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Dear Packers Fans…

We had a fantastic year. It did not end so fantastically, but nobody could have predicted how well we did with such a young, inexperienced team led by a grizzled veteran quarterback who may or may not have had his best years pass him by.

Sure, we shot ourselves in the foot with those penalties, missed third-down conversions, blown coverage, and failure to convert turnovers into big points; but we fought all the way to overtime, where anything can happen. We as Packers fans should know that much:

The Seahawks a couple of years ago and Denver earlier this year; we came out on the victor’s side of overtime. The “4th and 26” Philadelphia game and tonight; we simply came out on the wrong end. That’s how the game is played.

Regardless, I enjoyed the ride. 13 wins and 3 losses. It’s an incredible feat, no matter if another team will probably go undefeated. We gave the country something to talk about. They remembered why the Packers are such a esteemed organization and great ball club.

The Cowboys have been branded “America’s Team,” but we all know who the rightful team team of that label is. It’s the only team that is owned by thousands of individuals, rather than one person or a wealthy family, in all of professional sports. It’s the only team that has won more NFL Championships and Super Bowls than any other football club. It’s the only team with more Hall-of-Famers than any other team.

It’s the Green Bay Packers, and tonight they fought a good fight, and lost. So it goes.

The phrase, “next year is our year” is normally reserved for Cubs and Red Sox fans, but I think we can reclaim it. But it’s not a phrase we utter in vain desperation for it to come true; I think next year is our year. History shows that teams who lose their conference championship come roaring back the next year, assuming all of their pieces are intact. We did it after the 1995 conference championship loss to Dallas – I think we can do it now.

Of course, “assuming all of our pieces are intact” refers primarily to Brett Favre. I’m not naive. I know that we would not be where we are if not for the Iron Man with the Golden Arm.

But I think he’s coming back next year. He came so close. His year to quit would have been last year, with the tears and the closing horizon of his viability in a younger man’s profession. He said himself that this was the most talented group of players with which he’s ever played – he wouldn’t simply walk away from it. He’s too good. Too fun. Too needed.

We Packers fans know loss. After our victorious Super Bowl year, things went downhill. We lost the next Super Bowl (a hurt too deep for tears), then went 8-8. It was then a quick ascension into playoff-caliber play with Mike Sherman, then he too led us down an ugly slope.Now, Mike McCarthy has taken the reigns and steered us back into relevance. Thank goodness.

Winning so many games this year seemed strange. We were used to losing a few more due to Favre’s interceptions stupid mistakes and last-second botches. It all seemed a little too easy. We were racking up too many points; winning by too much; seeing Favre play too well.

Well, now that the dream had faded and we’re grounded back in our now-empty lives, we must accept the loss with dignity and resilience – as we always do. We’ll come back stronger, more experienced, and with a vendetta.

We’re coming back full throttle, ready to beat the Giants and the Patriots and the Bears.

So, good luck Eli and the Giants. Brady and the Pats are the team to beat, and I think most of America, sans Patriots fans, are hoping for an upset. It would certainly help Eli’s respectability.

Here’s to a great year, Cheeseheads. Let’s hold our heads high and remind ourselves how blessed we are to be a part of such a historic and talented team, and that we have a good quarterback.

Be grateful for that. The Bears have never been as fortunate. (And let’s hope it stays that way.)

We’re witnessing history with every Favre pass, touchdown, interception, and win we see.

Remember that, and enjoy the ride. I most certainly am.

Always and forever a Packer fan,

CHAD

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