The Green Bay Packers have lost the last two NFC championship games, and they're 0-4 in the season's penultimate game since winning the Super Bowl more than a decade ago. That stat alone is enough to send Packers fans' blood pressure to dangerous levels.
Now, though, with all the "Last Dance" vibes swirling around this team, not to mention the expiring contracts and cap hits coming down the highway with all the speed of a brakeless 18-wheeler, there's a new sense of urgency to the 2021 season in Green Bay.
Asked Thursday if this was a "Super Bowl or bust" season, Aaron Rodgers — the epicenter of this hurricane — hedged a bit, but not much.
"I think we all know what’s at stake," Rodgers said, adding that his "perspective is to focus on this season and enjoy the most out of this season, because there are a lot of unknowns."
Rodgers has spent the months since the Packers' most recent loss developing a rep as the Master of the Unknowns. Will he return to Green Bay in 2022? Will he go host "Jeopardy!"? Will his moves to reshape the Packers roster (and front office) to his whims pay off? The time for social media tomfoolery and carefully orchestrated leaks is over; now it's time for everybody to prove they're exactly what they say they are ... both in the field and the front office. There's no more wiggle room for Green Bay, no more, "We'll get 'em next year."
“They jumped through some hoops to get under the cap this year,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, the cap is expected to go back up next year, but you never know. So we’re just going to enjoy this season. It’s Title Town. It’s championship or disappointment.”
To be fair, it's "championship or disappointment" for literally every team in the NFL — hell, every team everywhere — but there's an extra tinge in Green Bay. The Packers aren't the NFC favorites, or even runners-up; their +1400 BetMGM odds run behind the Bucs' +700 and the Rams' +1200.
A healthy, motivated Rodgers will take the Packers a long way. But will he take them far enough? That's going to be one of the most fascinating ongoing stories of the entire season.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.