Were those the Bucks Lambeau Leap games?
Normally I try, weakly, to emulate Bill James, the baseball writer. Tonight, I'm going to try to emulate Bill Simmons, the "sports guy". So this post is based on nothing but my "gut". And, sadly, it will probably be alot more popular and conversational than the Jamesian posts that I actually put alot of effort into. Oh well, (hey, I'm super wordy like Bill Simmons!) here it is:
16 years ago next Saturday, Christmas Day 1993 to be exact, I remember I believed the 8-6 Mike Holmgren Green Bay Packers were kind of the same old Green Bay Packers. Pretty good, yeah, improved from Lindy Infante, yeah, a little better coached, to be sure, but headed ultimately to a fate of at best 9-7 seasons, one after another, and then a series of one and dones in the playoffs. In other words, they were nothing special.
The next day, December 26th, the Packers played an okay, 8-5 Los Angeles Raiders team at Lambeau Field. The Raiders weren't great, but they were formidable. The Packers beat them down so thoroughly, so completely... LeRoy Butler invented the Lambeau Leap that day... I just remember thinking after the game... this shit is different. These aren't the same Packers. They're headed for a different plane. NFL Films says the Packers victory over the Lions in the play-offs two weeks later set them on their way... I say it was the win over the LA Raiders two weeks previous.
Of course the analogy with these Milwaukee Bucks is by no means pure. Its way too early in the Skiles era. And remember, even after the Raider beat down it took the Packers setback after setback to reach the pinnacle. And by the way, I'm not saying the Bucks can get close to the pinnacle... because basketball is different and harder.
But after 20 years of poor defensive teams, didn't those two victories just feel great? Weren't they sort of "paradigm shifts" in your mental impression of the Milwaukee Bucks? Didn't you walk away thinking "these aren't the same Milwaukee Bucks"?
That's all I'm saying.