It’s only Tuesday, and already the spin machine is churning in anticipation of next Monday night’s meeting between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings at the MetroBarn.
Of course, Vikings’ coach Brad Childress’ latest comments are the lamest from either side, telling reporters the team’s Winter Park facility “won’t be vibrating” this week and downplaying the significance of Brett Favre – a hero to many in Wisconsin – playing against his former team Monday night for the first time since he “retired” following the 2007-08 season.
“We’ll probably talk about it,” he said. “We’ll just see how it builds. They don’t live in a vacuum. But they’ll be more interested coming in here about seeing the tape from [Sunday’s victory over San Francisco].”
Right, Chilly. You keep telling yourself that and maybe it will seem plausible.
Meanwhile, Packers coach Mike McCarthy makes no qualms about wanting to beat Favre and the Vikings, but largely dodges questions about the QB controversy before the start of last season and later says playing Favre is “going to be a lot of fun.” In fact, he says that a lot.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun when the game starts, personally,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun because it’s going to be a very competitive football game. It was definitely that type of game when he was on this side, so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Really, Mike? It’s going to be a lot of what? Oh, right. Fun. Got it.
Both coaches are (at least in front of the media) trying to keep this game about football, but they should know that’s next to impossible. And they need to realize that before Monday night.
Every player on both teams is going to be CRAZY hyped up. And they should be, since a lot is on the line. Former Packers’ All-Pro safety LeRoy Butler perhaps said it best in an interview with the Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein:
“Stress to them that it’s going to be a playoff atmosphere. It will be the first taste for some of the young guys of a playoff atmosphere. You have media coverage, Monday night, they’re 3-0, the Packers are 2-1. If the Packers win they’re tied for first. If they lose they’re 2-2 and tied for second or third. This gives them an opportunity to get tied for first. The veterans have to talk to the young guys and say, ‘Look, this is a playoff atmosphere. You’ll see a media circus like you’ve never seen before. We need your best game. Now the big boys start playing.’ It’s the end of the first quarter. Each quarter is four games. You have to end the first quarter on a good note. If you want to be an elite team, 2-2 is unacceptable. This is a must-win game to stay on pace with the Minnesota Vikings. Part of football is playing like that. The cliché of “if we lose,” well, guess what? Don’t lose. You have to put everything into this game so people know that after the Cincinnati debacle, we need to steal a game and this is the game we’re going to steal. Losing one at home, you have to steal one on the road. This one means a lot more not just because of Brett Favre, but because you want to be in first place. Trying to catch a 4-0 team when you’re 2-2, there’s no room for error. Now is the time for this team to show what it did in the preseason. Let’s put it together, go up there with that right frame of mind and be prepared.”
LeRoy is right. A win in Minneapolis would be HUGE for the Packers right now – not only in the race for the division but for appearance’s sake. This is a team that was largely overhyped during the preseason, barely beat the Bears at home in the season opener and then suffered an embarrassing loss to Cincinnati at Lambeau Field. Stealing a win from the first place Vikings on their home turf would do a lot more for this team than their largely expected win over the lowly Rams this past weekend.
I’m sure more crap will be spewed as this war of words continues to build. Let’s hope Chilly & Co. (Mr. Favre, perhaps?) says something really stupid to piss the Packers off more than Favre’s unretirement shenanigans already have.