I went to a Garth Brooks concert on Thursday night. I’m not a huge fan of Brooks, but my wife loves him and he’s one of the biggest artists of my generation. I figured seeing Brooks live would be a good time, and I was right. He was great.
My main worry about seeing Brooks wasn’t so much the quality of his performance, it was his fans. More specifically, country fans. Even more specifically, bro country fans.
Bro country (aka pop country) is one of the lowest forms of entertainment ever created. I despise Jason Aldean almost as much as I despise Jay Cutler. To me, there’s little difference between Florida Georgia Line and Al Qaeda. Luke Bryan needs to be muzzled.
The terribleness of bro country music is made worse by the moronic fans of bro country music. You know, the 22-year-old dudebro who lives in the suburbs, buys a cowboy hat at Gap and starts using a fake southern accent. Or the 27-year-old who works in a skyscraper downtown, but thinks he’s a farmer when “Dirt” plays on the corporate-owned pop country radio station for the third time in an hour.
I was worried these creatures would be in Brooks’ audience and negatively impact my enjoyment of the show. Thankfully, I didn’t see many of them. There were very few cowboy hats in the crowd. No bro country frat boys were slamming Bud Lights and sexually harassing women. I didn’t hear anyone pretend to know how to operate a combine or manure spreader.
I equate fans of Philadelphia sports teams, including the Eagles, with bro country fans. People try and attach a certain level of charm to Philly fans, but there’s nothing charming about throwing up on kids or having to install a prison at your football stadium. Just like bro country fans give fans of legitimate country music a bad name, Philly fans give all sports fans a bad rap.
It’s because of Philadelphia sports fans that people think sports fandom is for the simple-minded and obnoxious.
On Sunday, it is up to the Green Bay Packers, home to one of the best fanbases in all of sports, to stand up to the Eagles and their bro country fan base. A victory for the Packers is not just another victory on Green Bay’s march to the Super Bowl, it’s a victory for legitimate sports fans everywhere who are sick and tired of being lumped in with the dolts who cheer for the Eagles, Phillies or Flyers.
It’s a victory for decency. Don’t let us down, Packers. Here are five reasons why they won’t:
Man in the middle
Who knows if we’ll get another week of Clay Matthews playing middle linebacker, but I think we should. Chip Kelly is probably foaming at the mouth just thinking about the possibility of getting LeSean McCoy or Darren Sproles in space against A.J. Hawk or Brad Jones. Matthews has the speed to actually pursue sideline-to-sideline and negate some the speed advantage the Eagles’ offense enjoys over the Packers’ defense.
Whoa! Special teams as an advantage for the Packers? Against the Eagles? You’re probably wondering if I’ve listened to one too many Blake Shelton songs and now my brain is rotting away. Hear me out: The Eagles rely heavily on their special teams. If you can contain their special teams, you’ve got a huge leg up on beating them. The key to containing the other team’s dangerous special teams unit is having a good kicker and punter. It sounds overly simplistic, but I believe it to be true. Mason Crosby will boot kickoffs out of the end zone and Tim Masthay’s directional punting will frustrate the Eagles’ special teams all afternoon. Advantage Packers.
He’s probably mad about not setting the NFL record four touchdown passes in a game against the Bears and will take out his frustrations on the Eagles.
The Packers beat the Bears 55-14 despite having both guards operating with toe/ankle injuries and Morgan Burnett still hobbled a bit with a calf injury. These nicked up players have had another week to heel up. Good news for Green Bay.
Lambeau Field advantage
Watching Rodgers and the Packers’ offense operate at home is a work of art. Rodgers is able to use his snap cadence to get the defense to show their cards pre-snap or hop offsides. Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari don’t have to deal with noise and a fast track when trying to block speed-rushing ends. It feels like playing at Lambeau is once again a significant advantage for the Packers.
Sigh….sometimes good doesn’t persevere over evil. Just like bro country music outsells actual country music, sometimes the Eagles win and reward their fans for boorish behavior. Here’s how that could happen on Sunday.
The Eagles have some speedy pass rushers, exactly the types of rushers who give Bryan Bulaga fits. Yes, playing at Lambeau will help negate some of that speed on the edge, but Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox are the real deal. If the Eagles can sit back with two safeties and get pressure on Rodgers with minimal blitzing, well, Packers fans have seen that scenario go bad for Rodgers and the offense all too often.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .