Invincibility cannot be fully explained.
Sure, a lot of it has to do with confidence, but it’s more than that. Mere confidence can’t execute. Invincibility is staring down the barrel of immortality and knowing that you’ve got this.
That’s really the only way to describe the improbable, incredible, inconceivable seven-week long thrill ride the Packers have been taking their fans on over the last two months.
And while history can only be our guide for a finite number of societal events, the 2016 Packers season is feeling a lot like their 2010 campaign that ended in a Super Bowl XLV championship.
There are some empirical similarities. Certainly there are a number of injuries each team had to overcome. Each team had a 10-6 regular season record. The head coach and quarterback are the same, just six years older. Both teams had to win late season games to overcome holes that they put themselves into.
Oh, sure, there are some coincidences such as the state of the ultimate destination. Super Bowl XLV was played in a retractable roof stadium in Texas, just as this year’s will be. Dallas and Houston may almost as far apart distance-wise as Milwaukee and Indianapolis, but certainly it’s a stretch to draw any correlation between one Super Bowl site to another.
And yes, there are some stark differences, mainly the nearly completely overturned roster (save for a few key players) and the cities visited during their path through the playoffs. But something is brewing in Titletown that feels like a team ready to win a championship.
When Aaron Rodgers quarterbacked the Packers to their Super Bowl XLV championship, he was a more wide-eyed 27-year old who had only been a starting quarterback in the NFL for three seasons.
Six years and two NFL MVP Awards later, and Aaron Rodgers suddenly has become not only the longest tenured player on the Packers roster, but also an elder statesman “face of” the NFL. But moreover than Rodgers’ status has been the roll he has been.
In the Packers last seven games, all wins, Rodgers has thrown for 19 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
In 2010, in Rodgers’ final seven games played (he had to miss nearly two full games with a concussion suffered in their Dec. 12 game at Detroit) he threw 17 touchdowns against just three interceptions.
As the Packers wound down their 2010 season, as Rodgers play elevated, so did everyone else’s around him. As the Packers went on the six-game winning streak needed to win their thirteenth NFL championship, they carried that “it” factor. An indefinable swagger that transcends mere confidence.
After the Packers won at Philadelphia in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, they rode that wave to Atlanta and demoralized the top-seeded Falcons. As the Georgia Dome emptied with more than a quarter left to play, the NFL might as well have awarded the Packers the Lombardi Trophy right then, for the league’s championship was sealed; not with the formality of wins but instead with the invincibility of a team that knew they were destined.
The Packers have that same aura today.
After getting off to a horrid start to Sunday’s Wild Card round game against the Giants, there was no panic that set in.
Why would there be panic when you’ve got invincibility on your side?
The final score was a rout, 38-13; the most points New York had given up all season long.
This week, the Packers head to AT&T Stadium to play the top-seeded Cowboys. Las Vegas has installed Dallas as an early four-point favorite.
They’ll play it out on the field on Sunday, of course, but I’d put my chips in the middle of the table to say that the Packers won’t taste defeat until an August preseason game.
Invincibility dictates it, after all.