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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, April 20, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

Aaron Rodgers returned Sunday to lead the Green Bay Packers to the playoffs, sending Wisconsin into a tizzy. (PHOTO: Jim Biever / Green Bay Packers)

Abiding love of Packers puts the rest to shame


I guess the song was right.

You DON'T tug on Superman's cape.

Superman, in this case Aaron Rodgers, got his cape tugged and responded with a miracle throw that sent millions of people into the kind of ecstasy usually reserved for things like a Papal Blessing, an unexpected and glorious sexual encounter or winning ticket in the lottery.

So, yes, our quarterback rescued from the officially damaged list, came back stronger than ever as he led the Packers to the NFC North title with that miracle of a win over the Bears on Sunday.

Thrilling? Of course! Exciting? Beyond belief! A certifiable miracle? No doubt!

But there is something deeper here. Something between we fans and this football team. An it's not an easy thing to explain.

We love the Milwaukee Bucks and we love the Milwaukee Brewers. Hell, maybe some of us even love the Admirals and the Wave.

But comparing our love for them with our love for the Packers is like comparing our love for our first child with our love of pizza. I think it's a given that the Green Bay Packers have place in our hearts where there is room for only one.

But, why? What is it about this relationship that makes it a bond unlike any other in sports, heck yunike almost any other in life.

I think history plays a role. The Packers were one of the founders of the National Football League. They have been a good team most of the time. Oh, there have been down stretches, but generally speaking they have competed on equal footing with the big cities in this country.

There is no logical way that a team in a city the size of Green Bay should even exist today. But thanks to smart management and the revenue sharing of the NFL, the Packers don't just exist. They flourish.

But the love affair depth is something more than history and Super Bowls and David vs. Goliath. It is more than Don Hutson and Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke and Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver. It's more than Bob Harlan and Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren.

Above all of that, the reason for the love affair is us. Ourselves. It takes two people tp have a love affair and two people to have a marriage.

On one side we have all the Packer stuff. On the other side, we've got us.

Make no mistake about it, a big part of the love affair with this team has to do with us. I have been in every city in the league, every city in the NBA and every city with a baseball team, and no place are the fans as nice as we are. It's not even close.

We are much, much nicer than the fans in any other city. Listen to the callers to sports talk shows in Chicago after that game last Sunday. The calls and the hosts called for everything from killing Jay Cutler and the entire defensive backfield to firing all the coaches to calling out the defensive line as a bunch of crybaby wimps.

In Milwaukee, after a Packer loss, we search for a bright spot. We want to give the guy another chance. We even have some praise for the winning team. We are the ultimate "wait 'til next week" fans.

The cynics from the big cities laugh at us. They think we are hicks. But they are wrong.

They equate hickness with niceness. But they are wrong.

Because we are nice, we help create an atmosphere of love and support. We are a part of the Green Bay way of doing things. It's an honorable way. It's a decent way.

And it's our way. We share that way with the organization. We truly are in this together, but the way we approach our football and the way we approach our lives.

And that, more than anything else, helps explain why our love for the Packers is so unique, and so deep.


Talkbacks

DTtoBurbs | Jan. 3, 2014 at 12:49 p.m. (report)

This just in: All.tickets.have.been.sold. Weather must be fair for Sunday.

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Photodavie | Jan. 2, 2014 at 9:48 a.m. (report)

DTtoBurbs - This will be my 14 playoff game at Lambeau. 1st time tickets were made available to public ever. And now 1st time we are at risk of having the game blacked out. Making the playoffs isn't enough for WI fans. Just like I bet many WI fans did not watch the Badgers yesterday because it wasn't the Rose Bowl. WI fans are fair-weather as they come.

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Photodavie | Jan. 2, 2014 at 9:45 a.m. (report)

TosaJim - I am a season ticket holder and am going to the game. I've been in much colder games. The weather doesn't explain why all of the sudden the Packers are at risk for their 1st ever blackout game. I agree is easier and cheaper to stay home, but you could say the same for every sporting event. It's the experience you are paying for. To be able to say you were there. And cost/hastle is no worse than a regular season game. And hotels are available for 1 night for $125 less than 3 blocks from Lambeau.

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DTtoBurbs | Dec. 31, 2013 at 8:17 p.m. (report)

@Photodavie, you mention the other teams selling out 2 weeks in advance. This first-round playoff game vs. SF was determined on...Sunday...which has been 2 days now. Days, not weeks. Do you really think this game wouldn't be sold out in 2 weeks, let alone in the next 5 days? And fair weather fans? Seems to me those seats are always filled - and filled through the end of the game - even when the season is a bad one. We're ALL-weather fans. Not sure the number of tickets remaining at this point is an accurate reflection of the dedication or loyalty of the fan base. I'm with Dave - it's truly something special. Whatever it is.

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TosaJim | Dec. 31, 2013 at 5:18 p.m. (report)

Photodavie...have you ever been to a Packer game is this kind of weather? The seating is really cramped...the fans are standing for much of the game...parking is crazy...driving to and from is terrible...prices for food and beer is costly....then the local hotels double their rates and make it a 2-night minimum stay....plus...the ticket to get in is very costly too.....or...I could stay home, near my kitchen and bathroom, watching the game and replays on my high definition tv...relaxing on my leather recliner. :) I love the Packers...been a fan for many bad and some good years..... Go Pack! (Happy New Year Dave B.)

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