Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This One Hurts

I’m not sure what was more depressing about Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay. Was it that with 3 picks and a game-ending injury that Rodgers suddenly looked fragile, or was it the highlights of Favre in a throwback uniform going for 6 touchdowns in New York?

The answer, I think, is neither. This loss rests on the hairy shoulders of the offensive line. With Scott Wells back and Ryan Grant supposedly healthy, Sunday was supposed to be our breakout running game. Instead, Tampa’s D broke broke though our protection like a squirrel-crazed Rottweiler does a plywood fence. In the end, Grant was held to 20 yards on 15 carries and Rodgers looked like he was playing one-on-five. What’s worse, we let the 35-year old Derrick Brooks act as though he was trying out for the next Spider-Man movie. It was painful to watch.

If we can’t shore up the O-line, we’re going to find out how good Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm are because Rodgers is going to get annihilated back there. Here's to getting our crap together...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Programming Update

If you are sitting in front of your T.V. looking for something to watch because your V.C.R. has finally died and all of your Packer game tapes are mocking your inability to view them, then I've got a show for you. My constant channel surfing this morning has landed me a gem on the N.F.L. network. It's a recurring program called America's Game that highlights past Super Bowl winners.

Well, it used to. This episode was called Missing Rings: The 1969 Minnesota Vikings. The program description says, "One of the greatest teams in the NFL to have never won a Super Bowl." Once I stopped chuckling, I ran to computer to update the Packer Ranter readers, so they could tune into this non-stop laugh fest.

I eventually got over the crippling laughter that had overtaken me, and began to think about this T.V. program. Didn't there used to be a time when we only celebrated success? Why are we glorifying medicority? The answer lies with the Vikings themselves. When you have nothing to cheer for or brag about, you begin to embrace things as successes that other teams would view as failures. Much like their season this year, "We have the best running back, we have the best D-line...." Well, you are still 1-2 and soon to be 1-3.

The Vikings: Celebrating Mediocrity Since 1961

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Cribbage Story

Four years ago I was poised to faced off against my heated cribbage rival, a lanky Pole named Gwidon. It was Anduzzi’s 3rd annual Peg ‘n Keg tournament, which Gwidon and I had split the first two years. At stake was $300, a case of Klements and a hell of a lot of pride.

At the pre-tourney potluck it was announced that the organizer had misplaced (forgotten) the board, and unless someone had one, the tournament would be canceled. Lucky for them, I had my pocket Packer crib board, well, in my pocket. The board itself is about the size of a dollar bill and is known among my friends as the losers’ table board at tournaments held in my basement. (There’s nothing more pathetic than watching grown men try and peg on something the size of a Post-it…losers’ table indeed.)

Being it was the only board available, it was dubbed official and I was given a first-round bye and a handful of drink tickets – I was quite happy. Not much comes to mind after that. My cribbage handlers tell me went through many Jagerbombs and was kicked out in the 3rd round for making threats of violence against Gwidon and his unkept child, Adalbert. According to the Press Gazette, Gwidon had lost in the finals to a newcomer. That was good to hear. According to my handlers, I made out with a chick named Krystal. That was also good to hear. If you are out there Krystal, email me and I'll take you to the Lions game.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week 3 BASTOW - is wrestled out of me

I wrestled with my generous and giving half all day Monday and today, debating whether or not anyone other than Charles Woodson or Cullen Jenkins deserved any sort of recognition for excellence against Dallas. I put that half in a headlock and tried to smash an empty bottle over its head, but I realized that Silver Wolf Vodka only comes in plastic bottles. Following this living room destroying cage match, I was still fairly certain that no one deserved recogntion, but then I realized that there were a number of bad-ass special teams plays during Sunday night's game. No Packer player made them on his own, but it was a group display of bad-assness.

With Derrick Frost managing only 3.66 seconds of hangtime per punt on Sunday, the punt coverage unit was able to limit Pacman Jones to a 4.3 yard average per return. This is pretty remarkable and earned the punt coverage unit the BASTOW for week 3. In a game with few bright spots for the Packers, the "Punt Grunts" did a great job of ensuring things didn't get uglier.

Back to Frosty Tips, if you hadn't actually seen Frost kick the ball you would have thought he just wound up and threw it right to the returner. Great spiral, on a rope. Unfortunately, this is not what you look for in a punt. Please, Mr. Frost, let's warm it up a little before you kick next time, I don't want to have to give out any more BASTOWs for these kinds of plays. I want bone-crushing, helmet-melting, jersey-ripping plays to get the BASTOW, as do the readers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Moving on then...

Things are not good today. Beer bottles, jerky bits and general cluttered depression surround me. I literally have not moved from the recliner since Franklin left sometime last night. This is why I take Mondays off. Whether it's celebrating a win with an afternoon kegger or painfully replaying a non-win in solitude, I always need one more day after a Packer game to recover. If I were delivering today, the general idiocy that surrounds the pizza business in Green Bay would likely push me over the edge.

And as if things couldn't get worse than losing to Dallas at home, Franklin left this message about 10 minutes ago. "Robby, I know it's Monday Mourning but the word is Al Harris has a ruptured spleen and is out the rest of the year." The good news is that I was actually able to take things in stride. And by "stride" I mean my lifeless stare into the void. And by "void" I mean my gila monster, Rick.

Here's to hoping Tuesday brings better news for the Green & Gold.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

T-minus 2 hours 38 minutes....

I have a very hard time with late games, an even harder time with Sunday night games, and I go absolutely crazy when the Packers play on Monday nights. To keep my mind off things, I decided to check in and see if any Packer Ranter fans have left any comments. NO?!?! NO!?!?!? It is your duty to get yourself heard. Ranting is good for the soul!

I guess I will go back to pacing my hallway...I have worn a trail in the hardwood floor that will be hard to explain to my landlord.

This game shouldn't be as close as the so-called experts predict, Dallas has never won at Lambeau and there is no reason to see why that should change tonight. Plus, tonight John Madden begins a new love affair.....with Aaron Rodgers.
Packers 37
Dallas 17

Friday, September 19, 2008

You can't buy rings!

After what seemed like a decade and a half of traveling down to Texas to play the law-breaking, me-first Dallas Cowboys, they finally have to play us at Lambeau. What do they bring? Celebrity girlfriends, HBO cameras and the poster boy for what is wrong with sports, Terrel Owens. They bring talent. Tons of it. Every good player who gets booted off a team for breaking the law resurfaces in Dallas. (Think Jerry Jones' 1.3 billion dollar stadium had any influence on Pacman getting re-instated?) They bring the labels, "best team in the NFC" and the most disputed label of all, "America's Team". The Cowboys consistently build the best team on paper. Why is it that they also bring zero playoff wins in the last ten years? Zero.

You can't buy rings!

The Packer organization has a different philosophy and a few more playoff wins to back it up. We draft players that want to play football...for a team. We don't spend any money on players who have been suspended or players that are more interested in "Me Selling, Me". The Packers are built with players that are hungry to play football for the right reasons. We do not have the brighter lights, or the bigger celebrities, but we have the better TEAM. I look forward to watching the long faces and temper tantrums on the sideline of "America's Team", it'll be great drama for HBO. The drama I'm looking for will be at 10:25 on WFRV.
Packers 34
Cowboys 28

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Week 2 BASTOW

Week 2's BASTOW was originally going to go to longsnapper Brett Goode. When he fired that snap through Derrick Frost's hands I thought he put some serious zing on it. I mean how does a punter not catch that? It must be going about 150 miles an hour to go through his hands because that's his one job, right? Turns out, no. Frost had no reason why he didn't catch it, "Just went through my hands." So, sorry Brett Goode, you don't get the BASTOW.

The BASTOW this week goes to Mason "Braveleg" Crosby for putting the Packers ahead with a 4th quarter field goal, a lead we would not relinquish (it shouldn't have come to this, but oh well). Mr. Crosby has icewater in his veins, and it showed. I must confess, the award this week is twofold for Crosby, or should I call him Mason Quasimoto? I would like to congratulate you, Mason, for having the best fantasy football commercial I've ever seen. A kicker having a football commercial? Braveleg Quasimoto, indeed. Plus, he loves bingo at the VFW, and who doesn't?

Tracy White Fact of the Day: Tracy White chose the number 59 because it was the number of special teams touchdowns he had in college....in his first two games. True.

Come play with us Terrell

If you’ve checked out my profile, you know that The Shining is one of my all time favorite flicks. It’s the kind of movie that sucks the sanity right out and absorbs you into a world of crazy, where everything is like 24/7 drunk on bizarro juice (Tylenol PM taken with Red Bull has a similar effect).

Reminds me of T.O. actually. The guy who has suddenly been embraced like he was the world champion bratwurst of teammates. I’m sorry, did you watch the Cowboys/Eagles game? Owens was a roller coaster of emotion – electroshocked with jubilation after he scored and then on the verge of giving up all hope in life as the Eagles countered. That is not a role model, that’s a founding member of the Insane Clown Posse.

What I’m getting at is this: destroy him emotionally and victory will be ours. It’s on the secondary this week to smash him up, and bang around those marbles in his head like a pinball machine. And who better to light him up than two of our biggest gamers, Atari “Just Press Play” Bigby and Nick "The Quick" Collins, aka the Twin Tornadoes. World of crazy…welcome to a world of hurt.

Packers 31, Cowboys 20

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bad-Ass Special Teamer of the Week (The BASTOW)

Robert inspired me to create a weekly award of my own, I shall call it the Bad-Ass Special Teamer of the Week Award. You may think I wouldn't know B.A. when I see it, but when you have my meager stature you learn to pick B.A.-ness out of a crowd to protect yourself. You also develop shiftiness that is unrivaled by larger individuals. I once won a bet by wearing an Antonio Freeman jersey for 8 hours in one of the seedier areas of Detroit. I managed to avoid all gun and stab wounds, not to mention any blunt force trauma. Those Lions fans are as good at tackling as their team is.

The BASTOW this week goes to Jason Hunter #57. The play of the game may have been Blackmon's 57 yard return, but it wouldn't have happened if not for Hunter absolutely planting Chad Greenway in the Lambeau turf. Hunter made the final block needed to break Blackmon, and did it with authority and enough smarts not to hit Greenway in the back. I posted the picture above not because of Blackmon, but because of the Viking on his knees in the background. You know who that is? Yep, Chad Greenway. Congratulations, Jason Hunter, you get the inaugural BASTOW.

Tracy White Fact of the Day: Tracy White congratulated Jason Hunter on his award, but White privately vowed he will win every BASTOW for the rest of the year. True.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Packers 24, Vikings 19. BOOM!

Great win! Despite a few lapses, the Pack stayed strong and forced their superior talent and wills upon the Vikes. Very entertaining game.

The Horseapple Awards
Brad Childress/Major Dad – The Big Oaf Award. As in, you're now a big 0-for-5 against the Packers. Good luck with that Tuesday brunch meeting with Zygi. Wear the purple polo – it gives off a “I’ve had a miserable childhood as well” sympathetic vibe.

Jared Allen & Pat Williams – The Dog Breath Award. All that preseason hot air and only 4 tackles between the two of you…Allen with a big fat zero! Ha! Kudos to our O-line.

Darren Sharper – The Borrowed Time Award. Were you even mentioned? Perhaps you really are getting too old for this game. Sleep it off in your hyperbaric alien chamber bed for rich old people. Wait, did you take your back pill? There you go.

To Garrett Mills – The ‘Who Dat?’ Award. Congratulations! With 3 catches for 49 yards, G-Mills represents the Vikings best receiving threat so far this year. I wish you and the offense continued success.

Aaron Rodgers – you’re really doing it this time! Next victim…Detroit. It’s going to be a good year.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Packer Ranter Tailgating Tips

To kick off the season, Franklin and I have put together our top 5 tips to help everyone's Lambeau tailgating adventures reach their full potential. We have a combined 50 years experience at over 350 Packer games, so you know our advice is a good as the gold medal winner at this year’s WCMA contest.

Franklin suggests Tunes. Or some kind of audio system. Be it the sweet system in your customized minivan or a boombox with only a cassette option, some kind of music is essential. You’ll need plenty of AC/DC and two musts are Robert Brooks' Jump in the Stands as well as the Packerena.

Robert suggests a Football. No matter what Packer you’re trying to emulate, whipping a pigskin can really bring out the best in a parking lot party. Because there’s cars, bottles, burning grills, drunkards (perhaps you’re one of them), and a million other obstacles, it requires both skill and general knuckleheadedness. Nothing will provide the same levels of exhirliration, comradery and manhood you’re looking for quite like throwing the football.

Franklin suggests Beef Jerky. You need something to gnaw on while sitting in traffic. Enough said.

Robert suggests the 20% Rule. Whenever you think you’ve finished packing all your food and booze, add another 20%. Here’s why. You never know when you’ll meet some cool fans you’d be willing to share some Leinies and curds with, or maybe a couple of hot chicks up from Madison really dig your style and want to party. Plus, that leftover braunschweiger and kraut after the game can make that Packer win taste even more satisfying.

Franklin suggests Beer from Wisconsin. Get a wide variety of choices, all the way from Miller down to Lake Mills’ Tyranena, Pabst, Old Milwaukee, Milwaukee's Best, Point, and New Glarus. Having any sort of imported beer (in this case, "imported" refers to beer brewed outside of WI state lines) is an insult and should draw derision and scorn from your fellow Packer fans. It may even prove you are a closet Viking fan, you poser. LEAVE THE PARKING LOT AND TAKE YOUR GRAIN BELT WITH YOU!

Happy Tailgaiting! Share your Lambeau experiences by emailing us at PackerRanter@yahoo.com. We'll post the best stories in the near future. GO PACK!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Careful, Careful

Some things never change. I know, I know. Brett is gone, we have a couple O-line "starters" out, and the Vikings are slotted to play in the Super Bowl. I know already. We are young and inexperienced. Are you done yet?

Here at Packer Ranter, we know Uncle Ted and the boys have been there before.We have won, and expect to win. A lot of noise has come out of the Twin Cities the past couple weeks. This is a Packer Blog, so I'm not talking about the Republican National Convention. (By the way, eBay was soooo 2006.) I'm talking about letting your mouth do the talking rather than your play in the field.

We don't need any bulletin board material here in the great State of Wisconsin – this is just another game on the schedule. We haven't waited the entire offseason to play this single game against a division foe – we have waited this entire season to begin our quest for a Super Bowl Title. Chilly and the Big Talkers should take a little time off from obsessing about the Packers and learn a little something about being a professional.

Speak softly and carry a big stick. You will go far.

Packers 24
Vikings 17

Let the new era begin and expect more of the same out of Green Bay.

You wouldn’t like me when I'm this excited

My biceps are slightly overworked for the moment (yes, even I get sore sometimes). About fifty times a day now, I come to the realization that the first Vikings beatdown (and Packers win) is only four days away. That’s when something triggers inside me and I can’t help but start mad flexing like I’m turning into the Incredible Hulk. It's very intense.

The thought of Nick Barnett blazing untouched through that overrated Vikings O-line and crushing Tarvaris Jackson head-on to the turf makes me want throw up warrior rage.

And my thoughtbox keeps showing me this screenshot of Darren Sharper following a Greg Jennings' fire trail to the end zone and then looking up as the scoreboard tacks another 6 to Green Bay's lead. I’m suddenly a Tazmanian Devil dropped into a chicken coupe.

I can help but be reminded of a great American quote: "Chuck Norris doesn’t sleep. He waits." Tom Petty might counter that with, "The wai-ai-ting is the hard-dest par-art."

Regardless, the waiting is almost over. I hope I don’t blow up before then.

Packers 34, Vikings 10.

17th annual Packer Ranter fantasy draft

Sunday afternoon Robert and I had our 17th annual fantasy football draft (I believe we invented it, although is has been modified way beyond a recognizable form). The draft took place in Hudson, WI, just across the Wisconsin/Minnesota border. The location is necessary, as I currently reside in MN. Robert refuses to set foot in the Land of 10,000 Losses - in fact, I don’t think he’s ever even been out of WI before. I believe the quote was, “I’ve got all the bratwurst, cheese and Old Milwaukee I need right here. Why would I leave?”

Anyway, I pounded pitchers of New Glarus Spotted Cow while he slammed 30 oz Milwaukee’s Best Ice, saying that he preferred his beer come from vats the size of Lake Winnebago. I prefer the Spotted Cow microbrew that is not available in MN. Spotted Cow keeps it real.

Onto the draft. Our fantasy football league is a little different than the bastardized versions you see now, we only have two teams and a very limited pool of players. The Packer Ranter Fantasy League only includes Packer players, thus making it the best and most exclusive league available. We made an obvious exception this year for the first time: Brett Favre, who is still really a Packer, was available to draft.

Here’s a breakdown of the first four rounds and two rounds of drinks (we keep our priorities straight):

1st Drink: Cheers and slammed our beers to kick off the draft.

1st Round
RG: Ryan Grant FH: Aaron Rodgers
2nd Round
RG: Donald Driver FH: Brett Favre (great trade bait)

2nd Drink: Shot of Jagermeister while Robert proposes trades for Favre.

3rd Round
RG: AJ Hawk FH: Greg Jennings
4th Round
RG: Mason Crosby (Braveleg went earlier than I anticipated) FH: Charles Woodson

Tracy White Note: RG got the steal of the draft in the 10th round, 2 before I had him targeted. That Brett Favre pick will come in handy now.
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