Green Bay Packers and the NFL: Fans and Fanatics

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Green Bay Packers and the NFL: Fans and Fanatics
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After the latest round of Green Bay Packer fan mishaps, we can all be glad that Green Bay did not go down to rival Chicago Bears. One 11-year-old girl was already choked out this year by her drunk mother in Appleton, Wisconsin because of a Green Bay loss. We don’t need any more incidents.

Fans of all sport teams have the potential to go from fan to fanatic when distressed and worked up. Add alcohol to the mix and that recipe can be one for over-enthusiastic disaster. With WI being the number one drinking state, coupled with some of the most enthusiastic and devoted fans in the nation, the Packers have seen their fair share of good fans gone wild.

As for the mother who dared put her hands around her daughter’s neck, to make matters worse, she did it twice before police contact became involved. Her unfortunate husband also was the target of a misplaced punch and witnessed a ridiculous spectacle of broken lamps and overturned dinner plates.

A short stone throw from my town, a Pardeeville, WI man was not able to convince his seven-year-old son to willingly don a Packer jersey during a playoff game four years ago. His, um, creative solution was to restrain the boy with tape and likewise secure the jersey to his body with tape as well. The mother, fortunately, reported the incident and the father was cited.

I too was recently able to see a side of bad fan behavior recently. After posting an opinion piece that, clearly, was not well-received by the majority, I had countless harassing posts telling me what a stupid, dumb, moronic writer I am. Did you know that I lowered my readers' IQs that week?

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The hostility that was dished out over a sports-related matter was mind boggling. Despite my degree in Journalism, it was apparent many felt the Bleacher Report must obviously hand out Feature Columnist positions like Halloween candy, half blinded by their favorite oversized sports helmet resting haphazardly on their head.

Seeing the public reactions of so many “adults” who would so blatantly insult someone rather than just disregard it and move on, was disturbing. Perhaps I was being a prejudice bigot at the time, but damn it, this is America, we are supposed to be above death threats due to different opinions. (Unless you want to bring back intolerance and remove free speech?)

Football really does reach us to our core now, doesn’t it?

If I could get so much hate mail over an opinion, then I can clearly see how a slightly unstable fan(atic) with a few too many drinks could snap at the end of the play clock. It’s unfortunate and heartbreaking when it is directed at children, but unfortunately not all adults are, well, adult.

With the playoffs fast approaching and game parties being set into motion, we can wonder who will be the biggest offenders of football code of conduct.

Green Bay certainly is not alone in the Fanatic Hall of Shame. A Seahawks fan knocked a police officer unconscious last week after the officer attempted to eject him from the game for inappropriate behavior.

Candlestick Park has hosted a few of its own tyrannical outbursts this season. After a preseason tailgating disaster, two men left in the back of an ambulance with bullet holes as their only game souvenir. A third man was badly beaten. Fast forward to Week 15 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and we have another attack on our hands, this time the victim was a 66-year-old man.

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As for the upcoming playoffs, these all-important and holy occasions are in an ivory tower of their own. The weight that a playoff game carries represents an entire year’s worth of scouting, draft choices, roster selections, dedicated practice, critical coaching and precise execution. If there were modern Roman Gladiators, our talented NFL men would be in the center of our television coliseums. These games matter, and the fans know it.

The game leaves dedicated fans with an essence of adrenaline-filled excitement of a disabling letdown of despair. As for me, I will be paying extra attention to these games, ready to award and nominate for the 2011 Season Absurd Jerk Award (SAJ). Perhaps we can request that Mayors hand out locks to the cities as a reminder to those that they are not welcome around balanced and sane fans, especially children.

Despite the ridiculousness that comes along with fanaticism, at times it can be downright comical. If you know of a story of a true fan or a zealous fanatic, post and share for our readers' amusement.

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