Friday, September 28, 2007

National Friday League, week four

MPR tells me this game is a hot ticket. I'm really sort of amazed that I'm attending a Packer-Viking game, and one in which Favre is still the quarterback for the Packers. I look forward to spending the day in my seat right in front of a big advertisement (it's really nice attending a game with nobody sitting behind you. Seriously). And there's good reason to sit through halftime, as Chuck Foreman enters the Ring of Honor.

Since it's Packer week, we get to hear from Packer fans about how the Vikings haven't won a Super Bowl, how we're lousy fans for this, and all that. So I thought I'd chime in not with the adolescent jokes about the attractiveness of the fans or childish puns like "Viqueens," but actually examine the fundamental differences between Viking and Packer fans. What is the difference between a typical Packer fan and a typical Viking fan?

1. Geography. Let's not kid ourselves: which state we're born (or which team our families grow up rooting for) pretty much dictates which team we root for.

2. Packer fans tend to think being a Packer fan makes them superior fans. I've encountered this attitude many times in my days in Wisconsin. Packer fans seem to generally see themselves as more loyal and more devoted than fans of any other team.

3. Viking fans tend to expect failure and disappointment more than Packer fans. Packer fans have had their disappointments (4th and 26), but their team has also won a lot of championships. Viking fans root for a team that has never won a championship and has had seasons end in highly dramatic and traumatic fashion (Nate Wright, Gary Anderson, Nate Poole), and these events have tended to make us, on some level, expect the worst.

Without engaging in immature, foolish name-calling, do you see other differences between Packer and Viking fans?

We might also remind readers of wwtb?s message for fans of teams that have championships, and his feelings about Packer fans living in the Twin Cities.

The actual game? Who knows. The Packers will throw a lot: maybe that will mean a lot of turnovers in Thunderdome, maybe it means the Packers torch the Vikings for long drives. Hopefully the Vikings can run the ball against a stout Packer defense (and if they could complete a pass or two over 10 yards, all the better).

Now that Denver has Champ Bailey AND Dre Bly, does that mean they can stop both Marvin Harrison AND Reggie Wayne? I guess no, and that it doesn't matter anyway--the Colts can run, the Colts can find other pass catchers, and the Colts can seemingly play defense. But it will be fun.

Philadelphia-New York
I expect Donovan McNabb to so utterly destroy the New York secondary that I'm seriously considering subbing Kevin Curtis in for (possibly) Reggie Wayne in fantasyland. For some reason, this game seems fun to me.

Mark Craig writes that young QBs often struggle in their first few starts, and we need to be patient with Tarvaris Jackson.

MDS writes about why Roy Williams isn't quite as cheap as reported (but Roy, you have to be a good tipper. I respect cheapness: George Costanza is my fictional hero, and I write for a blog that is occasionally about frugality. But you have to tip delivery people and waiters well--you've got to respect the working people. I actually tend to order carry-out just to avoid having to tip a delivery person, actually, but if a delivery person is coming to your door, giving him or her some change, man. Just round up. Or better yet, stay cheap, but keep a stack of autographed cards by the door to give out. Or do whatever you want, and score 6 TDs this week for my fantasy team. Whatever you'd prefer).

Daily Norseman doesn't think the Metrodome should honor Favre if he breaks the TD record.

In pointing out the racist history of Washington's nickname I Dislike Your Favorite Team notes that L. Frank Baum used the word in arguing for genocide. Ugly. I wonder if Gregory McGuire knew this when he wrote Wicked, since that book inverts Baum's heroes and villains, and features an oppressive and violent government that marginalizes and destroys groups of people and beings.

Enjoy your weekend everybody. Except Packer and Bear fans.


  1. Anonymous12:08 PM

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, PV. I think you're on to something with your #3 difference between Packers/Vikings fans. I think it's rooted in the Minnesota character -- this stoic, Scandinavian fatalism. It's a theme in Garrison Keillor's Wobegon monologues each week too: life is tough out here on the freezing cold prairie, expect the worst and you won't be disappointed. And Vikings have reinforced this attitude with some of the most spectacular choke jobs in the history of sports. Packers fans know disappointment, for sure, but we've never had to stomach anything like the 1998(?) NFC championship game loss to the Falcons.

    And you're right -- as a Packers fan, it pains me to say this -- Packers fans are often guilty of being smug and superior about their team. I'd argue that we have good reason to be that way, and it has only a little to do with championships, but it's still an unappealing quality.

    But what's equally unappealing is the bitterness, resentment and jealousy that characterizes so many Vikings fans.

    I've been to games at Lambeau and the Dome. It's true that Lambeau is full of drunken yahoos (less so these days, since it's so expensive to go to games now). When I was growing up, I'd go to a game in the winter and think I'd suddenly been transported to Denver, what with all the blaze orange in the crowd. But it was just all the people whose only winter clothing was for hunting. Drunken hicks. Fair enough.

    But the Dome was a different experience altogether. There's a real mean-spiritedness in many Vikings fans, and it's ugly to see it on game day. That doesn't seem to fit the state character - the Minnesota nice, the humble Lutheran church basement ladies. I think it's unique in Minnesota to Vikings fans.

    The lack of championships is part of it. But I think being in close proximity to the Packers and their fans has really caused this. The community ownership of the Packers is the root of all Packers fans' smugness and all Vikings fans bitterness. This is our team, quite literally. People in Green Bay saved the football team from oblivion on more than one occasion, that's an immense source of pride for us. When we pay outrageous prices for tickets and merchandise, we can at least take solace in the fact that we're not enriching some sleazy owner like Red McCombs (Zygi Wilf seems like a decent guy, but I'd be resentful if I were lining his pockets).

    As the stadium debate waxes and wanes in Minnesota, fans realize their team could up and leave them at any time. This strikes fear into the hearts of Vikings fans. Packers fans simply never have to consider such a thing, and that must be galling to Vikings fans.

  2. Only a Packer fan can be smug enough to say we the People own our team.Then go on to say its expensive to go to a game.You pay the same price we Vike fans to go to a game.Same vendor prices,same for a shirt and a hat.And your not lining anyones pocket.
    Now as far as the Championship thing.The Pack won in what 61 and 62 then takes what 35 years to get there again.Your right we are very jealous of that.NOT...
    Every Pack fan seems more worried that the Vikes might move more then me.Cause to tell the truth if they did move they would still be The Vikes.Just the location changes nothing else.Twice a year we would still get to stomp some Packer butt.
    Btw what the hell do they charge all you Pack owners for that silly looking cheese wedge.

  3. Anonymous10:56 PM

    Geez, speedlod, calm down.

    I don't know the deep psychological reasons for why Vikings fans are so bitter, just that they are (and your post illustrates that better than I ever could). I tried to explore that question above, and I was trying to be thoughtful about it. If you want to jump down my throat about it, that's fine. Let's take a look at your "argument."

    "Only a Packer fan can be smug enough to say we the People own our team.Then go on to say its expensive to go to a game."

    No idea what you mean by this. How is this smug? I was lamenting the fact that games have gotten so expensive. I never claimed that community ownership meant that tickets were cheaper. It's a shame that games are so expensive, and many ordinary fans are being priced out of the NFL. The Packers are as guilty of that as anybody. I was merely pointing out that at least, when I pay outrageous ticket prices, I'm not enriching a single individual, especially not somebody as unappealing as McCombs or Jerry Jones or some other disreputable character. The Packers organization operates as a nonprofit, which means that any profits generated are reinvested in the business. Unlike the usual NFL ownership model, where profits go directly to the owner or owners. I think the Packers model is much more appealing. I guess you don't.

    Yeah, the Packers won championships in the 1960s (actually, they've won 12 of them, dating back to the 1920s), then endured a 30-year drought until they won another. You're not jealous of that. Okay, I believe you.

    Here's the thing for Packers fans. It's not so much about the championships (did I mention there are 12 of them?), it's about an 80-year tradition. Against some pretty heavy odds, the small city of Green Bay was able to support a professional football team that was not only competitive, but sometimes was the best team in the NFL. The people of Green Bay, and Wisconsin generally, take a lot of pride in that. If we're smug about something, that's it. Packers fans today are a part of that tradition, and that's why there's a strong bond between the fans and the team.

    It's also why the Packers are such media darlings (this is particularly galling for Vikes fans: all the attention the Packers get, particularly Brett Favre). It's great story. The small-town, cold-weather team from the heartland, competing against teams from cities 20 times Green Bay's size.

    My feeling, and it's just a feeling, is that Vikings fans wish they were part of something like that. Instead, the tradition the Vikings are known for is choking in big games. You're not jealous of the Packers championships? Okay. I believe you.

    "Your right we are very jealous of that.NOT..."

    Hey, were you my college roommate in 1990? He loved using "Not" the way you do. Haven't heard anybody else use it since. Is that you, Steve?

    "twice a year we'd still get to stomp some Packer butt."

    Which year was that? Not last year. Because, as I'm sure you remember, the Packers swept.

  4. Unfortunately,you dont come across as even trying to have a conversation.
    And you never mentioned how much those silly cheese wedges are.
    Its not that Favre is not a good QB.Its just I think theres 20 other QBs that are better.
    If you want to build a shrine to Favre in your living room go right ahead.Just dont get ticked when I dont.
    If you the Packer fan has bought the Stadium and the Packers.Then the cost to go to those games should be cheap.
    And you have 88 years of so called tradition as The Pack was founded in 1919.
    And its not the Team that gets attention but Favre.
    You never hear them talk about The Pack as a whole team, just slobber over Favre/
    But go ahead The Pack is your team, you guys own it great.Glad you feel your part of it high prices and all.
    Sorry if you been mistreated at dome,I am sure theres Vike fans been abused at Lambeau.I got a neighbor who is a Pack Fan but he doesnt force his team on anyone.

  5. Anonymous1:50 AM

    What are we both doing up at this hour, speedlod?

    Thanks for elaborating on your previous post.

    I don't know how much those cheeseheads are. I don't own one. Between you and me, I think they make the wearer look sorta like a jackass. But they're no worse than those silly horns-and-braids that I see Vikes fans wearing. So maybe we're even there.

    You're right, the national media do slobber all over Favre. It bugs me because I think he's accomplished amazing things in his career, and his reputation doesn't need a lot of bullshit heaped on it from people like John Madden. When they start in with, "Well, he's just having so much fun out there," and "He's such a competitor," my eyes roll too.

    Part of it is that there aren't any other stars on the current Packers team (well, Donald Driver, but other than that...). And part of it is the NFL's need for positive stories. After Michael Vick, the Cincinnati Bengals, Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, etc., etc., the league is starved for good role models. A good 'ol, tough country boy who's triumphed over personal adversity is a great story.

    Anyway, it's not Favre's fault and not the Packers fault either. If it bugs Vikings fans I'm sorry, but you'll just have to get over it.

    I have no idea where he ranks all-time. In his prime, I think he was capable of absolutely taking over a game and shredding opponents' defenses. And the toughness that he gets so much praise for -- it's not a joke. The dude is strong. Watch his highlight films and you'll see him shrugging off D- linemen left and right. I'd put him in the top 10, but it's a debate for the ages.

    The Dome can be rough for opposing fans, though I'm sure it's a walk in the park compared to Oakland, Philly and New York. And I've seen plenty of ugly behavior from Packers fans at Lambeau. Still, I do think the Dome crowd is rougher on visitors.

    It's late man. I gotta get to sleep.

  6. Insomnia is why up late had it years.If I get 5hrs sleep in 24 hrs thats a good day.
    Why not root for your team be proud of it but use the rule of thumb that past the tip of your nose involves someone else space.
    I am not only a Vike fan but love football as a whole game.Thats why the NFL package so that when football season comes around I watch it.
    As far as Role models, I am the first role model for my kids.My actions dictate what they will say and do.I want them to be good at whatever they choose to do in their lifetime.But I also dont want them thinking that if your good at what you do.That you can put on airs and such.
    Too often we put Hollywood stars and sports stars on elevated levels.Then we expect them to be role models for our children.We get outraged when they are caught in wrong doings.
    Thats our fault that we require others to act like role models for our children.When its our job to do so in the first place.