I like to joke that the Green Bay Packers ruined my childhood.
As is typically true about most jokes, this one has a kernel of truth to it. When I was young (born in 1990; so, yeah, I'm in my prime NFL years. That means, Mr. Baalke, I'm ready for your call anytime), it seemed like the Packers were always bouncing the 49ers out of playoff contention. Year after year, the Packers would get the best of the 49ers, shutting down their season in a horrible way that broke the heart of children around the world. Truly, Brett Favre was a monster.
This last year was sweet, sweet revenge. Watching Colin Kaepernick run like a gazelle around the field was bliss. Six year old me had many childhood demons exercised.
But, not enough. Hence, the greater importance of Sunday's game (besides the obvious fact that we want the team to win so that, you know, they can go to the Super Bowl and all that).
I'm sure that many of you all are in a similar boat as I am. Some of you were probably around my age when the 49ers were losing year after year to the Packers in the mid-90s; others were older, watching two historic franchises duke it out, only to see the Packers bring to a close the most recent chance for the 49ers to add to an already storied dynasty. So, I imagine the desire for revenge has not been sated after last year's game for many of you.
And that's why I like reading articles like this one. To be frank, a lot of writers have been making a big deal about the weather; in particular, I have noticed that it has become the major talking point for numerous national writers. It's understandable why, of course. Weather has a massive impact on the game. While I think both sides can lay claim to substantial arguments as to why the weather might be helpful for themselves (the Packers know the cold well and the 49ers typically dominate in the cold-weather-suited run game), it still introduces a whole new element to the game. The elements are just another element to deal with.
So, when a writer writes an article and situates the possible weather conditions within a historical backdrop, it lends an "epic" tone to the game. The stakes are raised. The potential revenge could be all the more awesome should the 49ers achieve victory.
And it's not just the weather: Aaron Rodgers return also makes this game feel more "epic." Not only do I want to beat a team at full-strength, but I also like how his return adds an additional narrative to this game, raising the stakes yet again.
Playoff games are always exciting - the 49ers could make it every year, and I would never develop "playoff fatigue." Never. It's just too much fun to watch the Niners playing in January. But, when we can continue to develop postseason rivalries, that makes their trip to the dance that much more exciting.