None of it mattered to the 2010 Green Bay Packers.
Oh, it could have. At times, it probably should have. And for most teams, well, it unquestionably would have.
Injuries mounting at an (almost) comedic rate. Disappointing losses to teams they should have crushed. The weight of colossal expectations. Yeah – they were all there.
And that was before the calendar turned to January.
Adversity was the name of the game for this team. The road less traveled? How about the road you don’t travel on unless you’re insane?
But that was the road this team would have to take, due mainly to a regular season full of obstacles, ones that seemed destined to alter a season that’d begun with so much hope. That hope never fully pulled up its stakes and left town, mind you. No, it just moved into the background to make way for something else, something much more important.
The heart the 2010 Packers earned – it’s never just handed to you, of course – served them well, even when everyone was ready with shovels and epitaphs at hand. And it was even more handy when every game they played could be their last.
When they were told they’d have no choice but to head on the highway and win…and win…and win some more just to get to North Texas, well, they leaned heavily on gameplanning and talent. But they relied on heart. The difference is subtle, but oh so important.
See, heart is what gets you by when you have to defeat the top three seeds in your conference in their own buildings. Heart is what allows you to dig deep and come up with a key first down or a crucial game-ending stop. There were other teams that had just as much talent, just as much intelligence as these Packers. But they didn’t have the heart.
No – not even close.
And when they got to North Texas, they knew what they had, even if others wanted to put their money on the team with the experience.
They knew what they had when key players were heading down that long ramp into the lockerroom, seemingly after every other play. They never lost sight of it because they couldn’t. By this point, it was long within them.
Someone else would just have to make a play. So what? Did that really matter now? Someone else always had to.
And someone else did. A whole hosts of “someone else” stepped up on a February evening in North Texas. And the result was that beautiful, heavenly confetti shower we’d spent 13 years wondering if we’d ever see again.
We saw it because it just didn’t matter to the 2010 Green Bay Packers. Not because they didn’t care, but because when you have heart, nothing else really matters.
And when they come blasting out of the tunnel on a warm September evening to an announcement that they are now the 13-time world champion Green Bay Packers, we’ll once again be reminded that the heart is the most important thing. If you have that, the rest really does just fall wonderfully into place.