Friday, February 4, 2011

A Vikings Fan's Report from Behind Enemy Lines

It has been amazing being a Minnesotan, especially a Vikings fan, living in Green Bay during this Super Bowl run.  I’ve learned a lot about the people of my new home; some confirming, but most enlightening.   

Here are my observations, fresh from behind enemy lines.  
  • We know Packer fans are fanatical.  But have you ever really talked to one?  Odds are good that they know an encyclopedic amount about football.  Men, women, kids, doesn’t matter.  And not just about the Packers.  This city knows a shocking amount about the NFL.  It’s astonishing.  Remind me not to join a fantasy football league while I'm here.  
  • While this city wants to win the game (check that, there’s a palpable feel that they’re going to win), there is an overarching aura of pride that will gracefully (and correctly) accept this season for what it was – an improbable and incredible run for a team decimated by injuries.  
  • Added corollary: there are no detractors here.  None in the media, none on your street, none at work.  Zero.  It is like living in a state full of Sid Hartmans. 
  • I’ve counted just about every Sunday, and the ratio those wearing Packers attire to church is one in six (that ratio will likely be destroyed this Sunday).  As a retailer in the region, I can attest to the popularity of green and gold apparel, accessories, anything. I've been in retail most of my career, and I've never seen anything like it.  
  • The economic activity of what has transpired these past playoff weeks is massive.  If you retail anything in Green Bay - liquor, food, clothes, gear, beads at the gas station, you name it - your numbers are up a missive amount from the same time in the previous year.  As we're privately held, I can't get into work details, but trust me when I say the impact this team has had on our financials these past weeks is shocking.  You've heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?  Suffice it to say if the Packers win, it will likely lead to a Green Sunday.
  • Those unfamiliar with Green Bay assume that since it is an NFL franchise city, it must be significant in size.  You couldn't be more wrong.  Green Bay is 105,000 people soaking wet.  Imagine your own example of a city of similar size, then imagine plopping your favorite NFL franchise smack dab in the middle of it.  That explains a lot of the pride and fanaticism.  
The bottom line to all of this is that, yeah, Green Bay fans are certifiable, they're also loyal (win or lose), learned, and while it is hard to admit, endearing.  I know that will likely get me kicked out of the Jared Allen fan club, but it's the truth.  
As a Vikings fan, watching the whirlwind of what happening all around me, I can't help but be a little green as well.  
Unfortunately, my green is from envy.    

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