IT'S THE WINE, CHEESE, AND LUTEFISK COMMUNION!
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-- Packers or Vikings, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Cor 12:13 The BETTER CHEDDAR Translation
I have lived in the Midwest my whole life. Born in the little town of Cable Wisconsin (pop 280ish) and at the age of 11 I learned the game of football. The year was 1968 which was the fall after the Packers had won their 3rd straight NFL title the previous season of 1967, and had won their second straight Super Bowl. There was only one team to root for in Wisconsin... and for some the Packers were a religion.
In 1975 I graduated from High School, and a few short years later moved to Minnesota. Since then I married and raised a family in this fine state and LOVE IT HERE.. all while remaining loyal to my mediocre Packers. During these years the Vikings in contrast were good.. let me correct that .. they were VERY GOOD. Most years the Vikes made the playoffs and ultimately played in FOUR SUPER BOWLS. So many great players on those Viking teams and so many wins. I TRULY HAD FOOTBALL ENVY, but never jumped ship even though I have now lived in Minnesota longer than my home state of Wisconsin. Even in church there was persecution for Cheeseheads.
During the first 20+ years after becoming a fan in 1968 I watched mostly mediocre Packer football, in contrast the Minnesota Vikings were one of the premier teams of the 70sand 80s. Unfortunately for the land of 10,000 lakes they lost all four Super Bowls they played in which was a painful disappointment.. BUT how many teams even make it to the Super Bowl.
From 1967 through 1983 and then one additional year in 1985 the Vikes were led by Hall of Fame head coach Bud Grant. Grant was a class act and his teams had a true cold weather persona that was feared in the NFL. In contrast I must admit the Packers had maybe 2 seasons with a winning record, but most years were simply weak.
In 1992 the sun finally shined again in Green Bay. Mike Holmgren came to town as coach, Ron Wolf was the General Manger. Holmgren and Wolf changed the mediocre Packers to a championship team in just a few short years adding star players Brett Favre as the gunslinger QB, and Reggie White was the BIG free agent signing that changed everything. In Holmgren's 6 years as head coach the Packers were in 2 Super Bowls while winning 1.
The Holmgren era were followed with more successful years with the Packers in the playoffs most years and making it to the NFC championship in Favre's last season with the Packers. In summary my first 20+ years as a loyal fan of the mediocre Green & God was now replaced with one of the best teams over the next 20 years ( 1991 - 2011 )
Being a fan of the Packers all these years with Brett Favre as QB was both a thrill and exasperating. Then finally the day came when Favre retired.. then un-retired, retired again, then un-retired and GASP.. GAG.. signed with.. the cross border rivals.. the Minnesota Vikings. Favre played 2 season with the Vikes. His first year with the Vikes he was 40 years old but had maybe his best year as a pro leading the Purple & God to the NFC championship. where they lost in overtime to the Saints. Favre was amazing in 2009 and should have been MVP which hurt all the more for us Packer fans who were teary eyed like a jilted lover when Brett left us for the Vikes. Not only did Favre play great for the Vikes, he also beat the Packers twice that year. The only consolation I could find about 2009 was that finally Favre threw a season ending interception for another team as Brett threw a pick late in the 4th quarter as they were driving into field goal range, and the Vikes then lost the NFC championship game to the Saints in overtime.
In 2010 Favre was back for one last try to get back to the Super Bowl, but was hurt most of the year and played poorly as the Vikings missed the playoffs and Favre retired.. AGAIN.. and (knock on wood) is staying retired. In contrast the Packers limped through the regular season with more injuries to key players than I thought they could over come. They did slip into the playoffs and despite all the injuries they played their best football down the stretch and clinched a spot on the last day of the season. Once in the playoffs they continued to ROLL. Winning 3 road games to make the Super Bowl and then.. WON THE SUPER BOWL beating the Pittsburgh Steelers! Aaron Rogers emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the league and played at a level that made me forget about that 2-timing quarterback Brett Favre. Not only was Rogers great.. he did not share the ball with the other team (ala interceptions) like Brett the gunslinger Favre was prone to do.
In summary, I have been a die hard fan of the Green Bay Packers since 1968 enduring mediocrity followed by years of success including 2 Super Bowl wins that can only be fully enjoyed by a sports nut like me. In contrast my sons Curt & Nate who were raised in this fine state of Minnesota are die hard Viking fans but are now experiencing their turn at the DIP IN THE ROAD to the Super Bowl. The Vikings are a team in transition, and so the Ups & Downs are part of the roller coaster ride for all sports fans.
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