How I Became a Packers Fan: The Age of Enlightenment

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How I Became a Packers Fan: The Age of Enlightenment
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I have a confession to make.

I rooted for the '85 Chicago Bears and the '96 Green Bay Packers.

 

Yes, I loved “Sweetness,” “The Fridge,” and that crushing defense. And I also loved Brett Favre, Reggie White, and Mike Holmgren.

 

I know this begs the question: How does this Packers fan explain once doing the “Super Bowl Shuffle?” How can one explain being on both sides of one of the legendary rivalries in sports?

 

Whatever you want to call me; don't call me a fair-weather fan.

 

When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible. Born in Chicago, my father set out to train his son to be a faithful Chicago sports fan: Wrigley, Blackhawks, and the Bears.

 

I watched with child eyes. William Perry was my favorite player because he seemed like a nice guy. He must have been, since Coach Ditka let him score a touchdown, even though that wasn't his job.

 

With age comes wisdom. And, for me, specifically, it included a relocation to Green Bay. This was eye-opening. I learned that the team was owned by the town, which happened to be the smallest in the NFL.

 

Chicago was a city and the team was owned by a rich family more concerned with money than winning. I realized I had been rooting for Goliath all these years.

 

This was before the days of satellite and NFL Network; I had to watch Packers games. Around the time the Packers started Don Majkowski, I found myself rooting for the Packers without any hint of my former allegiance. My teenage rebellion was complete.

 

By the time Favre took over, I could barely remember rooting for the Bears. When the Packers won in 1996, I celebrated as much as anyone. I skipped school to welcome the team home. As the buses paraded by downtown, I gave high fives to half the team. At one point, some of us were able to touch the Lombardi trophy as White held it out the window of a firetruck.

 

I can't say I've been a life-long Packers fan. But my change of heart was honest and for the right reasons. And, you have to admit: the timing was excellent.

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