Welp, Championship Sunday was a bust. Not even Fuji's pack magic could help the Steelers stop the Evil Empire in New England.
My favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, were red-hot heading into last night's game against Atlanta, but the Pack magic ran out right from the opening kickoff. Too many injuries and costly mistakes put the Packers in a deep hole - and Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and a punishing Falcons defense made it impossible to climb out.
Another year, another disappointing playoff loss. Selfishly, I didn't mind losing this game too much. I'm indifferent to the Falcons, but I frickin' hate the Cowboys and I frickin' hate the Patriots. I'd rather see the Packers lose this one (painful as it was) than be a footnote in Tom Brady's revenge on Roger Goodell.
If that makes me a "bad" Packers fan, so be it. I'll be the first to admit I'm not the dedicated Cheesehead I once was.
I started cheering for the green and gold when I was 12 years old, and used Reggie White's free agency as a way of choosing my new favorite team. I had followed the Dolphins, Eagles, and Redskins... but when Reggie chose the Packers, so did I. Sterling Sharpe was my favorite Packer at the time, but I quickly became a huge fan of their young quarterback. Perhaps you've heard of him?
I grew up watching Brett Favre lead the Packers to the playoffs nearly every season of his career. I spent my teen years gobbling up all the Green Bay merch I could get my hands on - jerseys, hats, posters, magazines, keychains, coats... and of course cards. I have three binders full of Packers cards, most of them from the Favre era. About 600 of them (an entire binder and then some) are Favre cards, the largest player PC in my card collection by far.
I always thought that one day I'd have a room big enough to display all of the Favre memorabilia I had accumulated: books, magazines, action figures, a snow globe, a cardbord stand-up, and my four autographs of #4: a football, mini-helmet, jersey, and my favorite item - this "Passing Through The Years" print my wife bought me when we were still dating.
You can see my Packers posters reflected in the frame.
But by the end of his tenure as Green Bay's QB my fandom started to fade. I wasn't collecting nearly as much Packer memorabilia or emotionally investing as much in every game. When Favre left for the Jets and then the arch-rival Vikings, my loyalties were split. I wasn't like most Packers fans - I wanted Favre to win a Super Bowl even if the Packers couldn't. Nothing against Aaron Rodgers at all, it's just that Favre was my guy.
Around the time that Rodgers (finally) took over for Favre as the Packers' starting QB, I was getting married, buying a house, and starting a family. My collecting budget had to be cut drastically, to the point where I was buying flagship Upper Deck hockey... and almost nothing else. I have very little Packers memorabilia from the Aaron Rodgers era - nothing from Super Bowl XLV, no new hats or jackets or action figures or anything. I don't even have an Aaron Rodgers jersey. And it's not because I don't like Aaron as much (if anything I should like him more than the flawed Favre) it's just that I had other priorities.
Which is why I am able to scan my entire Aaron Rodgers card collection in this post.
Some inserts/special base:
Sometimes I buy Rodgers cards on COMC and try to flip them for a few bucks. That way, if they don't sell I'm happy to be "stuck" with them. (cue Huey Lewis song) The Panini Red Prizm above is one such card.
These are two cards I resold during the season. I would never even think of doing this with Brett Favre cards.
That said, I do have a few favorite Rodgers cards that I intend to keep in my collection. Here are my top three:
2016 Panini Prestige Team Logos
2015 Panini Prizm Helmets (Prizm parallel)
2014 Score Iconic Rookie Card Variations
Oh, and this one:
2005 Topps Chrome RC
At $55.20, this is still one of my most expensive single card purchases on COMC. I thought about including it in my next grading submission, but the top two corners are dinged (the scratches/smudges are from my scanner.)
Here's hoping that Rodgers has more help in 2017, and that the Packers can make another Super Bowl run while he's still in his prime.
As for this year's Super Bowl match-up, well... good luck, Atlanta. You're gonna need it.