“He’s a bust.”
“This dude can’t even get on the field.”
“We risked our championship window on this guy, and he’s terrible.”
On the opening play of the opening drive of this season, Christian Watson had a devastating drop. The promise, the hype, and the potential all seem to evaporate in that one singular moment. From there, it was a constant downslide of missed games and negative opinions. The media focused on risking Aaron Rodgers’ Super Bowl window over a young division 1AA wide receiver, and fans couldn’t stop destroying Watson.
I was one of those fans. And I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
Since returning to health and Rodgers’s good graces, Watson has gone on a historic streak. He’s constantly appearing on memes on Twitter next to Randy Moss, and everyone on the planet is openly declaring him a future superstar.
A lot of us, including myself, owe Christian Watson an apology.
Maybe it’s as simple as a disproportionate relationship with expectations. As fans, we’ve been spoiled by rookie wide receivers in the past few years. What Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase have done is unbelievable. Their performances have created a standard unlikely to be met by many players. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting it.
Everyone knew Watson had all the tools. Chris Simms famously stumped for him after the draft pick, but we all should’ve stepped back and had a discussion about the situation. This is a kid who played small college football(albeit an absolute powerhouse in that world) and had an injury history. We expected him to come in and replace literally the best wide receiver in the NFL on Day 1. That is ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous, despite that start he has now essentially done it. Not replaced the current Davante Adams clearly, but at this point, it’s undeniable that Christian Watson as a rookie is far more impressive than Davante Adams as a rookie.
Maybe Brian Gutekunst, Aaron Rodgers, and the whole quarterback drama is to blame. In a championship window, they managed to offend the best wide receiver in the league and found themselves in a position to replace him after three 13-win years. Imagine the leash Watson would have been given had he been drafted as a complement to Davante Adams, the exact thing we’ve all been asking for for years. Imagine if Christian Watson’s emergence was what was putting this team over the top and finally got them that second Super Bowl during the Rodgers era.
Maybe we’re just spoiled. We’ve had three decades of Hall of Fame quarterback played and constant skill at the No. 1 wide receiver position. Perhaps we became so accustomed to next man up success that we weren’t ready for the reality of having to develop someone. Yet Watson is still breaking out.
The reason doesn’t really matter, the reality is I was wrong, and I feel the need to publicly apologize to Watson. There’s an image floating around on Twitter of Watson jumping into the end zone to score the game-winning touchdown as Aaron Rodgers points at him. It’s unbelievable.
This is one of my favorite pictures taken of the Green Bay Packers in as long as I can remember. It’s an iconic image, capturing the moment we all realized what we might potentially have on our hands. The moment that we all realized how silly it was that we went so hard at a promising young player. If this team re-tools and goes and wins the Super Bowl, that image will be one that none of us ever forget.
It feels good to be wrong, and it feels great to have Christian Watson on this team. Go, Pack, Go.