Top Packer Moments of 2014
While the Packers' season is still in full-swing as they head to the playoffs, the year 2014 has come to a close. So I'd be remiss not to regale you with some sort of countdown list before officially flipping the calendar.
So what kind of things are eligible to make this list? It's easy - anything that the front office, team or an individual player has done this year that has impacted the organization as a whole (good or bad).
I'm sure some things immediately come to mind. After I'd compiled my list, I polled my Facebook friends - this is what I got from them. Thanks to all who weighed in!
Even a Bears fan weighed in!
So without further ado, here is my Top 5 Moments of 2014 for the Green Bay Packers (plus a couple Honorable Mentions).
Honorable Mention #1: Training Camp
In July, my dad and I were able to make it up to Green Bay for training camp. Believe it or not, it had been 15 YEARS since I'd last been there! To make sure I documented our trip, I brought a fancy camera to shoot some photos. You can see some of them here! Now I just hope it's not another 15 years until I get back...
Honorable Mention #2: Last Second Win Against The Miami Dolphins
The last-second touchdown pass from Rodgers to Andrew Quarless in Week 6 needs to be brought up as well. For some reason, I think it's turned into a "where were you when...?" moments for me. My wife and I were due at a cousin's wedding, but I couldn't stop watching! And the fake spike in Dan Marino's house?! Get outta here! Here's one fan's view of the play. (Caution: He goes completely insane.)
#5: Signing Julius Peppers
Signing Julius Peppers in free-agency this past off-season was a solid move by Ted Thompson and the front office. Upon the signing, I had many Bears fans telling me they were glad to be rid of Peppers, and laughed at the Packers' 'stupidity' on bringing him in. Looking back at his stats, Peppers played all 16 games and set career marks in passes defensed (11), touchdowns (2) and fumble recoveries (3), and he also tied his personal best in interceptions (2). He also sacked opposing quarterbacks seven times, tying his total from 2013 with the Bears. Given his move from defensive end to linebacker, this is an impressive mark, as well as a fantastic complement to Clay Matthew and his 11 sacks this season.
(Note: Jared Allen replaced Peppers in Chicago and only tallied 5.5 sacks and no interceptions over 15 games.)
#4: Rodgers Six Touchdown Performance In The First Half
Coming out of the bye week, the utter dominance of the Bears in Week 10 just had to be on this list. I chose to go with the game as a whole because there were just so many amazing and satisfying moments within it - the six, first half touchdowns by Rodgers, the "blocked" punt by Jarrett Boykin, Peppers' sack-strip-recovery on Jay Cutler - the list goes on! Here are all of those highlights plus more!
#3: Packers Stun Patriots In Lambeau
The back-to-back, late-game, defensive heroics by Mike Daniels, Mike Neal and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix against the Patriots in Week 13 solidified the Packers as legitimate contenders in the NFL in the 2014 season. After losses earlier in the season to Seattle and New Orleans, another loss to the Patriots would potentially mark the Packers as unable to beat the elite teams.
With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the Patriots at the Packers 20-yard line, Clinton-Dixmade a diving play to break up a Rob Gronkowski touchdown reception in the end zone. On the next play, Daniels and Neal combined to sack Tom Brady for a 13-yard loss, which resulted in a missed, Patriots field goal on the next play.
Jordy Nelson's touchdown reception with less than a minute to go in the first half was another huge momentum play in this game as well. See this video for a view of that play from the Lambeau stands.
#2 Rodgers Spells Relax
After the Packers' Week 3 loss at Detroit, Aaron Rodgers' "R-E-L-A-X" interview set the theme for the rest of the season. “Five letters here, just for everybody out there in Packer land,” Rodgers said. “R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We’re going to be OK.”
Not only did the team adhere to their quarterback's words and proceed to finish the season 11-2 including 8-0 at Lambeau, but the quote spread like wildfire through the Green Bay fan base as well as the national media. You can count on continuing to hear it until the Packers win the Super Bowl - because they're not gonna lose, right?
#1: Rodgers Overcomes Calf Injury To Win The North
It looks like this year's most memorable moment occurred just this week! For anyone who attended or watched Sunday's Week 17 game against Detroit, you will forever be able to tell your children and children's children about Aaron Rodgers' heroic comeback in "The Calf Game" to win the 2014 NFC North Division crown.
After crumpling to a heap in the first half and clutching his leg, Rodgers emerged from the locker room tunnel in the third quarter to lead the Pack to a 30-20 victory over the visiting Lions. He finished with a stat line of 226 yards and two touchdowns through the air as well as a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the team up by two scores.
Tossing away another the playoff loss to San Francisco back in January, 2014 was a pretty good year for the Packers. Let's hope they can start off 2015 with a deep playoff run and another Lombardi Trophy!