By Bob Brainerd Special to Published Oct 20, 2006 at 7:04 AM

I am a passionate pigskin fan, who every Sunday, lives and dies with the ebb and flow of my team. Like everyone else, I pump my fist over clutch plays and curse when it looks like the call came out of the sandlot.

Yes, I sweat and bleed for my team …but unlike many of you, the blood in my veins is aqua and orange.

Hello, my name is Bob Brainerd and I’m a recovering Miami Dolphins fanatic.

This week was supposed to be my chance to strut around town, sporting every piece of clothing I have featuring The Fish. The table was set this summer. The Packers are rebuilding, the Dolphins, building on a strong finish in 2005 under first-year head coach Nick Saban. With Super Bowl XLI in Miami, the thought of a World Championship home game seemed like more than a pipedream.

Instead, the menu serves up a Week 7 battle to see who wants their second victory of the season. Last on the Fox broadcast team totem pole, former Brewers announcer Matt Vasgersian will no doubt draw this putrid assignment.

Everyone wonders how a kid born and raised in this land of Cheeseheads turns his back on the green and gold and adopts South Florida’s franchise. I was 10 when it happened. The Packers in the early '70s couldn’t live up to the glory days in the '60s. Times were tough, wins were at a premium and the faces on the roster had little fan appeal. Bored with the product, I sought out another pick of the NFL litter.

It was Christmas Day 1971, and Miami was in Kansas City for an AFC playoff battle. I remember being pried away from the black and white set because the holiday dinner was being served. After devouring sugar plums and seasonal eats, I returned to find the game still up for grabs … ’Fins kicker Garo Yepremian finally settled the matter in sudden death double overtime in what is still the longest game in NFL history. I was hooked.

It was a great ride. Miami made three straight Super Bowl appearances, winning a pair back to back and producing the only perfect season in NFL history. I picked a winner to root for and players like Bob Griese, Larry Csonka and Paul Warfield became posters in my bedroom.

Along the way, Green Bay did me and the Miami organization plenty of favors. The Packers passed on former Wisconsin safety Troy Vincent -- the Dolphins had the Pro Bowler for his first four seasons. The Packers scooped up T-Buck. Yep, cornerback Terrell Buckley was the choice two slots ahead of Miami in 1992. My favorite is another home state standout, wide receiver Chris Chambers, who was sitting there in the 2001 second round, waiting to be plucked by the receiver-hungry Packers. Mike Sherman instead went with Robert Ferguson. Thanks Mike. Now, are there any punters out there that you really like?

Sure, in a state full of cows, a fan of the fish sticks out. But we’re harmless. Walk down any Wisconsin street wearing Bears or Vikings garb and you’ll get your fair share of glares and taunts. Miami is non-threatening; a team the Packers play once every four years, maybe. The Dolphins lead the all-time series, 9-2, but this latest matchup doesn’t likely won’t end up on ESPN Classic.

As bad as things are going these days, Packers fans, try holding your head high with a Dolphins cap perched on top. Miami was expected to make noise in the AFC East, where a 8-8 record is deemed a success for Mike McCarthy’s first year squad. Sunday’s game is now a jockey on the April draft board. Quite sad. If Packers fans live in the past too much and yearn for the days of Vince Lombardi, I’m not much better. I’m always crossing my fingers that Don Shula will rethink this retirement thing and get back on the sidelines! 

And then there’s Brett Favre. The longer he sticks around, the more of Dan Marino’s records breaks. He’s killing my idol! But, I can’t bash Brett.

Favre mirrors Marino. He’s a warrior who puts the whole team on his shoulders and wills his way to victory. I tell gridiron geeks all the time to enjoy Favre while you have him, because once he is gone, you will miss him dearly. Marino’s final game, a 62-7 playoff death march against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000, reminds me that someday, Favre will call it quits in a similar scenario. Neither QB will ride off into the sunset like John Elway did. Even the greatest players of all time can’t script their swan song.

And you don’t replace a legend with another one the next day. You live through faint copies nowhere near the ability of the great one under center. For me, it was the likes of Damon Huard, Ray Lucas, Jay Fiedler, Sage Rosenfelds and now, Joey Harrington. Soon, Aaron Rodgers will begin a long line of Favre-wannabes. 

This is life in the NFL, but it still hurts.

I am displaced and dysfunctional. But once you make that investment in your team, you stick with it. That’s why, I’ll be couch-side riding the Dolphins roller coaster on Sunday, hoping messed up Miami can beat the pathetic Pack. But there will be no postgame phone calls to college buddies. My 1-5 team beat your 1-4 team. Hardly “in your face” material.
Bob Brainerd Special to
Born and raised in Milwaukee, what better outlet for Bob to unleash his rambling bits of trivial information than right here with

Bob currently does play-by-play at Time Warner Cable Sports 32, calling Wisconsin Timber Rattlers games in Appleton as well as the area high school football and basketball scene. During an earlier association with FS Wisconsin, his list of teams and duties have included the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and the WIAA State Championships.

During his life before cable, Bob spent seven seasons as a reporter and producer of "Preps Plus: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel High School Sports Show."

And the joke is, Bob has a golf shirt from all four Milwaukee television stations. Sad, but true: Bob has had sports and news anchor/reporter/producer stints at WTMJ, WISN, WDJT and WITI.

His first duty out of college (UW-Oshkosh) was radio and TV work in Eau Claire. Bob spent nearly a decade at WEAU-TV as a sports director and reporter.

You may have heard Bob's pipes around town as well. He has done play-by-play for the Milwaukee Mustangs, Milwaukee Iron, and UW-Milwaukee men's and women's basketball. Bob was the public address announcer for five seasons for both the Marquette men and women's basketball squads. This season, you can catch the starting lineups of the UW-Milwaukee Panther men's games with Bob behind the mic.

A Brookfield Central graduate, Bob's love and passion for sports began at an early age, when paper football leagues, and Wiffle Ball All Star Games were all the rage in the neighborhood.