GREEN BAY - 2012 started with such promise for the Green Bay Packers, as they waited out a bye as a reward for a 15-1 regular season record. However, the start quickly turned sour, as they were not able to replicate their post season magic of the year before.
Even with home field advantage, the eventual champion New York Giants ended the Packers season in the divisional round with a 37-20 win that included a successful Hail Mary touchdown by the Giants at halftime that would be a portent of things to come in the calendar year.
As is the way in sports, hope springs eternal, and the beauty of the NFL is everyone is tied for first when the season begins. The 2012 season opened as always, with the hope of training camp, and a Packers Family Night that, for the first time in three years was not interrupted by rain. A good sign, perhaps?
So much for omens- the season also started a string of injury problems for the team. The Packers lost linebacker Desmond Bishop for the season before the end of the first preseason game, and the injuries continued from there, losing running backs, offensive linemen and more.
2012 was also the year that brought us the "Fail Mary", and introduced "simultaneous possession" to the lexicon of the NFL. The final day of the NFL lockout of their referees brought the most controversial play. As Seattle's Golden Tate and Green Bay's M.D. Jennings were coming down with Russell Wilson's last second desperation throw, the situation exploded. The ruling was a touchdown, and a replacement ref had finally, definitively, cost a team a game, as the Seahawks took the win. The regular referees were back on the field three days later.
However, after starting the season just 2-3 in the first five games, the Packers righted the ship, with a huge road win in Houston against the then undefeated Texans, and rode that to a five game winning streak. The team is now headed to the post season, again with a date at Lambeau, hoping the end of the 2012 season looks more like 2010 than 2011, with a Super Bowl appearance.
Area volunteers are making a difference in the community this holiday season. At this time of the year, many people are looking for ways to help their neighbors. The Salvation Army is one of the many places where you can do just that.
For the second year in a row, St. Norbert College could house overflow of homeless people from the St. John the Evangelist shelter in Green Bay.
A memorial fund has been created for a Grand Chute firefighter killed in a weekend car crash.
Appleton police executed a search warrant Thursday in connection with a fatal nightclub shooting.
Capital Credit Union is offering to match donations made to Salvation Army red kettles in the Fox Valley on Friday.
With just two weeks until Christmas, the Postal Service says it's heading into its busiest times. But are folks still sending letters of holiday cheer?