When the Green Bay Packers take to Solider Field this afternoon in Chicago, Cheeseheads across the country must remember this one thing.
The Green Bay Packers have no business playing in the NFC Championship game today.
Zip. Zero. Zilch.
Had you asked me back in August whether or not I thought the Packers would win the Super Bowl, I would have said no. After watching Shawn Slocum run the special teams portion of practice during training camp and seeing Sam Shields run around the field lost - not sure whether he was supposed to be on the field or not - I knew this was not a Super Bowl team.
Super Bowl champions have great special teams, like the 1996 Packers. Slocum's drill was a circus.
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In my mind, the 2010 Packers had the ability to win the division and reach the NFC Championship, though that inkling was absurd since the Packers had not won a playoff game or the NFC North since 2007.
Then came the injuries.
Ryan Grant. Jermichael Finley. Nick Barnett. Justin Harrell. Brandon Chillar. Brad Jones. Morgan Burnett. Mark Tauscher. Brady Poppinga.
The Packers have 15 players on injured reserve heading into their third meeting with the Bears, including seven opening-day starters.
With every injury, with every lost starter and with every proclamation of "Who the heck is that?", my expectations dwindled. Losses to Chicago, Washington, Miami and eventually the 7-3 loss to the Detroit Lions on Dec. 19 confirmed my worst fears that the 2010 season was a loss.
I suggested the Packers should shelve the concussed Aaron Rodgers following the Lions debacle since the season was over. Yet here the Green and Gold sit in the NFC Championship.
This is freaking crazy people, especially considering the Packers should have lost to the Atlanta Falcons last week.
All the signs were present in the Georgia Dome that once again, this was not the Packers' year. First came the Greg Jennings fumble. Then Slocum's special teams unit allowed the longest scoring play in playoff history.
This was not the Packers' day, until Tramon Williams slammed a Red Bull and grew some wings - making a leaping interception he had no business making and figuring out what he was supposed to be doing on the field at the exact split second Matt Ryan threw the ball.
If Williams jumps 9.5 feet instead of 10, the Falcons go up 21-14 at halftime. If Williams is unable to figure out where he is supposed to be on the field in 10 seconds instead of 9.9 seconds, Atlanta is up anywhere from 10 to 14 points going into the locker room.
Instead, it was 28-14 Green Bay, and Packers' ball to start the second half.
I used to think this was the year of the Chicago Bears. Luck was sure on their side after facing three third-string quarterbacks from Minnesota, Detroit and Miami.
The fact is, fate seems to be on the Green Bay Packers' side. How is it? I really have no clue. Fate has no business wearing green and gold today.
Fate was on the Packers' side in 2003 and 2007, but both times someone decided to make throws that will forever leave people scratching their heads.
So instead of proclaiming the greatness of Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers today for doing so much with so little, I'm getting behind a trio of starters who have no business being in the NFL right now - running back James Starks, nose tackle Howard Green and linebacker Erik Walden.
Whatever happens from here on out is gravy for this lifelong follower of the Green Bay Packers, because in reality, they have no business being here today.
Zip. Zero. Zilch.
Matt Wellens is sports editor of the Mining Journal. He can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.