Emotional loss for Packers


The Green Bay Packers lost to the San Francisco 49ers Jan. 22. The loss has lead many fans to begin to question the future of starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Oliver Smith

As I watched San Francisco 49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould line up for the game-winning field goal against the Packers, I realized I could be witnessing live Aaron Rodgers’ last game wearing a Packer uniform.

The Green Bay Packers had a bye week for the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs and hosted the San Francisco 49ers who were fresh off an upset. The game was in Green Bay at the infamous Lambeau Field, meaning the temperature was extremely low. I dressed warm and huddled with other fans at the tailgate. Even with the cold temperature, as I watched the teams warm up, I anticipated a phenomenal performance from each team.

Once the game started, however, I realized my hope for a good game was not going to happen. The Packers went up 7-0 early in the first quarter but after that, the game consisted of a series of punts. The temperature continued to fall, down into the single digits as the second quarter came around. With no big plays and only punts by each team, I felt sleepy and was disappointed with the lack of offensive production.

At the end of the second quarter, however, the Packers made a move. The 49ers defense was worn out and Aaron Rodgers caught them sleeping as he hit running back Aaron Jones for a 76-yard pass with 30 seconds left. I was excited to see another touchdown or at least a field goal to end the half. The following play foreshadowed the downfall of the Packers. Packers kicker Mason Crosby walked out to kick a field goal, but the offensive line failed to block a 49ers defender and the kick was blocked, ending the first half.

During halftime, I realized there were two different lenses in which I was viewing the game. Because I’m a Patriots fan, I didn’t have anything at stake with this game. But as a football fan, I was concerned that this is the last time Aaron Rodgers would be a member of the Packers. The speculation of his departure from the team started this summer as he hinted at it with Instagram posts and interview comments. The NFL is changing and has new faces at its forefront and many older players that I grew up idolizing are retiring, possibly including Aaron Rodgers. The thoughts I had were sad, but I wasn’t worried that Rodgers would lose the game.

In the fourth quarter, the Packers started with a good drive and kicked a field goal to go up 10-3. Snow had started to fall and it looked like the 49ers were going to end up getting shut down offensively as their production was the worst it had been all game. Their defense however had been playing great and with four minutes left, I looked up from my phone just in time to see the Packers punting from their own goal line. The Packers´ terrible special teams allowed another 49ers defender through the line and the punt was blocked. A 49er picked it up and walked into the endzone. Lambeau went silent. Looking around I saw fans in surrender cobra position, in shock that their team had given up a touchdown. I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me as I couldn’t manage to formulate any words to describe what had just happened.

The Packers were forced to punt on their next possession and this would be the last time they touched the ball. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo managed his offense to the Packers 28-yard line and chewed the clock all the way down to four seconds. This set up Robbie Gould for the 45-yard game-winning kick.

Gould drilled the kick and the Packers Superbowl hopes vanished. I looked around to see Packer fans crying, holding each other, and yelling. I was stunned as I realized that I may have witnessed Aaron Rodgers’ last game as a Packer. I walked to my car along with upset and furious Packers fans and a few ecstatic 49er fans.

Seeing two very different reactions from two fanbases up close is much more powerful than seeing them on SportsCenter or on social media. Although from a viewership perspective, the game wasn’t very exciting, this game meant everything to Packer fans everywhere. My excitement of seeing a live NFL playoff game changed by the end of the game to a feeling of sadness as I realized I may have seen Aaron Rodgers last game as a Green Bay Packer.