December 2, 2023

Season over in an instant

This archived article was written by: Tai Jusice

It was Week six in the NFL. The Packers were coming off an amazing win in Dallas the week before. I woke up about 30 minutes before kickoff, settled in and got ready to watch one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to do what he does. Then the second possession of the game, Rodgers rolled out, like he has a million times, let the ball go and got driven into the ground. Rodgers was a little slow to get up, but walked off the field and I didn’t think anything of it. The game went to a commercial then came back on and Rodgers was getting carted off the field; my heart sank. They showed the replay, approximately every five seconds, and I kept hoping that it was just his elbow, even though deep down I knew it was not.
I kept swearing at Troy Aikman, who apparently got a $1,000 bonus every time he mentioned Rodgers injury, only I could not mute the TV because of the one percent chance that Joe Buck would eventually say, “And here comes Aaron Rodgers out of the tunnel!” Halftime came, and I was refreshing Twitter every three seconds until an update on Rodgers showed up. Then it finally popped up, Aaron Rodgers, broken collarbone, he could miss the rest of the season.
By the second half, when it was apparent Rodgers wasn’t returning, I zipped through the last six stages of grief. Then the Packers lost the game, momentarily distracting me, because let’s face it, the Packers needed to somehow find a way to win that game. Because if they would have been 5-1 they possibly could have had enough wins already to save the season.
By midafternoon of that day, the Packers were 4-2. I started trying to talk myself into Brett Hundley winning a few games and then Rodgers coming back late in the season with a shot at the playoffs still alive. I was grasping for anything at this point. I could not even watch football the rest of the day because it seemed to be all that any announcer of any game was talking about. I cannot blame them, either. Rodgers’ injury changed the entire landscape in the NFL for this season. The Eagles became the new favorites in the NFC, and the Vikings became the new favorites to win the NFC North.
What a surreal feeling it is when your season gets assassinated by an injury. By nightfall, I had talked myself out Brett Hundley and talked myself into the NFL being a completely arbitrary sport. The players are so big and so fast, major injuries seem to be happening more frequently, and you are always one play away from having the likes of Anthony Barr (or Shea Mcclellin in 2013) randomly end your season because he drove your quarterback into the ground when the ball was already out. He didn’t need to drive him into the ground, it was an unnecessary hit, but there’s a million of those in the NFL. It happens. The NFL is by far cruelest of the four-major sports. You never know when the rug will get pulled out from under you and your season will be in the hands of the likes of Brett Hundley.
Anyway, I must have been in denial for most of Sunday because I even had the “I wonder if we can talk Tony Romo out of retirement” and the “We have to give Colin Kaepernick a look.” thoughts. An injury that more than likely ends your season goes to show you what a shame a season like last year, or 2014 is. You are right there to win it all and you cannot get it done. When you have opportunities like that in the NFL, you need to take advantage. You never know when your season can flip in an instant. One late hit, one awkward landing and your season is can be finished. The Packers have blown so many chances to win another Super Bowl and now this is another wasted season. Sigh.
The most frustrating thing is that this felt like this was the year. The Packers were rolling with Rodgers and were viewed, by most, as the team to beat in the NFC. Instead? Season probably over. Sports are cruel.

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