Originally Published: January 15, 2015
I don’t want to say there’s a let-down vibe going on surrounding this NFC Championship Game matchup between the Seahawks and Packers this weekend, but the anticipation isn’t quite as Next Level as it would be if we were playing the 49ers or the Eagles or those shit-kickers down in Dallas. Don’t get me wrong: everyone’s super pumped about an opportunity to play for a third Super Bowl appearance. And, for the most part, the Packers are an exciting matchup for us because it’s Strength vs. Strength. Passing Offense vs. Passing Defense. Aaron Rodgers vs. Richard Sherman and all of that.
But, let’s face it, the flames of passion don’t burn quite so intensely for this rivalry just yet. The Packers are just too … LIKABLE. Maybe I’m reading the tea leaves wrong, but I get the feeling that Seahawks fans would be sitting here rooting for the Packers if it happened to be them advancing to the Super Bowl, as opposed to one of the AFC teams. Maybe I’m crazy! All I know is, I’m here to stoke the fires of discontent when it comes to our friends from America’s Dairyland.
I don’t know if you’re fortunate enough to have friends or family who’ve spent chunks of their lives living in Wisconsin, but I’ll admit – like many from the midwest – they’re entirely pleasant, delightful people. Share a beer and a conversation with one and I’m sure you’ll come away – as I have – more or less pleased with the time you’ve spent.
Just don’t talk football. Specifically, don’t talk NFL football. Because HOO BOY, are you in for a smug, self-satisfied reflection as to why everything about every other football team is dead wrong. It’s the Packer Way or the Highway!
Let’s just start with Titletown itself. You want to talk about living in the past? Let me introduce you to every single Green Bay Packers fan known to man. It’s known as Titletown because of all the championships the Packers have won. Ignoring the fact that 9 of their 13 championships were prior to the Super Bowl era (in other words, meaning they don’t count). Oh, you won a bunch of titles when there was anywhere from 9-14 teams in the league? That’s pretty much like winning the high school state championship for chess in Rhode Island. And some of these so-called titles came without a championship game at the end! Way to finish with a better regular season record than the Frankford Yellow Jackets and the Dayton Triangles!
Then, you’ve got their 22 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Again, what’s the level of competition here? All but TWO played the bulk of their careers before 1970! Yet, you’ve practically got to throw a parade every time you talk about these guys. I think the United States of America is a pretty swell place, but you don’t hear me walking around going on and on about the Pilgrims and life in the 1600s all the time.
Then, you’ve got Lambeau Field. You’d think to hear about it, we’re talking about the Sistine Chapel or something, but it’s nothing more than a stadium just like any other, progressively losing more and more of its small-town charm with every renovation. And don’t even get me started on The Frozen Tundra! Oh, you mean that chewed-up slab of cold mud you call a field? You know what I like to do come December and January? Watch a bunch of football players running around on what looks like a cow-pie laden field, sitting around counting all the impending ACL injuries just waiting to happen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re still using real grass, you’re living in the 1800s. Field Turf is proven to be safer, more reliable, and better looking. Fuck tradition! It used to be commonplace to use leeches in the medical field as well; people have done a lot of stupid shit throughout history, but we don’t STILL do this stupid shit once we know better (notwithstanding the immunization truthers out there single-handedly bringing back polio and other once-dormant diseases).
How about the Lambeau Leap? Something spontaneous that started in the 1990s to celebrate an exciting defensive touchdown has morphed into this lame, played-out, grudging “tradition” where any fool who catches a touchdown has to haul his ass over to the stands and jump half-heartedly partway up the wall to receive hugs and back-slaps from fans. Do the players even like doing it anymore? It feels like more of a chore than it is a release. If I’m a player out there in the freezing cold, do I want to go hug a bunch of drunken fans and have them spill their beer all over me? And, I’m sorry, but if you’re too fat to make it all the way in the stands, you need to admit to yourself that the Lambeau Leap isn’t for you. It’s embarrassing!
I elicited a couple of friends to help me out with this exercise – one of them a Bears fan from Chicago currently living in California – and got some choice responses. So, let’s talk about cheese. And I quote:
Other states have cheese, and we don’t wear it on our heads. California makes more cheese than Wisconsin and we’re not dicks about it. We’re dicks about a lot of stuff but cheese? C’mon.
I couldn’t have said it any better. The term “cheesehead” was a slur that fans from other states would use in reference to fans in Wisconsin. And these cheeseheads are so dense, they didn’t even realize when they were supposed to be offended and co-opted the term to talk about themselves! I’m going to gloss over the whole N-word parallels for
the time being ever and just say YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS WITH THOSE FOAM CHEESE HATS!
Also, what’s the deal with there literally being a Packer fan at every single sporting event in America? Look, WE GET IT, you’re a fan of the Packers! But, do you have to show up in Packer Gear all over the place? I can already tell by how badly you stink of cheese and sausage sweat where your allegiance lies, but this is a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres.
Finally, I’m just going to say it: every Packer fan thinks he’s better than the rest of us. In Green Bay, they play REAL football (except, that’s not remotely true, because they haven’t had a consistently dominant defense or running game since Vince Lombardi hung ’em up). In fact, I would wager to say SEATTLE – and not Green Bay – is keeping the flickering light of “real football” alive with what Pete Carroll has created.
Oh, but in Green Bay, they play through all the elements, wearing the sub-freezing temperatures like a badge of honor. Except, guess what, it’s cold in A LOT of places in December and January. Buffalo, Chicago, Denver, New England, and yes, it even gets chilly in Seattle from time to time. BIG FUCKING DEAL!
Hey, but in Green Bay, you’ve got a publicly-owned franchise! You know why that is? Because if any smart businessman owned that team, they would’ve moved it the HELL out of Green Bay decades ago! You’re talking about the smallest media market in the entirety of North American sports! So, they’ve got “shareholders”, but all these rubes get for their $250 donation is a piece of paper.
- What kind of Communist utopia is this? I thought this was America!
- If you weren’t a stockholder from 1950 or before, your power over the franchise is essentially worthless
What I really want to know is, who’s REALLY in charge? There’s got to be corruption up the ying-yang in their Board of Directors and their Executive Committee. HOW MANY SLUSH FUNDS ARE YOU HIDING, MARK MURPHY???
And, not for nothing, but this Mark Murphy guy – who’s the sitting president of the Packers – was a former player for the Redskins? Are you joking me? By all accounts, he has no ties whatsoever to the city of Green Bay; who let this carpetbagger have control of your franchise? Have you no PRIDE, Green Bay?
The whole stockholder thing is the biggest con in professional sports. In that sense, I almost feel sorry for these people.
Except, they helped usher Brett Favre into our lives, probably the most annoying aspect of the Green Bay Packers in the history of the franchise. I would’ve given damn near anything to see him win a Super Bowl as a member of the Vikings. Talk about over-rated; Brett Favre is the epitome of the Green Bay Packers. This franchise was the toast of the league back in the dark ages. Then, when the 1970s rolled around, Vince Lombardi was long gone, and things got a little too REAL. The Packers had all of FOUR winning seasons from The Merger (1970) thru 1991, appearing in the playoffs twice and winning exactly one playoff game. This is your great and proud franchise? Two decades of utter ineptitude? I’m sorry, but there will be no looking down upon the Seahawks with a record of futility like that.
Then, they pull off the trade for Brett Favre (who the Seahawks would have drafted if Chuck Knox had his way), and usher in over 20 years of success. Why do THEY deserve to have two of the most prolific quarterbacks of all time back to back? Even so, with their 17 playoff appearances since Brett Favre donned the green & yellow, they only have the two Super Bowl championships. Think about THAT! Brett Favre broke just about every single record a quarterback could possibly have, and he only netted one title. Aaron Rodgers might go down as the greatest of all time, and even HE could only muster the one!
Russell Wilson has played all of three years and is already closing in on his second. I’m just saying.
In this run, the Packers have gone only 17-14 in the playoffs, with disappointing one-and-done exits in six of those years (including their post-Super Bowl year where they went 15-1). These aren’t the Patriots or the Cowboys. Yet, talk to a Packer fan and they’ll make it sound like the Packers are the greatest dynasty of the last two decades.
Well, I’ve got sour news for you, Jack. You’re coming into Seattle on Sunday. Your run ends here. And, much like half of the 1990s – where you played a near-constant second fiddle to the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers – you’re staring at the howling maw of a NEW dynasty. One of relentless destructive power. Your current quarterback is this generation’s Peyton Manning, from all of his cringe-worthy endorsements all the way down to his being a Regular Season Dandy, with relatively little post-season success. If that’s not the biggest back-handed compliment you’ve ever received as a Packers fan, I don’t know what is. The thing about it: you kinda know it’s true. Don’t you?
You wanna know something else? I know for a fact that Packers fans – especially those living in Seattle – feel that Seahawks fans are nothing but crybaby whiners. While that may or may not be true, I would argue that Packers fans are no better than us or anyone else in that regard. Don’t believe me? Try to have a civilized conversation about the Fail Mary, which for the record WAS correctly ruled as a touchdown catch (bring it, Packers fans, you don’t scare me!).
It’s okay. We can be friends again after Sunday. You may have had our number in the Holmgren years, but we’ve got your number in the Carroll years. And that’s gotta get your goat most of all.