This weekend, the Battle of the Bays gets a modern reboot as the Green Bay Packers rekindle their rivalry with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. And as always, there's much to discuss. Which future hall-of-fame quarterback will get the best of this rematch? Will the Packers rebound from their first meeting this season in which the Bucs slapped the Pack around the field, 38-10? How will the weather be at Lambeau Field – and will that affect the warm weather Tampa team? Can the Packers get pressure on the famously shake-able Tom Brady? What new and exciting way will Ndamukong Suh find to get flagged and fined by the NFL?
But, with another NFC Championship on the line, we must ask that all-important question: Which team has the better famous fans?
Yeah, sure, there are more important deciding factors – like "touchdowns" and "the scoreboard" – but this question is the true measure of a great sports team. As in the past – in 2017 and 2020 – I'm answering this essential query by utilizing my patented rigorous, pier-reviewed scientific method (aka arbitrary matchups and my own very stupid and biased opinion). Who's team will reign victorious before even the first snap, rendering Sunday's game pointless really because this is the true title that counts, obviously? Let's get down to science:
Boy band battle
Justin Timberlake and Harry Styles vs. Nick Carter
Timberlake/Styles: The Memphis-born pop star and actor is impressively a Packers fan – and sure, it's apparently due to fear of sports-induced decapitation, but hey, whatever works! And it REALLY worked because, when given the choice between selecting the Patriots or the Eagles on the Super Bowl stage, he selected ... the Packers. That's beyond merely a commitment to staying capitated. So he'll almost certainly be rooting for the Packers to say "Bye, Bye, Bye" to Brady and the Bucs this weekend.
"#GoPackGo" - @jtimberlake pic.twitter.com/d6nf4KjBWV — Green Bay Packers (@packers) February 1, 2018
Meanwhile, despite coming from the side of the pond with a completely different football, fellow pop heartthrob Harry Styles apparently bleeds green and gold – literally, according to the singer. But actually, it's not some sort of glorious blood disorder that got Styles to become a Packer backer; it was a roommate in his first touring days who happened to hail from Appleton and educated Styles on the sport and the team – so well that Styles got the Packers' signature G tattooed on his body. So clearly that nameless Appleton flatmate should become president for life of the Packers and maybe mayor of Green Bay too.
Carter: Not to be outdone, in 2019, famed Backstreet Boy Nick Carter got a *ahem* larger than life tattoo of his favorite team – the Buccaneers – and bragged about how the team was going back to the playoffs that season. He even tried to make a bet with national sports writer Peter Schrager that, if the Bucs missed the playoffs, he'd get a tattoo of the NFL Network logo.
Here’s the deal. The Bucs don’t make the playoffs this year I’ll get an NFL Network tattoo and if they DO you get BSB. DEAL? ð¤·ð¼âï¸. #BackstreetBoys #DNAWorldTour #NFLNetwork #buccaneers #buccaneersplayoffs #nflplayoffs #gobucs https://t.co/wltofHHurA — Nick Carter (@nickcarter) August 2, 2019
Spoiler alert: The Bucs went 7-9 and missed the playoffs. Luckily, Schrager turned down the bet, so Carter didn't have to become a walking cable TV network ad.
Verdict: NSYNC was always better than the Backstreet Boys – plus, in this game, two celebs almost always beats just one. Sorry, Nick Carter, but that's the meaning of being lonely. Point: Packers
Baby Yoda vs. Bill Burr
Baby Yoda: Sure, Baby Yoda – pardon me, Grogu – may be a fictional alien character with no dialogue who probably doesn't know what football is, but there's just something about the little guy that says Packers fan. Maybe it's the constant snacking. (You can tell he'd love a tailgate.) Maybe it's that he's small but mighty – perfect for professional sports' smallest town but mightiest fanbase.
Thankfully, we don't have to assume he's a Packers fan; we know the fictional alien is one of us courtesy of real-life human (and Disney CEO) Bob Iger, who spoke on behalf of the precious little guy during the playoffs last year by tweeting out these two very Force-positive (and Packers-positive) images.
Great win for the Green Bay Packers! pic.twitter.com/yz0iYQXewj — Robert Iger (@RobertIger) January 13, 2020
Game time!! Let’s go @packers! pic.twitter.com/C92uGt5hk5 — Robert Iger (@RobertIger) January 19, 2020
OK, they migh just be fan art – but when it comes from the guy essentially in charge of "Star Wars," I'm pretty sure these qualify as canon. Which means, yes, the Green Bay Packers are a part of the "Star Wars" extended universe. If the holiday special qualifies, this does too!
Burr: The famous comedian got launched to a new level of stardom – literally – playing Mando's rascal bounty hunter nemesis on the streaming hit, but that's not all that's changed for Bill Burr as his beloved Thomas Brady flipped teams from the Patriots to the Bucs. But while his heart still belongs to New England, he's said that he's also rooting for Tampa – in particular a Bucs-Chiefs Super Bowl match-up.
Verdict: The Buccaneers aren't even Burr's team. Meanwhile, Baby Yoda's number one love is clearly the Pack (though eggs might come in a close second). Plus, who can no to that cuddly-wuddly, adorable little face!? As a reult, this is the way. Point: Packers
Erin Andrews vs. Dick Vitale
Andrews: She may be the ultimate insider on every team's sidelines during Fox football games, but thanks to her dad, there was only one team she wanted the inside scoop about: the Packers. Even growing up around Tampa, she stuck by the Pack. Plus she rocked this full Packers uniform while covering college football for ESPN, back when she had to be professional and pretend like she doesn't have a favorite. Stupid ethics ...
Vitale: When he's not shouting on the border of coherence in the broadcasters' booth about college basketball, Dickie V is shouting about his Tampa sports teams – whether it's the Rays, the Lightning or the Buccaneers, who he's claimed season tickets for over more than two decades and even claimed himself as their fourth-round draft pick DURING the ACTUAL NFL Draft.
Vitale did not turn out to be the next Tom Brady – but he got the next best thing: the real Tom Brady. So yes, you will not be surprised to find out that he's VERY excited about his team's current run. (Rest in peace, my computer speakers.)
Oh baby The BUCS #awesomebaby @buccaneers â¦@ESPNPRâ© â¦@espnbobâ© pic.twitter.com/EE4LvuXD6i — Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 18, 2021
You know what, I take back the shouting digs. I would watch an entire broadcast of him doing football games like this. Can we get him on the next Nickelodeon NFL game?
Verdict: Andrews may have grown up a Packers fan, but with her career, her cheesehead-ness has had to take a backseat to professional impartiality, resulting in good, safe, political current answers like, "You cheer for the guys and the stories and so forth. I’m a fan of all the people I have relationships with and are good to me.” Somehow this feels like Joe Buck and Troy Aikman's fault. Meanwhile, it's Dick Vitale's never been one to hide his loud, proud fandom in the name of professionalism – whether it's covering a Duke game or, yes, the Bucs. Point: Bucs
Joan Jett and Jane Wiedlin vs. Brittany Snow
Jett/Wiedlin: While you'd think a certain airplane-themed team in New York would be a perfect fit for Joan Jett – especially since she hails from East Coast states like Pennsylvania and Maryland – it turns out the iconic rocker is a Packers fan. Growing up, she saw a photo of the Packers playing a muddy, dirty, grimy game against the Browns and fell in love with the one thing she could make out in the muck: that Green Bay G. So basically the opposite of a "Victim of Circumstance."
Speaking of retro music favorites, Go-Gos guitarist Jane Wiedlin also waves the Packers flag – or socks, in her case. And if you're a little concerned about those Bears socks in the background, she's legit: She's a Sconnie native, hailing from Oconomowoc, and she's a regular Packers poster online – with very accurate observations, might I add.
Snow: While she may have co-starred with some songbird-like Packers in "Pitch Perfect 2" – and she has the perfect last name for Green Bay fandom – Snow's football affections allegedly belong with her hometown team, the Bucs.
Verdict: Normally there's evidence of a person's fandom on the internet somewhere – but this supposed Brittany Snow interview where she professes her Bucccaneers fandom has disappeared without a trace from the internet. Maybe she realized the error of her ways and scrubbed it from the world. Wise choice. Point: Packers
Mark Ruffalo vs. Hulk Hogan
Ruffalo: The Oscar-nominated actor hails from Kenosha and mostly famously plays a superhero whose special power involves turning Packers colors – so yeah, he's a Green Bay fan.
Sweet, sweet Green Bay Packers — Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) February 7, 2011
@Matt_Schwader LOL go packers! — Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) January 11, 2015
Hogan: The most Florida Man looking of all celebrities is, indeed, a Florida man, living in Clearwater and adopting the Tampa Bay sports teams as his own – including the Bucs, posting videos cheering on the pewter and even making a visit to training camp back in 2018 (back when Tampa had those awful jerseys with the alarm clock numbers).
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and Hulk Hogan, a guest at practice today. pic.twitter.com/Q880S6j989 — Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 7, 2018
Verdict: Neither real-life Hulk or movie Hulk has tweeted recently about their team of choice despite their recent success, so it's tricky to decide who's the better fan – so I'll pick the one who I really don't want to see angry, because the rumor on the street is I wouldn't like him when he's angry. Sorry, BROTHER! Point: Packers
Hailey Clauson vs. Gisele Bundchen
Clauson: Again, unless you're looking for hypothermia, swimsuits and Packers season are typically a match made in frozen hell – but SI swimsuit model Hailey Clauson bucked that common logic by becoming a Packers fan. How does a Cali native become a fan of the most un-Cali-like team in the league? For one, a love of winning and success, obviously – but mainly her boyfriend, fellow model Julian Herrera, who apparently helped learn her the ways of Lambeau, including taking her to the sports shrine itself for a game. The cold didn't bother her anyway, as she went to a second game and is still clearly a fan.
Bundchen: Surprise! Who could've expected Tom Brady's model wife Gisele Bundchen would be a big fan of his team?! But really, she seems to have left the Pats well behind and gotten fully on board with his new team – at least judging by this recent Instagram photo, showing off her fandom using the medium of dogs. AKA the best medium.
Verdict: You would think being married to the star quarterback would be the ultimate trump card in this famous fans battle – but really, that just means Gisele is a fan of Tom Brady, maybe not so much the Bucs. Meanwhile, Clauson is a fan of all 52 members of the green and gold, not just one guy, and she's not contractually obligated via marriage to root for any of them. Point: Packers
Lil Wayne vs. Yung Gravy
Lil Wayne: Arguably the most famous Packers fan, rapper and new presidential pardon recipient Lil Wayne has contributed not one but two hype songs for Green Bay, led Lambeau Field in "Roll Out the Barrel," celebrated last week's playoff win over the Rams at the stadium with the few fans in attendance and defended the team's honor against horrible take dispenser Skip Bayless.
@LilTunechi celebrating a @packers WIN #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/MoBDFfQSEO — Fred Thurston (@FThurstonXXII) January 17, 2021
All he needs to do now is throw a touchdown pass on Lambeau Field and yell, "And that is your dagger!" during a game broadcast, and he'll have lived out every Packers fan's wildest dreams. Impressive work for somebody who actually grew up in Saints country – but fell in love with the Pack when they came to town for the Super Bowl.
Yung Gravy: My favorite rapper who makes me think of Thanksgiving dinner, the esoteric Yung Gravy took his place on the Bucs' deck in 2019 when he said he was a Tampa sports fan after the release of his cult hip-hop streaming hit "Tampa Bay Bustdown," which features Chief Keef and also references to Harry Potter and Mary Poppins. You know, those famous Tampa natives.
Verdict: I mean, one rapper is an icon and the other is most famous for being named after a condiment for mashed potatoes. He's not even from Tampa; Mr. Gravy is from Minnesota, so there's a non-zero percent chance this is some elaborate Vikings-themed revenge ploy rather than fandom. So obviously ... Point: Packers
Otis vs. John Cena
Otis: While he may have been born in Vikings country, this bearded WWE wrestler managed to overcome this terrible affliction and became a Packers fan after moving to Superior, Wisconsin as a kid. He clearly never lost his fandom over the years, as he posted these green-and-gold clad photos to Twitter for the Pack's matchup against the Rams last week – complete with a cheesehead top hat, the most dignified and gentlemanly of all the cheeseheads.
GAME DAY is a COMMMMMMMIN’
PACKERS vs The RAMMERS
Gonna be a Showdown
42 Belly Option on 2
READY BREAK! pic.twitter.com/18auYBq32J — OTIS (Dozer) (@otiswwe) January 13, 2021
Cena: Back in November, the "Bumblebee" actor and former WWE superstar was chosen to represent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against LL Cool J's New York Giants in a Verizon promo during Monday Night Football. It wasn't just because John Cena will be the celebrity spokesman and appear in your commercials for just about anything if you ask nicely enough; he's currently a Tampa resident.
Watch me put the finishing moves on my friend @llcoolj during today’s @Buccaneers game. We're going head to head during #MNF using the new @Verizon 5G SuperStadium in the #NFL App. #5GJustGotReal. #GoBucs pic.twitter.com/dXzsi9khRB — John Cena (@JohnCena) November 2, 2020
Verdict: Tampa did end up winning that Monday Night Football spat, but while Cena may be a good luck charm of sorts, there's just one problem: He's not really a Bucs fan. The wrestler-turned-actor pulled a Bill Burr and actually roots for the Patriots. Doesn't exactly bode well for winning this famous celeb fan smackdown if your team's fan representative isn't even an actual fan of the team. Point: Packers
David Ortiz vs. Gary Sheffield
Ortiz: David Ortiz may be an icon of Boston sports – and a current resident of Miami – but when it comes to the football field rather than the baseball diamond, the future hall-of-game slugger's heart belongs to the Heartland and the Green Bay Packers. You can thank his wife Tiffany, a Kaukauna native who met Ortiz back in his minor league days with the Timber Rattlers in Appleton, for that one.
Sheffield: Gary Sheffield and Wisconsin sports: infamously a match made in hell. So it shouldn't surprise you that he's on the other side of this matchup – though not because of some long-standing grudge against the state's sports teams but merely because he was born and raised in Tampa, showing up for games, staying loyal to his particular Florida team even while playing in Miami and most recently appearing in Tampa gear along with current Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski for an internet home run derby.
Verdict: Yes, Big Papi may be a Packers fan, but in this interview, when given the choice between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, Ortiz selected ... Tom Brady. So who knows where his loyalties lie in this weekend's game!? As a result, as much as this devastates me, I have to give Sheffield the win. My apologies, Milwaukee. Point: Bucs
In the end, the Packers claim a 7-2 victory – and frankly, this beatdown could've been much worse. After all, I didn't even include the full list of famous Packers fans including Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Chuck Todd, Greta Van Susteren, Larry the Cable Guy, Ellen, Denis Leary, Jodie Foster, James Van Der Beek, Anthony Davis, Tony Shalhoub and, oh by the way, the newly elected 46th President of the United States of America. Meanwhile, the Bucs remaining celebs include ... that's it! Florida sports teams: not exactly known for their rabid fanbases.
Well, hopefully the Packers deliver as much of a smackdown on the field Sunday as they did off the field today.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.