(Photo courtesy of Vernon Biever/Green Bay Packers)
Talk of Fame Network
The Green Bay Packers were the best team in the NFL in 2014.
Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy voiced that opinion last month, and now we have someone to second it. Former Green Bay wide receiver Donald Driver told the Talk of Fame Network radio broadcast that he believes the Packers … not New England or Seattle … are the best team in the NFL, but failed to reach the Super Bowl because they were victimized by an old bugaboo.
“I agree (with Mike McCarthy),” he said of the Packers. “They are the best team out there right now, and they could’ve shown it. They had an opportunity to show it. But if you don’t do your job you’re supposed to do, then mistakes happen.”
The Packers’ biggest mistake, of course, was blowing a 16-point lead in the conference championship game and blowing the game when former backup tight end Brandon Bostick, now with Minnesota, had an onside kick ricochet off his helmet and hands. It didn’t take Seattle long to score the tying touchdown, sending the game into overtime.
“I think Brandon got something he’s going to have to live with for a long time … on that onside kick,” Driver said. “He’s going to have to live with it for the rest of his life. And regardless of where he goes, somebody’s going to always bring that up to him because that was one of the games to watch.”
Bostick’s mistake … the Packers’ failure to cover a two-point conversion … the Packers’ failure to cover a fake field goal … the Packers’ failure to generate fourth-quarter points … all added up to another chapter in a litany of playoff fizzles that dot the Green Bay landscape. One GM told us recently that what happened in Seattle “seems to happen to Green Bay more times than you’d like to imagine”… except Driver can imagine.
He lived it. And he lived through another emotional body blow when he watched Green Bay blow the Seattle game. Bad enough it was in the playoffs; what made it worse was that it cost Green Bay a chance to go to its second Super Bowl in five years.
“Oh, my God, it was a tough one,” Driver said. “Because I i knew the game was over. I was just about to tweet late, with four or five minutes to go in the game, “congrats to Packers for going back to the Super Bowl.” And then, all of a sudden, Marshawn Lynch scores. And then they get the onside kick And then I go, ‘OK, this can’t be happening.’ “
It not only could. It did. Again.
“In my career,” said Driver, “I’ve had those types of plays (like) the fourth-and-26 against Philly (2003 NFL playoffs). Me and Brett (Favre) are sitting next to each other, and we’re ready to stand up and say, ‘We’re going to the Super Bowl,’ and – boom! -- Freddie Mitchell catches the ball down the middle of the field, and im going, ‘OK, this can’t be happening to us.’
“On a fourth-and-8 against Atlanta (in the 2003 playoffs) … at home … the first (home) playoff game we lose in history … Michael Vick (acts) like he’s going out of bounds and turns around and is running all the way around the back way to keep his drive alive so they can continue in the playoffs.
“These are the things that happen, and unfortunately it just happened to a great team that we knew should have been there. It’s just one of those things. It’s karma. Because there’s no way the Patriots should have won. Seattle should have won that game in the Super Bowl.”
Except it didn’t. Just as the Packers should’ve won that game in Seattle … but didn’t.