17

July

Packers Video: Green Bay Packers 101

Every Green Bay Packers fan has faced this question at one point or another:

“Why the Packers?”

The fan then gives their reason for their apparent insanity.  It could be the team’s tradition or it could be a family tradition or a Wisconsin birthright for those born in the Dairy State.  Each fan has their own unique story as to how and why they became and still remain a Packers fan.

In rare circumstances, you may find yourself at a loss for words (because the Packers are so darn awesome) or you might have difficulty explaining your fandom to someone who prefers a much more visual medium.

If that’s the case here is WatchMojo.com’s Greatest Sports Franchises series on THE greatest sports franchise, the Green Bay Packers.  It serves as a great “Packers 101″ for anyone who knows little to nothing about the team’s history.

Those poor uneducated souls.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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26

June

Stinky Cheese: The Broken Bond Between the Packers and Fans

Something smells funny in Packer Nation.

Something smells funny in Packer Nation.

The relationship between the Green Bay Packers and their fans has been one of the most special in all of professional sports.

Instead of one deep-pocketed owner running the show, the Packers are literally owned by the fans. Each owner has stock in the team that gives them voting rights at the team’s annual shareholder meeting each summer at Lambeau Field.

The team has over 360,000 shareholders that can call tthemselves NFL owners.  Of course that many people can’t oversee the Packers’ day-to-day operations so that’s where the president and CEO, currently Mark Murphy, comes into play.

You would think that such a unique ownership structure would create the strongest bond between a team and its fans in the history of the NFL.

In the past it certainly has, but in this modern age of the NFL, the relationship between the Packers and their fans is not as harmonious as it has been even going back just one decade ago.

In fact, you could argue the Packers and their fans have a broken relationship and not everything is well in Packerland.  The team and its fans could even use some “couples therapy.”

It’s time to face the truth: the Packers don’t care about their fans as much as they used to.  The same, to be fair, could be said about the other 31 NFL franchises, but this realization will sting particularly hard for Packers fans given the ownership structure of the team.

The NFL is a money making machine.  Profit is what makes the league go round and after the lockout in 2011, the league knows fans will watch no matter what they do or change. They’re shaking their moneymaker for all it’s worth.

The same could be said for the Packers. The team’s decision making process is no longer driven by the well being of the fans but rather that of the almighty dollar.

Some of the decisions have been truly mind boggling as well.  Look at the sudden decision of the Packers to do away with Fan Fest, a multiple day gathering at the Lambeau Atrium for fans to mingle with players both past and present as well as other activities.

The team cited declining attendance as one reason for it’s demise (the 2011 event was canceled due to the lockout) but at $85 a ticket, there was a reason many people stopped showing up.

16

September

Green Bay Packers Superfans and their Stories – “The Owner” Steve Tate

Green Bay Packer Superfan Steve Tate, aka “The Owner”, is a ubiquitous presence in Green Bay. Go to just about any Packers-related event and you’ll see Steve there in full Packers uniform wearing his “The Owner” cheesehead. Here is his story:

When did you first become a Packers fans and what is the background story behind it?
I have been asked this question a number of times and I have two basic answers.
1) As long as I can remember I have been a big Green Bay Packer fan. I think it all goes back to that we were fairly poor when I was young and there was not a lot of entertainment or trips and my dad was gone working long hours. But every time the Packers were playing we would listen, or watch them. In the 60s the Packers were the NFL’s best team and they became the first and real America’s team.
2) From this background I have tracked back to when I first became a Packer fan and that goes back to April of 1957. I was born in January of 1958.

What are your earliest memories of the Green Bay Packers?
Winning, family and the guys flying with the backpacks that made them airborne in Super Bowl II!

How did your Packer fandom evolve into the persona “Steve Tate, NFL Owner”?

I have always wanted a Green Bay Packer share of stock. I did not think there would be another stock sale so I wanted to buy one that was issued to someone else for my personal Packer collection. I started my Green Bay Packer memorabilia collection when I lived in Nebraska for 3.5 years when a friend gave me two Packer rookie cards in 1992.

Therefore, when the Packers had another stock sale in 1997, I jumped at the chance to contribute to the Packers and become a shareholder. I just got my share of stock near the end of 1997. The Packers were Super Bowl XXXI champions.

8

September

Green Bay Packers SuperFans and Their Stories: St. Vince

Every Green Bay Packers fan worth his/her salt knows St. Vince.  Wearing his holy garb, he can be seen in his low-level end-zone seats, along with his cheese-bra wearing wife, “Cheese Louise.”  St. Vince has become synonymous with Lambeau Field and is almost as a big a celebrity in Green Bay as the players are.

Before every home game, he is mobbed by Packer fans wanting to take pictures, get autographs and kiss his Super-Bowl ring. St. Vince truly shows the patience of a saint, obliging every request, and blessing fans with his cheerful personality. I am always fascinated by people who take their Packers fandom to a “higher” level, so I just had to get to know a little about this “Paragon of Packers Piety:”

When did you first become a Packers fans and what is the background story behind it? Also, what are your earliest memories of the Packers?

My earliest memories of the Green Bay Packers were when I was about 5 years old. The ritual with our family was like that of thousands of other families back then….You get up on Sunday, have breakfast and go to church. You then come home and watch the Green Bay Packers on TV and then have your Sunday meal. I did that for about 7-8 years from about 1957 to 1964 and learned a lot about the game. Then in 1964, my Grandfather got two very good tickets to a Packers game at Milwaukee County Stadium and took me to see my first Packers game. Since I had never seen the Packers on anything other than a black and white TV, I was momentarily surprised to see all the color when I walked thru the tunnel and saw them on the field! From that point on, I was HOOKED on watching games in-person versus watching them on TV! I did everything I could to go to games in Milwaukee and Green Bay. We lived south of Madison, Wisconsin so it was about 160 miles to Green Bay and about 80 miles to Milwaukee. So the problem wasn’t only getting tickets to the game, but figuring out how to get there as well!

How did your Packer fandom evolve into the persona “St. Vince?”