Happy Thanksgiving everyone and welcome back. As you can probably imagine, spirits are high around here after that outstanding performance at Minnesota last Sunday. That’s four in a row and the team is playing with the kind of confidence that can carry them through the final six games now. Speaking of being carried, that was a great show of support by all of you guys on Sunday inside the Metrodome. To see Viking fans leave early and hear ‘Go Pack Go!’ chants echo throughout the building in the second half was awesome.
Last week I finished the blog by mentioning Thanksgiving and how I wanted to share some of my own family’s stories that surround the holiday. I know that spending time with family is important, and I have been especially lucky to have married Sarah and to be a part of her wonderful family as well.
Over the years, I haven’t had as many normal Thanksgivings as I would’ve liked because we’ve had games against the Detroit Lions. Thanksgiving Day wins are always special, and the cool thing about those games is you get an extra few days off before your next week of preparation begins.
I have always enjoyed playing on Thanksgiving because the games are nationally televised, and you have a chance to perform in front of all of the fans and all of your peers who are likely watching at home. During my time with the Packers, we have won the majority of the Thanksgiving games – most of them in convincing fashion. This year, we didn’t have a Thanksgiving Day game and I know many of my teammates and coaches were excited that they got to enjoy most of the day off to spend time with their families. Coach McCarthy puts a strong emphasis on family and has always been great about making sure guys get quality time with their families, while also balancing the schedule so that we get our work in. Family first is not just a motto said a lot around the complex; it is embraced by the Packer organization.
It seems like every family has their own individual traditions on Thanksgiving and the Tauscher family is no different. We have always been a close-knit group and ever since I can remember, we have always gathered at my parents’ house to enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving feast. While turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie are indeed staples at our table, we are also treated to a couple of unique choices that might not be at your standard gathering. My family is of German descent, and a specialty on our dinner table is the red headed dumplings that my grandmother introduced to our family many years ago. They are absolutely delicious. We all love and look forward to eating them every year. Except, of course, my brother’s wife, Angie, who is not as big a fan, and we tend to give her a hard time about it (sorry, Angie, couldn’t resist). It’s all in good fun, and it brings our families closer and closer each year.
While many teams talk about having a family atmosphere, we truly do here in Green Bay, which I believe plays a big part in the storied Packer tradition. Since being drafted in 2000 by Green Bay, I have only been able to get back to Auburndale for two Thanksgivings. When time does not allow us to get back to our extended families, we have celebrated dinner at teammates’ homes with other players and their families. While there are always a great collection of dishes from everyone's family traditions, a few notable selections would make my palate's hall of fame. They would include: Cliffy's (Chad Clifton) deep fried turkey (he introduced me to this delicacy), Brie Henderson's mac and cheese, Laura Hawk's dessert table and punch, Rob Davis's sweet potato casserole, my green bean casserole, and Tony Moll always let his Sonoma roots come thru with a great bottle of red wine at the table. But the best part was rehashing great victories and just spending time off the field with each other’s families.
Hopefully you enjoyed your day off of work and were able to spend valuable time with your family over a great meal. I will be back to revisit Milwaukee next week and share with you some of my favorite restaurants and family attractions. Until then, wish the guys luck as we travel to Atlanta looking to take down the conference leading Falcons for our fifth straight win.