In 1997, the Green Bay
Packers and New England Patriots came together for a Super Bowl in New
Orleans. In 2007, the Pack finished a couple plays short of joining the
NE Pats in the NFL
title game once again. This playoff season, a Packers-Patriots finale
could very well happen; and it's becoming a trendy pick to actually
forecast this scenario.
As the NFL becomes more and more pass-happy, and more teams adopt the
3-4 defense to defend all that passing, GB and NE are two teams that
end up looking more similar. When you take a closer look, you'll see
it's not just the teams, but the franchises themselves who share
And it goes well beyond sharing the first two letters in their name.
Brash Young Superstar QB with hot Celebrity Babe
Both starting QBs are without a doubt the current face of their
franchises. This is often, but not always the case in the NFL. And both
upgraded (well, that's a subjective statement) their celebrity
Similar Upper Management
In both organizations, players are expected to get with the program,
and place the team well above the individual. Although that sounds
cliche within some places in the NFL, here it rings a bit more true.
Study how both teams have handled personnel turnover and managing the
roster under the salary cap, and you'll see that trite publicly stated
aphorisms actually do dictate policy.
Both teams like to build through draft. GM Ted Thompson is notorious
for it, and he's probably the biggest "value GM" of any in the league.
And the Pats love adding draft picks. It's become a joke every April-
predicting when they'll trade down to get extra picks. Come draft time,
both front offices are interesting to watch.
Pass First, and Second, then Run Third
don't miss a beat. Same with Aaron Rodgers succeeding Brett Favre. Both
teams primarily rely on the pass and spreading it out to the multitude
of weapons in the passing games (9 different Packers with TD catches, 8
for the Pats).
Interchangeable RBs, WRs
The rushing game in Green Bay has been focused on Ryan Grant the past
couple years, but he got hurt early in the season and the Pack went with the committee approach
of Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn. Now rookie James Starks is stepping
into the main role after being on PUP list first part of season. The
Pats have had a non-featured back approach the past couple of years.
Former Minnesota Golden Gopher Laurence Maroney ended up being a bust,
and Fred Taylor is just plain old these days. The always reliable Kevin
Faulk complements the tandem of Law Firm/Boston Legal (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) and Danny Woodhead.
Winning Despite Defensive Defection
Both these 3-4 schemes have lost some key components these past couple years. In Foxboro, it was partially by choice, in upper Wisconsin
not so much. Green Bay has suffered a ridiculous amount of injuries on
the defensive side of the ball, yet are still among the best in the
league in scoring defense. New England has seen all three units within
their d COMPLETELY re-vamped in just two years. This team has minimal
starters left over from the '07 perfect team. Yet they keep out-scoring
Franchise and Fan Identity
Both cold weather teams have INSANE fans who revel in their
allegiance to their frozen Utopias. Coincidentally, both these rural
meccas are located in the middle of absolutely nowhere (a rarity among
NFL stadiums). Both teams have hosted and triumphed in legendary cold
weather moments that added to the folk lore which fans embrace. The Pats
won "The Snow Bowl" in 2001 and "The Snow Plow Game" in 1982. Both
games featured iconic moments that you've seen incessantly on NFL Films.
Likewise for the 1967 the Ice Bowl, won by the Pack in Lambeau. Even
their fans' nicknames are similar sounding and named for the region's
food. Chowderheads vs. Cheeseheads.
Title Town meets The Patriot Way
Very few franchise can claim a dynasty. The Pack can actually claim
three, while the Pats were the unquestioned team of the 2000s. Green Bay
has a record 12 NFL championships, winning three in row twice (1929-31,
1965-7) and another three in a different five year span (1936, 1939,
1944). The Pats made a similar run in a similar span. They hoisted the
trophy named after the Green Bay legend in 2001, '03 and '04.
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com
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