Packers are working class winners
Jay Hodgson, Packers contributor
Eddie Lacy.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As the TV commercial jokes, quarterback Aaron Rodgers flies “Grill Class.”
However, the entire Packers team is just a bunch of good old blue collar, working class winners.
They are winning games with substance, not style, and I absolutely love it.
If you look at the historical trends in football, the flashy offenses might fill the stadium seats, make your fantasy football team league champions, boost TV ratings, and get the fans excited, but they aren’t the most reliable indicators of winning championships.
Let’s take a look at some the most prolific offenses in NFL history:
- 1981 San Diego Chargers
- 1984 Miami Dolphins
- 1990 Buffalo Bills
- 1997 Green Bay Packers
- 1998 Minnesota Vikings
- 2004 Indianapolis Colts
- 2007 New England Patriots
- 2011 New Orleans Saints
- 2011 Green Bay Packers.
What do they all have in common? Well, beside insane passing yardage and points scored?
That’s right. They couldn’t win the Super Bowl.
Those were the flashiest offenses in NFL history, but they didn’t accomplish the single goal of the profession: win the big one.
So, then what is a better winning formula?
Exactly what the Packers are doing now.
They have traded in their flashy offense for a working class offense.
They are grinding out the tough yard. They are moving the chains. They are melting the clock.
They’re winning. In dominant fashion.
Once the Packers have adjusted their style of play after a 1-2 start to the season, they’ve ripped off a four-game winning streak.
They have not lost a single game in October.
That’s quite a remarkable statistic considering all of the injuries that have decimated the starting lineup.
Let’s take a look at the Sunday night game against the Vikings and how the Packers have morphed into a working class team.
The Packers had 9 offensive possessions, running a total of 73 plays and gaining 464 yards.
They possessed the ball for almost 41 minutes!
If that’s not ball control, then I don’t know what is.
They were absolute ball hogs Sunday night, playing that mean game of keep away during recess against the weaker, slower kids.
They had 36 first downs, and if you don’t count the kneel-down at the end, they scored on every possession.
They were not stopped.
They had scoring drives of 7+, 8+, 8+, 5+, and 6+ minutes, respectively.
That’s smash-mouth football. That’s bullying the opponent.
That’s beating them down until they quit.
They did it without flash.
They did it in Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, and Papa Bear Halas fashion.
Aaron Rodgers completed the short passes that the defense gave them. Eddie Lacy and James Starks pounded out tough yards.
They converted third and short into first downs.
They were 13 of 18 on third down conversions. If they failed to gain the first down on third down, no matter, they just went for it on fourth down. They were 2 of 2 on fourth down conversions. Or, they simply had Mason Crosby boot a field goal. They were truly unstoppable last night.
The Packers relied on simple inside zone runs. Occasionally, they ran a pitch out, but the majority of their rushing yards came inside against some really tough sledding.
They lined up in a simple formation. A single running back was behind Aaron Rodgers.
They were basically saying, “Here we come. Try to stop us.”
The Vikings couldn’t.
They knew Lacy or Starks were going to get the ball. They combined for 36 carries and gained a well-earned combined 151 yards.
When they needed extra help up front, no problem.
They brought in Marshall Newhouse as an extra tackle. Six offensive linemen up front bulldozing paths for the running backs.
Working class offense indeed.
In contrast, the Vikings ran 43 plays and gained 243 yards. They only had 15 first downs.
It’s as if they never had a chance.
They never had the ball and didn’t have any time on the clock to move it.
Once the Packers’ injured receivers return to health, they will undoubtedly open up the offense and let Aaron Rodgers have some more fun in the playground.
In the meantime, they don’t have to.
They are building a power football identity and are beating opponents into submission.
Hopefully, they don’t forget this identity down the stretch.
If history is any indication, flashy offenses fail to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
But, the working class offenses do. And, the Packers certainly are working class heroes at the moment.
Statistics courtesy espn.com.