Mercifully, the Green Bay Packers’ season is over.
2018 was exceptionally rough for the green and gold, and in several different ways. The team finished at 6-9-1, which means consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1990-’91. Longtime coach Mike McCarthy was sent upstate to live with a nice farm family, and Aaron Rodgers appears to have traded in his right arm for a wet noodle.
But now that the Packers have limped into the sunset, who do you root for?
The answer is a no-brainer: It’s the Milwaukee Bucks, who currently have the NBA’s best record at 25-10. They’re leading the Eastern Conference, the first time they’ve done so at New Year’s since the 1970s. And Giannis Antetokounmpo — the incomparable Greek Freak — is a front-runner for league MVP, having more than filled the East’s post-LeBron power vacuum.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 31, 2018
But for a long time — and even in their best years — the Bucks have been overlooked in Wisconsin. The Packers come first, and probably second, too, followed by the Brewers and Bucks. And since the Packers’ season overlaps with the Bucks’, they tend to dominate in terms of media coverage. But as of Sunday afternoon, and for the next few months, the Bucks are the only active pro team in the state. It’s time to start giving them the attention they deserve.
Dear @packers fans, tired of watching this team flounder every week? Dont know what to do with yourself during the long offseason? WATCH THE @Bucks . Now if we could only get sports talk stations to not talk Packers 75% of the time that would be great.
— Beaudiggity (@AMBeaugrand) December 30, 2018
You want an Aaron Rodgers circa-2011 superstar? You’ve got one in Antetokounmpo, arguably the game’s most electrifying player. And his supporting cast is much more reliable than the quarterback’s. Offseason addition Brook “Splash Mountain” Lopez has given the Bucks consistency at both ends of the floor. Eric Bledsoe is the best pure one guard to wear a MKE jersey in years. Even D.J. Wilson, the lanky hairdo who many predicted to be a draft bust, is playing absolutely lights out right now.
But what might interest disheartened Packers fans the most is the 180-degree turnaround the Bucks have made after a coaching change. Last January, the organization parted ways with Jason Kidd. The new boss, Mike Budenholzer, appears to have galvanized the Bucks into a positionless freak show, a hot-shooting, miles-long band of mutants finally capable of taking down perennial conference giants like the Celtics and Raptors.
So as the Packers search for their own Bud, there’s plenty of room on the Fear the Deer bandwagon. You can get started on New Year’s Day; the Bucks host the Detroit Pistons at 7 p.m. You can still wear all your green apparel, and as an added bonus there’s an exactly zero percent chance you’ll endure Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling a game.