too often. Sure, Ahman Green was great in his hayday, but now he is nothing more than a third down running back used to move the chains and provide announcers with a history note on just how great Ahman's career once was.
Yes, Ryan Grant is the new go-to guy, and although Brandon Jackson is used on the odd occasion, number 25 has earned himself a starting role in the Packers lineup that won't soon be forgotten.
So why has Ryan Grant developed over the span of two years, into an average running back that is for the most part dependable? Well, if you look at the Packers offensive line woes, that clearly isn't the answer, so surely it's got to be something else, right?
The simple fact is, Ryan Grant now knows his place on the Packers, and more importantly knows what to expect from the NFL, and how to handle positive and negative games in a 'forward progress' type manner.
This is where I relate back to fairy-tales, as once upon a time Ryan Grant was a running back with zero confidence and a running ability that was more of a "could be" rather than a "will be." Now, things have changed and Ryan Grant is set up for a great future.
1,253 yards last season may not be enough to convince all fans, but it sure is enough to convince me. One thing I have noticed with Packer fans is the criticism of Ryan Grant is continuing, and although that may be fair at times, it is also fair to acknowledge just how much Grant has improved over a short space of time.
Be happy for Ryan, and be happy that Green Bay has a run game that can support Aaron Rodgers' high offensive demands.
Sit back and enjoy the Grant show. He's bound to take Green Bay places, and if not, try and keep your remote intact.