I was born in Milwaukee in 1983 to a father whose own family had lived there for their entire lives.
I am a Packer Backer. A Cheesehead. A die-hard fan. It's in my blood.
During the 90's, I was finally old enough to start getting into the fine sport of football. As you well know, this was a decade where the Green Bay Packers started to shine again. Brett Favre came into the picture as a much-needed franchise quarterback, and the ride has been an exciting one ever since. I got to see the Packers go to back-to-back Super Bowls, even though I had to witness their loss to Denver in the second one.
Through the years, my bond with this team has only grown. . . to a point where I watch a game with more emotion than is probably healthy. Every touchdown is a joy, every fumble or interception a disappointment.
And in this time, I have learned that my true enemies are the Chicago Bears, the Minnesota Vikings, and even the Detroit Lions. (Tampa Bay used to be on this list, but things have unfortunately turned a different direction. Those were always fun games to watch.) With Chicago, this old rivalry is founded on a high level of respect. With the Vikings, the story is different. There is much, much more loathing than admiration. And when it comes to the Lions, well... they have always been "just" the Lions.
I am now living in Pittsburgh. And while I have also become a Steelers fan (even before I moved here), this does not compare to my love for the Green Bay Packers. To many people, I tell them the Packers are my NFC team and the Steelers are my AFC team. But while I love being able to watch the Steelers every weekend, I would much rather be able to watch my Packers.
When Green Bay comes to the Three Rivers on December 20th, my eyes will be glued to every minute of that game. However, when the clock runs out and the winner declared, I can't deny that I will be upset if the Packers have to add another "L" to their season record. That being said, I simply cannot wait for the Steelers to take on the Vikings. It will be a great game, especially if Minnesota goes down in flames. (The Steelers-Bears game was a tough pill to swallow.)
Unfortunately, this year has not been nice to the Packer Nation. Of course, you all know what I am referring to: Brett Favre.
I am disappointed with this state of affairs, to say the least. As I have noted, Favre was really the first quarterback I ever knew as a Packer fan. But the times have changed, and so have the faces of the Green Bay organization. For I also remember the year when, sadly, Mike Holmgren left to become the coach of the Seahawks.
But herein lies my point. I owe nothing to Brett Favre outside of all the support I gave to him when he was a Packer. As such, I did not root for Seattle when Holmgren became their coach. Nor did I root for the Vikings when they picked up Ryan Longwell or Darren Sharper.
As a true Packer Backer, my support lies with the team. This franchise of today will never be the same one it was a year ago, or ten years ago, or when Lombardi made history in Green Bay. I have stood and will always stand by my team - through the ups and downs, the bad decisions and good, and the wins and losses. That's what loyalty is.
So when someone asks me about Brett Favre, I say, "He's a Viking." Because that's all I need to know. My allegiance has always been to the team, never to any single player. The faces will change every year, but they will always wear green and gold. I love the Packers, and no matter what happens, no one can ever change that.
And that, to me, is what it means to be a Packer Backer.