There’s a prevailing narrative in some circles that the Packers routinely underachieve, and that they have no problem with it. Their quarterback recently addressed that perception.
“I get asked about it, I got asked about it last week — this idea that the Packers embrace mediocrity,” Aaron Rodgers told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “I think what we’ve done the last eight years, making the playoffs [every year], there’s only a couple other teams that have ever done that. New England, actually, currently is on the same streak as us, making the playoff for eight straight years. That’s tough to do, especially with the parity of this league and how they pair up division champions each year to play each other in the same conference. We’ve sustained success, we just haven’t sustained it on the top level. We haven’t won more than one Super Bowl. We’ve also been to three NFC championship games and none of them home. So that’s how we look at it. We’ve got to get one of those at home, because we are tough to beat at home.”
They’re not as tough to beat as home as they should be when it counts. During Rodgers’ career, the Packers are only 3-2 at home in the postseason. It started in 2011, when the Packers chased a 15-1 season with a stunning loss to the Giants in the divisional round. It continued two years later, with a wild-card loss to the 49ers under conditions that should have been too cold for San Franciscans to fully function.
Still, it’s always better to play at home in the playoffs. The Packers haven’t been able to pile up the record necessary to force the road to the Lombardi Trophy through the place where Lombardi coached, even though they haven’t been facing a murderer’s row of opposition in the NFC North. With Rodgers insisting he plans to play up to 10 more years, they’ll have more chances to do that.
“I don’t feel like our window is closing here,” Rodgers said. “I feel like this window is going to be open for a while. And in order for some of that stuff to go away, the outside noise, we’re going to have to win another Super Bowl. It would be disappointing if we were only able to win one in my time here. Hopefully we can get one of those done.”
Frankly, it’s already disappointing that they’ve won only one. And the outside noise has been earned, especially with the G.M. stubbornly refusing to sign free agents (that may be changing), the head coach stubbornly defending a consistently-embattled defensive coordinator, and the quarterback last year taking subtle shots at the head coach for not ensuring that the team has the right energy level on the sidelines or instilling a healthy fear that jobs can and will be lost.
Regardless of whether they win another Super Bowl, the Packers are hardly mediocre. But maybe it would be better to be mediocre than to be close and close and close and close but never quire where they need to be.