The team was 4-4. There had been some poor performances of late. A loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs, 38-28. Two crushing ego losses to Brett Favre and the Vikings.
Doubt was all around.
I remember riding up to Lambeau Field in the fabulous tailgate cruiseliner of Pat and Michael Lynch and the boys at the Lynch Superstore in Burlington, WI. I was reading the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. It too, had normally sensible sports writers who cover the NFL, and who cover the Packers, making panicked and apocalyptic hints at how everything might just fly apart at the seams if the team does not win that game that day against the Cowboys.
I laughed, and began reading some of the passages out loud to my native Wisconsin Packer fans.
I said, in no mincing words: "Are you guys fucking crazy?"
I was the lone voice of reason that day before the game, assuring them that they had a good quarterback, a solid coach, a smart franchise, and that all of this talk about a "pivotal game" was pure bunk. I told them point blank: I would love to be in your shoes, as a Redskin fan, forever hostage to dysfunction and incompetence.
That same day, our pal Dewey who is a crackerjack photoshopper, brought with him this sign for me to hold aloft on the steps of Lambeau.
Today, Packer fans, is your day. And all the days following, until you die. This championship can be cherished, relived, retold, and remembered.
I am happy for you. Just remember to have some faith next time the sledding gets tough.