Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On hating the Packers

(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.


  1. Anonymous8:15 AM

    "Because Packer fans are salt-of-the-earth human beings, and they will only tolerate morally upright players on their beloved franchise."

    Hence Koren Robinson.

  2. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Vikings fans, in general, are the bitterest fans in the NFC North. Lots of anger. Lots of vitriol against the Green and Gold.

    The reason is simple, of course. The Vikings franchise is a raging mess.

    It's the same as coveting your buddy's hot wife. Seeing her just makes you realize what a thugly clod your wife is.

  3. Anonymous11:08 AM

    The post directly above this comment is one reason PV is the way he is.

    While the writer might not have intended it to be that way it is essentially another case of a Packer fan expressing their superiority. It could be re-written like this.

    Viking fans are bitter and angry with lots of vitriol against the Green and Gold. (Re-Write--Packer fans are not bitter, don't have much anger, and don't express vitriol against the Purple and Gold)

    The reason is simple, of course. The Vikings franchise is a raging mess. (Re-Write--The reason the Packers' Fans are this way is simple, of course. The Packers franchise is and always has been a raging-success.)

    It's the same as coveting your buddy's hot wife. Seeing her just makes you realize what a thugly clod your wife is. (Re-Write--It's the same as having pity on your buddy because his wife is an fugly frump and you know he is just jealous of how hot your wife is. He just wants to be you.)

    Seriously. That comment is nothing but another case of a judgmental Packer fan explaining how superior the Packers are and why their fan base obviously is better (because they aren't bitter and because they have the "hot wife")

  4. Anonymous11:59 AM

    If your wife is so hot, why's your state got so many bars?

    And don't be mistaken: there's no gold in GB's colors. They're green and yellow. Got that?

    G reen
    A nd
    Y ellow

  5. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Hey PV, a question:

    On an emotion scale of 1 to 10, if your love of the Vikings is a 10, how strong is

    (a) your like of the Colts?

    (b) your hate of the Packers?

  6. Doug,

    a) 0 if they are playing the Vikings, probably 6 or 7 against anybody else.

    b) probably a 9, 10 when they're playing the Vikings. Maybe things will change now that Favre is gone though.

  7. I should change the Colts to a 5: their losses don't linger with me, affecting my mood for days, causing me to reconsider my attitude and philosophy toward life. In the general way I love pro football, I like the Colts more than most other teams, but the love for the Vikings seeps down at a deeper level.

  8. Anonymous9:26 PM

    I find such thoughts and feelings legitimately odd. While I invest some degree of emotion during the actual contests once completed I walk away fully prepared to do whatever.

    And on a personal level, I feel bad for the Vikings fan base. Because while there has been some degree of talent ownership keeps choosing the wrong football management team. The talent is what has generated the success. The talent has carried coaching staffs of borderline quality.

    I do not "hate" Brad Childress. It just offends me when someone has attained a rather prestigious job based primarily on looking and sounding the part. As opposed to merit.

    Brad Childress rode Alvarez coattails and did the same in Philly. When invested with actual authority he makes poor decisions. He has done this repeatedly throughout his career.

    No, he never spit on my Cheerios. I just cannot sit idly by when a charlatan has control of a multimillion dollar business.

  9. I think I said this last year when you had a similar rant...I don't hate the Vikings. I don't even hate the Bears that much. I hate the Cowboys. As a Packer fan, the greatest bit of excitement/dread for me is when I see the Cowboys are on the schedule (I always think, "this is the year we beat them"). The greatest level of disappointment for me is when we lose. We always lose.
    The division rivals, I love to play. It's ALWAYS good football. I want the Packers to win, but the games against the Vikings and Bears are my favorite games of the year (who cares about the Lions?). Before I moved to the western part of Wisconsin, I didn't even realize that the Packer/Viking rivalry was that big of a deal. If anything it was "The Hated Bears," more than "The Hated Vikings." It's not a slight on the level of competition; it's just that the hatred between Chicago and Green Bay was formed so long ago that it’s just that much stronger. The level of hate for the Bears still exceeds the level of hate for the Vikes, but it’s building Joe…you’ll get an equal amount of vitriol from the Packer fans down the road…and the respect that your club deserves.
    I am also going to add that sometimes it’s good to be hated. Fans usually don’t hate the teams (Lions) that sit idly by as their club wallops them.

    1. Anonymous12:52 PM

      I feel your pain BryanAhHA. As a Viking fan, I always dread seeing the Vike's playing in Tampa (for some weird reason the Vikings have never been able to win IN Tampa). To agree with you, I too don't hate the Bears that much either (maybe it's because I lived in Chicago for a few years) neither do I hate the Packers (I just can't stand those "holier than thou" fans that the Packers seem to have more of than any other team). I don't like those teams by all means, but I don't hate them either. I tolerate and respect them.

  10. Anonymous5:48 PM

    I hate purple. I do think it is funny that you get alot of our washed up players after they leave GB. I think your whole state really kinda sucks (not just the vikings), so don't take it so personally. I can't think of a single good reason to go there; except maybe to get to North Dakota.

    I do think it is pretty funny that the Vikings might move to LA if they don't get a new stadium build with public money. Every goofy Vikes fan swears that is not going to happen... yet they can't sell out playoff games and their city has blown their load on other stadiums for almost every other major team that calls MN home.

    So, can you blame Packer fans for feeling superior? I mean in the unthinkable scenario that the Packers had to build a new stadium, they could just ask the Packer faithful to pony up the cash... PRESTO tons o money for a new stadium. (please see the last time the packers sold "shares" to pay for most recent upgrades).

    On one hand you have a team who might have to leave because they can't make ANY money in a huge city... and on the other hand, you have a team in the SMALLEST market and they don't have any problem making money. There is an 80 year wait for season tickets.

    What would you attribute this disparity to?? Bad luck? Poor weather? Or would the more logical conclusion be that the Packers, simply, have a much higher quality fan base??

    I think you know the answer and are in some sort of sissified denial, partially brought on by your penchant for wearing purple and a school girl pigtail wig.

    1. Anonymous1:02 PM

      You sir, are a piece of shit. People like you are the reason nobody likes Packer's fans. I can see not liking the Vikings because you are a Packers fan, but to say Minnesota sucks is a bit too extreme don't you think (that just solidifies the stereotype that Wisconsinites are "Holier than thou" assholes. Is it because the Packers play outdoors and the Viking play in a dome? Or is it the fact that the Packers have won 4 Super bowls, and the Vikings have yet to win their first? Or perhaps it's because the Super bowl trophy is named after the Packers legendary coach Vince Lombardi? So I ask why? Why are Packers fans always acting like such holier than thou douche-bags? The Packers aren't from god, and the Vikings aren't lower than dog shit. So get over yourself.