As a lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers, I was obviously ecstatic about the outcome of Super Bowl 45 this past Sunday. The last time the Packers made it to the Super Bowl, I was 13 years-old and when the Packers won their last Super Bowl title, I was 12 years-old. That was such a long time ago that I actually still played with Barbies. In fact, I think I played Barbies instead of watching the half-time show. (We can keep that fact between us. I wouldn’t want my middle school friends to find out about that I played Barbies up until the 8th grade. They won’t think I’m cool anymore.)
Anyways, it’s easy to say you love your favorite team when they win a world championship, but I’d like to say that I would still love the Green Bay Packers if they went 0-16 this season. Obviously, it would be more painful, but I am not a fair-weathered fan by any means. There have been some painful seasons to watch in the last 6 years, including the 2005 season when they went 4-12 and in 2008 when they went 6-10. I don’t remember them doing so poorly that season, in fact, it wasn’t until Aaron Rodgers mentioned that fact on Letterman the other evening that I remembered they had a losing record in his first season as starting quarterback. Ah well, I guess you really can’t win ‘em all.
I don’t just love the Packers for their athleticism and winning records (and good looks), but I like what they represent. To me, they represent something more than just football. Here’s what I mean:
1) The Packers are the only non-profit team in the NFL and they can still win championships. Imagine that! A team in the National Football League that is not for profit. The Green Bay Packers are the only team that is publicly owned and they are also the smallest franchise in the league. They have stayed true to their roots and they can still win the Super Bowl.
2) The Green Bay Packers are all about teamwork. With 15 starters on the Injured Reserve, they had to be! This season was all about stepping up to the challenge and filling in the shoes of key players. Even during the Super Bowl, the Packers lost Donald Driver and Charles Woodson to injuries. These guys were instrumental both on the field and in the locker room. During all the post-Super Bowl hoopla, every player that was interviewed gave credit to their fellow teammates for their hard work and skill. No one took personal credit for the Super Bowl win and they easily could have (*cough* Aaron Rodgers).
3) The Green Bay Packers are dedicated. With so many injuries each week, the Packers could have easily thrown in the towel and no one would have blamed them. However, each week rookies, undrafted players, and back-ups stepped up their game, allowing the Packers to pull off wins in unexpected places. My favorite story is the story of undrafted rookie Frank Zombo. During the preseason, he was given the chance to play due to other player’s injuries. However, after he sprained his ankle, he had to miss practice. He realized that his chances of playing were already slim, so he simply taped up his ankle as tight as possible, went out there and proved himself. Zombo earned himself a spot on the squad and played all season long. Now he has a Super Bowl ring. That is the kind of attitude I admire.
4) The Green Bay Packers have the best fan base in the league. If you’ve ever been to a game, you will see what I mean. Green Bay Packers fans love their team more than any team in the league and the feelings are mutual. It takes a special kind of person to sit through countless games in sub-zero weather with cheese on their head. In addition, did you know that all of the people who work the concession stands at Lambeau Field during games are volunteers? Talk about devotion. Packers players always reference the excellent fan base and even crotchety old Brett Favre will attest to the fact that his Green Bay fans were unlike any fans in the league.
5) The Green Bay Packers have a dreamy starting quarterback. Have you ever seen Aaron Rodgers? Very kind on the eyes. Not to mention an outstanding athlete, a stellar team leader, and a charitable guy off the field. A real class-act.
What makes the Packers so loveable is that they embody qualities that are successful both on and off the playing field. Being a Green Bay Packers fan is a true delight. I don’t see how anyone could not love a publicly owned, professional football team from Small Town, USA, whose fan base adores them and will wait in long lines to help shovel out the home field on snowy days before games. I understand that people have their allegiances to their hometown teams, but when it comes to the Green Bay Packers other teams pale in comparison.