When a team is in the middle of a championship run, or is celebrating having won a championship, you hear the term “destiny” thrown out quite a bit. When a team is destined for greatness, a lot of things must go their way. Luck is a big factor in destiny, and in order to win any championship you must have a certain number of things go in your favor.
When you think of this 2016 Green Bay Packers team, you can’t help but to think this team has that destiny with them.
Coming off of a four game losing streak and many (MANY) injury riddled games, the Packers turned the page and started to lock down on a November Monday night in Philadelphia. That fateful night started something truly magical and sparked the team onto an eight game win streak that still stands through the playoffs. The Packers needed the stars to align within the team, and within the division if they even wanted a shot to make the playoffs. Detroit needed to lose a game. The team needed to “run the table”. The defense had to overcome a multitude of injuries. Most importantly, the team needed a leader and a savior.
Enter Aaron Rodgers. Starting on that November night, Rodgers returned to his form that all of the cheeseheads across the country came to love. Despite a few nagging injuries to both of his legs, Rodgers stayed on the field and led the team right into the playoffs. This run has seen Rodgers pull of a hail mary, plenty of free plays, and unbelievable throws game after game. Rodgers’ play has made everyone believe that this team has a shot to win it all.
But it hasn’t been just all Aaron Rodgers for the Pack. This season has seen the emergence of so many key players during this hot streak. Ty Montgomery, Jared Cook, Geronimo Allison, Micah Hyde, Ladarius Gunter, Morgan Burnett, Nick Perry and many more players have stepped up out of nowhere and made huge plays in every game since that first victory. Without those guys stepping up to fill a void, this team wouldn’t have been able to make this run and have a shot at glory.
The Packers defense has had quite a bit of destiny on their side as well. During the “run the table” streak, the defense has been able to create plenty of turnovers and has managed to hold their own during most games against really tough offenses. The turnovers and stops were not there earlier in the season, but when it was time to turn it up, they did.
When the Giants came to town for the opening playoff matchup, the New York receivers were drooling at the mouth for the chance to play against the Packers secondary. The yacht riding receivers had their chances, but destiny was in Lambeau Field that night. The Giants dropped a few sure touchdown catches during the game, and All-Pro pass catcher Odell Beckham dropped three himself. You can’t catch breaks like that if you don’t have fate on your side.
That same game saw leading receiver Jordy Nelson get hit hard by Giants defensive back Leon Hall. That hit gave Nelson a few broken ribs and sent him out for the rest of the game. That didn’t hold back the Packers. In fact, it catapulted them. The Packers wideouts stepped up big in the absence of Jordy, and were huge weapons for Rodgers throughout the night. Then, as time expired just before halftime, destiny truly was shown. Rodgers went back and fired up a prayer in an attempt to score a touchdown before the half. The prayer was answered as Randall Cobb was there all alone in the back of the endzone to catch the Hail Mary and complete the belief that this team is special.
Against Dallas in the divisional round, destiny was on the Packers side yet again. After a duel that lasted all game long against Dak Prescott, the Packers had the ball for a final possession and a chance to go to the NFC Championship game. With less than 30 seconds left, Cowboys cornerback, Jeff Heath blitzed Rodgers’ blindside and sacked the quarterback with a big hit. Somehow, Rodgers was able to hold onto the football and keep the season alive. Just a couple of plays later, Rodgers then put the Packers right in field goal range after an unreal throw and catch right on the sideline to tight end Jared Cook. That play set up Mason Crosby’s 51 yard game winning field goal that just barely snuck through the goal post. Destiny.
As we all know, this magical run for the Packers is far from over. One win away from a trip to Houston is a great feeling, especially after what the team has been through. The team will be looking for more of the destined greatness as they head into Atlanta with a Super Bowl trip on the line.