December 15th, the Day We Reminded the Cowboys They Still Suck...


December 15th, 2013:  A Day that Will Live in Awesomeness…

            There are two things, in my mind, that will forever mark this day and this game:  what the players did, which was incredible beyond belief, and what the fans, both around me and around the country, did.  In case you are not a die-hard Cheesehead and are not currently sure to what grand, miraculous, wonderful, awe-inspiring event I am referring to, I’ll tell you.  On December 15th, 2013 the Green Bay Packers went to Dallas, Texas to play a professional football game against those crazy Cowboys.  The game had big playoff implications for both teams.  It’s December football and baby, its go time.  The Packers had to win, without Aaron Rodgers again(though I, in no way, question his toughness.  Now, I have heard rumblings from Packers fans that he needs to “man up” and come back but I would like to offer them this:  How about we break their collarbones, wait one month and then send an incredibly large, incredibly fast 300 pound man to jump on top of them to “test” their broken collarbone.  He’s very tough, folks, believe me; and he’ll be back as soon as he’s allowed.  Remember, its not his decision not to be out there, it’s the doctors.  Also, just on a more personal level, not only is Aaron Rodgers unequivocally more talented and good-looking than I, but he is also much larger and could definitely beat me up in a fight.  And, if I tried to run, I’m certain he is much quicker than I as well), to keep their playoff hopes alive and the Cowboys could take control of the NFC East with a victory.  The events that transpired are forever etched in my memory.  The resolve, the passion, the strength was outstanding and truly an inspiration.  Now that you know, let’s get into it…

            After wading through the throngs of “recruiters” upon leaving church, which I actually like because it makes me feel like the talented, college-bound athletes must feel coming out of High School, we(and by “we” and I mean my girlfriend and I.  So yes, if you’re keeping score at home, we did get back together; and by the end of this you will see one of the many, many reasons why I was a huge fucking idiot for letting her go in the first place) headed over to what has become our favorite Packers bar in Portland:  Corbett’s Fish House.  They, unlike every other god-damned place, not only say that they have the best fish and chips in town, they actually fucking do.  Get the perch and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  This place is owned by actual Wisconsinites and it shows.  Everyone outside of Wisconsin has always made fun of the way I mix drinks.  It seems they’re always a tad on the strong side.  Well, the people at Corbett’s know how to mix a drink; read:  if you’re planning on driving home, maybe don’t make it a double for a dollar extra.  So, after devouring my perch and drinking my first screwdriver, man, was I ready for some football.  Not only do I have a lifetime hatred of the Cowboys, thanks in large part to the very same man who happens to be announcing the game, Troy Aikman, but also I’ve been telling everyone since the start of the season that the Packers would win the Super Bowl(which I do every year, but still) and if they lost on Sunday their season would be all but over.  Now, I’m not going to recount the game, as there are many places where you can read about it if you so choose.  Also, because the first half can be summed up by simply saying the Packers played like a big ball of wet sloppy shit; and the Cowboys took advantage of that with a 26-3 lead going into halftime.  No, the thing I want to talk about, and the reason this game is one for the ages, is the reactions at halftime, by both the players and the fans.  This game is reason I watch football.  I love the memories.  I love the emotion.  I love the battle.  I love, as Mike McCarthy clearly stated to his players, the word of the day:  adversity.  This game was better than any game I watched in 2011 when the Packers cruised to a 15-1 record.  This game had a life and spirit I could have never forseen, and might not see again.  It was simply breathtaking and nerve-racking and terrifying and beautiful.  And, I loved every minute of it.  Well, after the first half anyways…

            The first thing that struck me at halftime was the hopefulness and steadfastness of my girlfriend.  As soon as the first half ended, she said “Okay, we got this.”Now, I couldn’t actually see my face when she said this to me, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same look I would’ve given her if she had just asked me to shoot heroin with some hepatitis and aids-infested homeless man under a bridge somewhere(there’s fucking thousands in Portland it seems, both homeless and bridges) whilst having a four-way with Mr. Hepatitis/Aids and a recently deceased, but still warm, mangled up old lady who died from syphilis; as if anyone dies from that anymore.  Yep, that was probably the look on my face.  But then, immediately, I felt a twinge of that old Catholic guilt.  Never doubt the team.  It’s my job as a fan to always support the team, no matter what.  Almost as if in a Biblical sense, you must always believe with all your heart and at that moment I did not; my girlfriend did.  My faith began to waver.  And I was not alone.  Almost everyone else at Corbett’s that day paid their checks and left.  They had given up on the game and the team.  Their resolve and faith was cracking and they couldn’t take it anymore.  Maybe they just couldn’t handle getting smashed, by the Cowboys of all fucking teams.  Or maybe they just wanted to see a great football game and felt this one was boring, and thusly missed out on one of the most amazing comebacks in Packers history.  Whatever the reason,  it was down to two guys up front(from Wisconsin), the owners(from Wisconsin) and my girlfriend and me(from Wisconsin).  She was the only faithful left not born into the Covenant of the Cheesehead.  She was also the first to display the hope and faith we all desperately needed.  She said “I believe they can do it.”  I will never forget my response because I felt a little ashamed when I said it.  I said “I believe they can, but I don’t think they will.”  My heart and my brain were not on the same page.  My heart said let’s go get’em, we can do this.  My brain said this is turning into Thanksgiving pt. II.  And for that moment I was almost too scared to let my hope shine through.  It was easier to accept defeat then hold out hope for the win and possibly, or probably at that point, be disappointed.  This was most likely the reason that the bar was almost empty after halftime, and I’m sure it wasn’t the only Packers bar like that.  But I could see she was right.  I knew she was.  She almost always is, but don’t tell her that, it’ll go to her head.  She turned and asked me “You don’t want to leave, do you?”  “No,” I replied “absolutely not.” The game turned out to be as exciting and amazing as it possibly could have been.  But most people were already gone.  They had missed it.

The players went on to do something so great I don’t think they could fully comprehend it at that moment in time.  From Eddie Lacy's first run of the second half through Matt Flynn's five consecutive touchdown drives to the defense's epic turnaround from the first half, it was unbelievable.  I can’t even begin to imagine what the players were feeling.  I do know that when we finally got up to leave Corbett’s I could hardly stand up.  My body had been pumped so full of adrenaline and excitement and nervousness during that second half that I was crashing hard once it was finally over.  I had just watched the very best of the human spirit and human confrontation.  Men who knew no quit, only fight.  A season was on the line and they played like it.  I can’t explain it fully and I’m quite sure neither could they.  It was incomprehensible and wonderful.  But most had left before they could witness the miracle.  I found their lack of faith disturbing.  I was almost one of them.  But I couldn’t leave, it just wasn’t in me or my girlfriend to give up on our Packers.  The owners thanked us for staying before we left.  “Are you kidding?”  I said.  “Thank you, this was incredible.”  But most of all, I’ll always remember that right before that fateful second half started, once I had taken a moment and had a clearer head, I told my girlfriend “If they do win, it will be the most remarkable thing I have ever seen.”  And finally, for once, I was right about something; it was…