Commentary: Sherman leads fall from grace

I guess when one of the items on your game highlight film is your winning an instant replay ruling on what I still think was an interception by Tennessee in the end zone during the first half, you begin to realize just how deep this bunch has sunk.

To say that I am disappointed and disgusted would be an understatement. I wonder how long it is going to take Bob Harlan and company to realize that since the end of the 2002 season (i.e. the regular season ending blowout against the Jets losing home field advantage in the playoffs and the opening-round playoff humiliation against Atlanta at home marking the first-ever home playoff loss for the franchise), Mike Sherman has ushered in the beginning of a subtle, but steady, decline in this team's performance which has now turned into an out of control freefall. 

Although hindsight is 20-20, let's look at something to see if what I say might be true.

1)  2000 season: 9-7 record and just missed playoffs. Pretty respectful season considering what had happened during the Ray Rhodes experiment.

2) 2001 season: 12-4 record falling just short of getting home-field advantage in playoffs. Very disturbing blowout loss to the Rams though in the second round of the playoffs. I am pretty sure too this was the Packers' worst playoff loss ever, so Sherman establishes the first in a string of very disturbing firsts for the franchise.

3) 2002 season: 12-4 record again which even I have to admit was a masterful job on Sherman's part considering all of the injuries, but you also have to give most of the credit to the players themselves. They were the ones that had to stick together and get through that adversity. Being able to persevere under these conditions I think was the high-water mark of Sherman's tenure. From here it has been all down hill. More very disturbing news came in the last regular-season game against the Jets when home field advantage in the playoffs was on the line. Although many argue that the team had simply run out of gas, they were totally humiliated in this game. Following that was the home playoff debacle against Atlanta marking the first-ever home playoff loss in franchise history. Sherman sets yet another negative first for the organization.

4) 2003 season: 10-6 record resulting in backing into the playoffs only due to Minnesota's ineptness at Arizona. During this season began the trend of the team losing games that they absolutely no business losing (i.e. Arizona and Detroit on the road and the circus against KC) as well as the inexcusable trend of losing games at home. 

5) 2004 season: 1-4 record so far and I don't think you could find a person on the planet that knows anything at all about the game that will say they see any reason at all to think this team will do nothing but continue to lose. Forget any talk about the playoffs. It will be a minor miracle if this team wins another game any time soon from my perspective. Three home losses in a row this year with a record of 6-7 in Sherman's last 13 home games so the huge home field advantage that made Lambeau Field such a dreadful place for opponents has been squandered under Sherman's watch. I saw where one sportswriter even made the statement that Lambeau Field is now a preferred destination for visiting teams.

If I understood correctly, (Monday) night was the most points ever scored against Green Bay at home so there is another feather in Sherman's hat. Put this stuff on a graph and you will see a rise, then a plateau, followed by a clear descent. 

I suppose there are two ways you can look at this situation.  One way is that the team has the talent to succeed, but for whatever reason they are not responding to the team leadership.  Fault falls on the coach and his staff. The other way is that the team actually does not have enough talent to win so the fault falls on the person responsible for the roster makeup.  Fault on the general manager. That translates into Mike Sherman either way you look at it.

Barber is a 50-year-old Packers fan from Louisiana that has faithfully followed the franchise since childhood. He has traveled to Green Bay each December for the last several years to attend the final home game.


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