Friday, January 11, 2008

Playoff teams and their fans

At Epic Carnival, What was that bang? once again tells you who to root for based on the suffering of a team's fanbase. A highlight: "The national media often portrays Packer fans very glowingly: they're the small-town heroes, a fun-loving bunch that's loyal to their community owned team no matter what. As a Viking fan, I see Packer fans a little like you probably see Yankee fans: obnoxious bullies that always get what they want."


  1. Anonymous12:36 PM

    We hear alot about suffering MN sports fans here but I think MN pro sports teams have won 2 titles in the last 40 years vs 1 for Wisconsin sports teams.

    Comparing Packer fans to Yankee fans is ridiculous. Wisconsin fans are always rooting for the underdog--media coverage alone of the Packers for this play off game suggest the Packers are non-entities (other than Favre). Compare this with the Yankees (or Cowboys for that matter).

    As PV always makes certain to point out folks in the Twin Cities live in a classy area, surrounded by museums and parks and clubs and so forth--which is remarkable for the Midwest. People in Wisconsin have nothing other than cow dung and generally mediocre sports teams like the Bucks and Brewers. So if every 10 to 30 years Green Bay wins a title I think its almost a cosmic payback for the rest of it.

    Most people in Wisconsin have empty lives fulfilled only by their hard work in the fields and love of Brett Favre. Let them have it.


  2. Anonymous1:11 PM

    *sniff sniff* Smell that? *sniff*

    That's jealousy.


  3. You're forgetting the Bucks' title before Kareem bolted.

    But compare how Yankee fans treated Red Sox fans pre-'04 to how Packer fans treat Viking fans. Fans of the team with more championships than anybody frequently point out the long, long championship drought of a rival. They'll point out their own history of success while belittling their rival's lack of success. Which is perfectly natural, of course, but I think you can see why I think you're like Yankee fans. And I've been taunted for other things beyond my control (the Packers play in Lambeau Field while my team plays in a Dome, which is supposedly supposed to reflect negatively on the character of the team I root for and myself).

    And if you really haven't noticed the love salivated on Green Bay and its fans by the national media, you're not paying attention.

    I'm not surprised at your outrage at being compared to Yankee fans, but your protest suggests how deeply you want to hold onto that "glowing...small-town heroes, a fun-loving bunch that's loyal to their community owned team no matter what" self-image.

  4. Anon reflects precisely that "obnoxious bully" attitude--Packer fans are always telling me that I'm just "jealous" of what they have, which inherently implies they think they are superior to me and I should be jealous.

    But yes, I jealous. I'm jealous of all fans that have seen their favorite teams win a championship. I'm jealous of Patriot fans, of Colts fans, of Steelers fans, of Buccaneers fans, of 49er fans, of Rams fans, of Ravens fans, of Cowboy fans, of Bronco fans, and yes, of Packer fans.

  5. Anonymous11:17 AM

    As a Packer fan living in Minneapolis, it pains me to admit it, but I've seen plenty of GB fans who smugly deride Vikings fans. And it's unattractive behavior. But then a curious thing happens. Without fail, the insulted Vikings fan will respond with "Yeah, but the Twin Cities has Art, Culture, Busines, etc., etc., while Green Bay is a wasteland of fat and beer and cheese."

    So who's really being smug and here?

    Yes, the national media lay on the "small town" thing a bit too thick. During football season. But do you ever hear about Green Bay the remaining 7 months of the year? How about New York, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, even the Twin Cities? Those places get national media attention year round, for many, many reasons. So pardon us Packer fans if we enjoy our brief moment in the spotlight.

    The comparison with the Yankees isn't apt. What characterizes the Yankees and their fans is entitlement. The Yankees, playing in the largest and most lucrative media market in the U.S., simply buy championships. And that's what makes Yankess fans so insufferable: they're from the greatest city in the U.S., and they've got the best baseball team too (though not lately). They've got everything. And they root for a consistent (and I mean, consistent over decades and decades) winner, which is the easiest thing for a sports fan to do. They're not worthy of respect as sports fans because they've never known true hardship.

    The Packer fan motivation is slightly different. We may be smug about our team, our jewel of a stadium, our tradition, etc., but once the season's over there's not too much going on in my beloved hometown. The current Packers team may not be an "underdog" on the field, but the city of Green Bay and the people who live there take pride in an underdog mentality. Green Bay is not beautiful. It doesn't boast fine restaurants, a thriving arts scene and many of the other things that make big cities great places to live. But people love it there because it's a small, modest community, it's affordable, and you can raise a family there without worrying too much about "big city" problems. I would hardly call their lives "empty," as a previous anon poster did.

    The appeal for the Packer fan is that the smallest NFL city competes with teams from the biggest cities. That's the definition of an underdog.

    The other key thing here is that the team's recent success (during Favre's career) came after a 30-year period of mediocrity and hoplessness. Two generations of Packer fans grew up with the lowest possible expectations for their beloved team. But we hung in there. And they Favre came to save us all. So pardon us if we're enjoy the rewards of our loyalty.