After the 45-31 loss Saturday to the San Francisco 49er’s, I came to the realization that what I was watching was the end of an era in Green Bay Packers football from the Super Bowl winning team in the 2010.
The way the NFL works now in the salary capped free agency era and the way players change teams, you have a 2-4 year window to win the Super Bowl before players either retire, sign bigger contacts or their skill diminishes below a useful capacity and are released. Also other teams start to figure out how these players skills which reduces their impact. After the 2-4 years have passed with no Super Bowl, the team can no long win the Super Bowl without an overhaul on the team. Since the early 90’s, this is how the NFL works.
I would like to to cite the example of the 1996 Green Bay Packers who won Super Bowl Super Bowl XXXI. During the lead up to the Super Bowl winning season the Packers were able to acquire or draft many key players in forming a championship winning team. But after the 1996 season the pieces to the puzzle started to go missing:
- Keith Jackson retired
- Edger Bennett got hurt in the 1997 preseason and never played for the Packers again
- Andre Rison bolted for Kansas City
- Desmond Howard bolted for Oakland, did return to Green Bay a couple of years later, but it was too late
- Chris Jacke bolted for Pittsburgh, got hurt, then signed for Washington
- Reggie White was plagued with injuries in the coming seasons and left Green Bay after the 1998 season.
- Sean Jones final game was in the 1996 season
- Eugene Robinson bolted for Atlanta after the 1997 season.
- Coach Mike Holmgren left after the 1998 season for Seattle
- OC Sherman Lewis left after the 1999 season
- Andy Reid left after the 1998 season
All these key people left mainly after the Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos or the following season and until a whole new system was implemented, the Packers did win, but could not go all the way to the Super Bowl. Once all the players from the 1996 team era had left, we were able to succeed. Another example of this you are currently seeing this with is the Pittsburgh Steelers who last won the Super Bowl in 2008 and have now surpassed the 4 year window. They finished the last season 8-8.
Based on what I saw Saturday, this is it for Green Bay, major changes need to be made on Offense and Defense to turn over to another era. We are in need of:
In addition to these changes, some defensive changes are needed after watching how we planned for Kaepernick. I even knew that this guy could run the ball going back to his college days, but we had nobody marking him all night. When this occurs, it is time for a change, not once we hit a 4-12 season, but now while we still have time.
All in all, it will be interesting how this off season will go for the Packers and what changes are made (or not made) and if the Packers are able to continue this streak of success, but I fear that last night was the end of an era and now we begin the slow decline to our final destination …. Failure.