Green Bay Packers fans were forced to go through the Kübler-Ross model of grief management after the NFC Championship Game went so horribly wrong.
One really passionate Cheesehead — and radio host — added another stage to the process by penning a heartfelt letter to the game’s goat, Brandon Bostick, the dude who botched the onside kick recovery.
Dear Brandon Bostick,
I won’t pretend to know how you must be feeling right now or pretend that I could say something deep and meaningful enough to make the pain of that moment go away.
I won’t pretend that I, like every other Packers fan on the planet, wasn’t screaming at you in that moment.
And I won’t pretend that either the Packers or their fans won’t always remember you for that moment.
Heck, I can’t even pretend that you won’t be replaying that moment every time you have a free moment to reflect.
That’s the thing about big moments, whether they happen in NFC Championship Games in front of 70,000 fans and an entire nation watching on TV or at home in front of the wife and the kids.
They have a tendency to define us. Not the moments themselves, but how we learn from them and, as hard as it is while we’re living them, how we move on from them.
In one moment, you went from a hardworking second-year tight end at the end of the Packers’ roster to one of the biggest goats in team history.
Seriously, check your Wikipedia page. That moment is the biggest paragraph. Check out your Twitter feed. Actually, don’t. Trust me on this one.
But you’re more than your Wikipedia page. You’re more than what supposed “fans” tweet about you.
You’re more than that one moment.
I won’t pretend that you will be to every Packers fan, but to this Packers fan, the moment that will forever define you happened after the game ended.
You were in the locker room, a black hooded sweatshirt on instead of a jersey, a look of weary sadness over your face instead of a helmet.
Your eyes said everything that you struggled to say to the reporters that had gathered at your locker.
You shouldn’t have gone for that ball. You should have blocked and Jordy should have jumped for it. You let your team down. You let your family back in Green Bay down. You let yourself down.
Brandon, whether or not you realize it yet; that was your moment.
You stood there and answered every question openly, truthfully, and heartbreakingly candidly—reliving that moment for the entire world and trying to explain a millisecond’s reaction that had just spawned a lifetime’s worth of regret.
You could have refused to speak with the media, and honestly, I don’t think many people would have blamed you.
But you didn’t. You owned up to your mistake, accepted responsibility, and put the weight of an entire season’s worth of expectations on your shoulders even though you didn’t have to.
You didn’t settle for three points in the first half instead of trying to put the game away early. You didn’t fall for a fake field goal that gave Seattle hope. You didn’t get conservative with the playcalling while sitting on a lead. You didn’t slide down after an interception instead of running it back. You didn’t drop a likely pick-six that would have iced the game. You didn’t settle back in a prevent defense instead of pressuring a quarterback who had already thrown four bad interceptions. You didn’t get beat on that two-point conversion.
Every one of those directly led to the loss, but you accepted all the blame, even though you didn’t have to, and in so doing, you taught Packer Nation and, in truth, the entire nation about taking responsibility—a lesson that it sorely needs.
You didn’t make excuses and you didn’t try to shift the blame. You stood up, and you admitted that you and you alone failed.
Brandon, that was your moment—and it’s a moment I hope everyone watches (or at least thinks of) every time that onside kick is replayed.
Because in failure, and your response to it, you taught the single greatest lesson about success: That it always stems directly from a whole lot of failure.
No successful person ever became successful without a whole lot of moments just like yours. And no successful person ever looked back at their moment of failure and said, “Yeah, but it wasn’t really my fault.”
They owned up to their failure, internalized it, learned from it, and then moved on from it, looking back on it only as a source of motivation or inspiration.
In that sense, Brandon, your moment will define you. The onside kick won’t, but your response to it already has. The pain is still fresh, and I’m sure it will linger for a while, but the lesson about personal accountability you shared with all of us can forever guide us through our own toughest moments.
And for that, as strange as may sound right now, this Packers fan is forever grateful.
A few things here.
First, this is well-written. In today’s world where sports anger runs unchecked and a take is only valued by its hotness, it’s refreshing to see someone with a level head put pen to paper.
Secondly, I don’t know how other Packers fans are going to handle seeing a person be so mature about the situation. Like the only good thing about losing a huge game in heartbreaking fashion is bitching about it with your fellow man.
No one likes the voice of reason.
And lastly, I feel even worse for Bostick now that he had a 30-minute window where everyone was ready to blame someone else for the incident. Guy just can’t buy a break.
[H/T: News Talk 1130]