The Packer Fan's Quandary: Saints or Vikings This Weekend?
For those of you who are wondering, no, this will not be a Brett Favre love fest-related argument.
As much as I love the guy and everything he did for the Green Bay Packers organization over his tenure there, I cannot countenance supporting any man who chooses to put on that purple uniform and work for the most evil organization in the NFL.
Because to me, that's what the Vikings are. Evil. And by evil, I don't mean that they are out there committing crimes against humanity or anything like that. When I say that the Vikings are evil, and then I say that Kim Jong Il is evil, I'm talking about two completely different concepts that just happen to have the same name.
I view it in this manner: I believe that I am fundamentally good, and that by extension the things and people that I choose to associate with are fundamentally good, or at worst neutral. So the Packers, being an extension of my own goodness, are good.
If the Packers are good, then the team that is their chief rival, which for the vast majority of my lifetime has been the Vikings (not counting those few years when the Buccaneers and Warren Sapp were the power in the NFC Central), must be evil.
Now, the question presents itself, "If you hate the Vikings so much, why would you consider wanting them to win on Sunday?" The answer, though hard to both spell and pronounce, is simple: schadenfreude. It's a term that means taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune. I love to see the Vikings fail.
Now, I don't believe that this was always the case; I used to be kind of "live and let live" when it came to being sports fan. If a friend's team won the Super Bowl instead of mine, I'd be happy for him or her, provided he or she wasn't lording it over me for the whole offseason.
But not anymore. Four years of living in Philadelphia, where there were true rooting interests, unlike those I encountered in Las Vegas, and decades of pent-up frustration across all four sports, at least until the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, caused my view of sports as a diversion to be irrevocably altered. Add one really vindictive Flyers fan as a roommate, and I don't have any sympathy for the fans of my team's enemies anymore.
So, the suffering of Minnesota fans is something that I derive a good deal of pleasure from. And for it to be really meaningful suffering, it has to be in a new way, and on a big stage. Case in point: no one in the NFC North cares about the suffering of the Lions outside of Michigan (except in those rare instances where they steal a win from one of us), because it's been confined to regular season for the most part, and because they're suffering in the same way every year.
Now, you see my quandary: Vikings or Saints this weekend? If the Saints win, then the Viking misery continues. But, having the Vikings win this weekend has the potential for an even greater humiliation on Super Bowl Sunday.
For you see, if the Vikings win in New Orleans, then proceed to lose the Super Bowl (to the Colts or Jets, it doesn't matter; though I think the Jets beating Brett Favre the year after he leaves them has a certain sense of poetry to it), they would break a tie with the Bills at an 0-4 Super Bowl record. A loss means they own three records: worst Super Bowl record, most Super Bowl losses, and longest Super Bowl losing streak. A very tempting carrot indeed.
The downside of the Vikings making the Super Bowl, of course, is the chance that they win. This has treble effects for Packers fans: first is the obvious merriment that would be heard coming from across Wisconsin's western border. Just thinking about all those purple people celebrating a Super Bowl victory makes me sick to my stomach.
In addition, there is the inevitable Brett Favre-related fallout. This has two aspects: first, there will be the inevitable condemnation of Ted Thompson by uninformed fans for pushing Brett out of town.
Now, I am currently anti-Mike McCarthy, but pro-Ted Thompson. Look at every position on our roster with the possible exception of offensive line, and you can see that Ted has done an amazing job acquiring talent for Green Bay. The Packers' biggest problem this year was too many penalties, which is a lack of discipline issue that I place mostly on coaching.
However, Ted might get the (in my opinion undeserved) axe if Brett wins another ring for Minnesota, or if nothing else will be hounded by Brett Favre acolytes, of which there are plenty, even in Wisconsin. That in and of itself would be a big part of the aggravation of a Vikings win.
The other part is that unlike Joe Montana, who is reported to have played for the Chiefs at the end of his career, though few pictures exist, if Brett Favre wins a Lombardi for Minnesota, every highlight reel will show him in that repulsive purple uniform. I can see him now, waving his "We're Number One!" index finger around, jumping into the arms of his Viking teammates, and generally ruining all his Packer Super Bowl highlights by creating Viking counterparts.
So there it is, the entire scenario laid out in front of us. In a sense, we as Packer fans are similar to the Colts in Week 16. We face a choice: play it safe, and hope the Vikings lose this weekend; or chase the dream, and hope the Vikings make it to the Super Bowl, where the stakes are much higher. A win, and Green Bay's greatest rival gets its first Super Bowl victory. A loss, and Minnesota becomes the most abject failures in the history of the Super Bowl. An interesting dilemma, indeed.
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