(I dislike group generalizations. Where I've regretfully slipped into such here, I ask you to forgive me, and enjoy it in the spirit of fun, and in the spirit of rivalry. I claim none of this to be rational, fair, or unbiased. I'm trying to express the unreasonable disdain I feel for the Packers, the wordless sense of antipathy I have for this team).
I'm a Viking fan. Knowing this, some Packer fans may now consider themselves morally superior to me. Why?
Because I root for a team that plays indoors. I should root for a team that plays real football, that braves the elements to play a man's game, not root for a bunch of wimpy crybabies that play on turf. My favorite team plays in a dome, and I should be held individually responsible for this.
Because I root for a team that has a shiftless, fickle fanbase--the Vikes don't even sell out all their games. This should be considered an indictment on each individual Viking fan, regardless of how devoted he/she is as an individual.
Because I root for a team that has never won a Super Bowl, a team that always chokes. This, too, is a reflection of my own sorry character.
Perhaps other Viking fans have experienced the sense of moral superiority, the holier-than-thou attitude that Packer fans sometimes exude. Packer fans are rather proud of the devotion the state of Wisconsin has for the Packers--and they should be. The Packers are not merely a sports team that plays in Wisconsin, but a dominating facet of Wisconsin culture. But I've encountered Packer fans who lord this over me. I think a many Packer fans really believe they are better fans than any other fans. No, not as a group--the Packers do have a large, devoted fanbase. I mean as individuals: I've sensed that individual Packer fans believe they are superior to individual Viking fans just because of their rooting interest. Wisconsinites will sometimes remind me that everybody in their families roots for the Packers, that there are pictures of them as little babies dressed in Packer gear, that it's so hard to get tickets to Lambeau because the fans are so devoted. I've been told Packer fans would never leave Lambeau Field early. Some Packer fans used to tell me what a rotten human being Randy Moss was, often suggesting the Packers would never have a player like him on their team. Because Packer fans are salt-of-the-earth human beings, and they will only tolerate morally upright players on their beloved franchise. It usually amounts to this: the Packers have a long, rich tradition, and Packer fans are special because they are a part of it.
And it doesn't matter that there are baby pictures of me in a Viking shirt. And it doesn't matter that I grew up hearing stories from older family members about Bud Grant, Alan Page, Karl Kassulke, Chuck Foreman, Carl Eller, Fran Tarkenton, Matt Blair, and the rest. And it doesn't matter that I too have suffered for my team, feel the emotional sting of every loss. It can't matter. Because the simple fact is I root for the Vikings, and thus I'm an inferior fan to any individual that roots for the Packers.
No, I don't root for a team that has won a dozen championships, that has the Super Bowl trophy named after its legendary coach. I don't root for a team that plays in the football cathedral of Lambeau Field. I was born too far west, to other people who were born too far west, and thus took to rooting for a different team, the Minnesota Vikings. We love the Purple, but our relationship with them is not very peaceful. Rooting for this team has made us slightly bitter, has made us perhaps bristle all the more at Packer fans, rooting for their team with 12 championships, always able to ask "How many Super Bowls have the Vikings won?" always able to remind Viking fans of Drew Pearson's pushoff, of Gary Anderson's missed field goal, of a trophy case devoid of championship trophies. And that's why I know my feeling toward Packer fans is not fair, does not actually match my character in other facets of life. Because I do root for a team with no championships, because I do root for a team that consistently breaks my heart, I'm all the more galled when Packer fans remind me just how special they are because they root for the Packers.
My reaction to Packer fans is partly consumed with my own self-loathing and feeling of inadequacy. It is not jealousy--at least, it is only jealousy to the extent that I'm jealous of all fans who have seen their favorite team win a championship. Perhaps it is resentment. Or perhaps its the strange pride that comes with a certain type of suffering.
So I guess I'm also speaking to my Packer fan friends (for I have many). I know I haven't been the easiest to deal with. I'm the one dancing around gleefully, unable to stop smiling, when the Packers lose. I'm the one always trying to tear down the mythology of your team. And so I recognize my disgust of the Packers is partly a personal psychological problem. I can't wish you any more joy from your team. I hope that if the Vikings win a Super Bowl, this will pass. If I could just root for a team that has won one Super Bowl, I'd mellow out. I would still root against the Packers, but I wouldn't be consumed with the hate (which I recognize as self-hate directed outward).
But as it is, I do hate the Packers. I hate the sound of their name, I hate their colors, and I can't ever really like any players on the team. My perception that individual Packer fans believe themselves to be superior to me may be incorrect. It may be that because I root for a team with no championships, I see that hideous green and yellow and am reminded of what I lack. For I find the purple and gold beautiful. What I want to see is purple and gold confetti falling down upon a Super Bowl celebration. And if I can see that, no matter what happens, I'll be able to say "The Vikings won the Super Bowl." And then all the arrogance of Packer fans will mean nothing to me. I'll have reached a state of sports fan peace.