Wisconsin Has Become The “Almost” State For Pro Sports
I was born and raised in Wisconsin. Northern Wisconsin. Where the accents are a little thicker, the beer flows freely and there are more cows than people. So when you are from the great white north, the Packers, Brewers and (to a point) Bucks are born in your blood. I think they inject you with something when you pop out of the womb.
It's been fun being a Wisconsin sports fan in my time of really watching and understanding sports...say 30ish years. There have been some great HOF caliber players. Some unforgettable moments. And even two championships thanks to the Packers. But, I feel like the hope we are given every year by nearly all our teams is worse than walking into a season knowing they are going to suck.
Since their first Super Bowl win of my time in 1996, the Packers have had 4 losing seasons and only 7 years where they didn't make the playoffs. That isn't to bad. Other than maybe the Patriots, not sure if any team has been better. That is what happens when you have two MVP QB's at the helm for so long. But every year they build up the hopes of Wisconsin, only to be crushed in the playoffs.
Remember Brett throwing the INT vs. the Giants? Brutal. The onside kick vs. Seattle in that Championship game. I still to this day have not watched the end of that game. I turned it off after the onside kick was botched.
In the last 5 years they have lost in the NFC Championship game 3 times, and missed the playoffs completely 2 times. The years of not making the playoffs were easier on the soul than those other crushing losses.
Maybe that current QB has a point and should just retire. Give him a break and let Packer fans say OK, we'll suck now but at least we don't have to go into a season hopeful only to have it all fall apart.
The Milwaukee Brewers have never won a World Series but Wisconsin sports fans still love them. They love the players, the franchise, the stadium, the radio announcer...best of all time...and of course they love to tailgate. Let's start with this franchise in 2008. Because really before that, each year was entered in with no hope. Then all of a sudden the players in the minors started to show up. Fielder, Weeks, Hardy, Hall, Braun. There was something there and fans were getting excited. Oh, wait, it's Wisconsin. Despite that roster and actually winning 96 games in 2011, they wouldn't even reach the World Series.
Fast forward after a rough patch to 2018. Back in the playoffs again with 96 wins. But, in true Wisconsin fashion end up one game short to the Dodgers. Then two more years of squeezing in the playoffs giving us hope for nothing.
Here we are at the time of this story in June 2021 with once again hope. A dominant pitching staff, solid bullpen...and a .212 batting average. That won't make it a full season and definitely not in the playoffs. Warning to all Brewers fans: do not get your hopes up!
Finally we come to the Bucks. Starting around 1998 when they had the big 3. Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassel. It takes three to win an NBA Championship right. Not if you are in Wisconsin! Then it takes 6. In 2000/2001 season they would finish in first place and look like the team to beat. Which they were, and they did. Another heart breaker losing to the 76ers in 7 games.
Over the next 15 seasons they would make the playoffs 8 times. Not terrible, but not good. And none of those playoff appearances would get out of the first round. So mostly terrible with little hope. Then comes the Greek Freak...and hope is reborn, only to be recrushed. The last 3 years the Bucks have finished in first in the division. Only once have they even made it to the conference finals. That was the year I really thought they were going to win. If Kawhi doesn't hit that miracle shot to beat the 76ers I think the Bucks would have gone to the finals. Then who knows, but hey, it would have been something.
Now here we are in 2021. They are currently down 0-2 (perhaps by the time you read this 0-3) to the Nets. A season of hope. A season of big wins. A season of great players. Once again, going down in flames in the playoffs. It should be expected by now from Wisconsin teams, but yet it hurts.
For some states they wake up in a sports world with little to no hope for their teams. I envy that. Give me a world knowing my team is going to playing for that first pick in the draft. These last 20 years of being hopeful only to be crushed in the end has been exhausting on my sports emotions. With all that said, go Bucks! Sigh.