Life In Vikings Territory: Perspective From A Packers Fan

I’ve always been a diehard Packers fan. When I was a kid, I remember jumping up and down in front of the TV, screaming at the top of my lungs whenever the Packers scored a touchdown. And to this day, I haven’t changed one bit. On game day, my eyes are constantly glued to the Packers game, while I anxiously wait for my team to score or force a turnover. Every time the green-and-gold find the endzone, I jump out of my chair and cheer, especially when the Pack are playing their division rivals, the Vikings.

However, it’s not all about winning or the Packers scoring. Even when my team loses, I am never afraid or embarrassed to wear my Rodgers jersey or Packers beanie. Though some losses are tougher than others (2015 NFC Championship Game: Packers vs. Seahawks), my day still goes on and I look forward to the next game. Win or lose, I always remain a loyal fan regardless of what part of the country I am in. But in Minnesota, that seems to be a problem.

After I graduated from high school in Wisconsin, I decided to attend college in Minnesota. And let me tell you, I hate streaming the Packers game from my laptop. The Vikings often play at the same time as the Packers, which forces me to watch the game from my computer. Not only is the quality poor, but the experience is definitely not the same. I prefer watching the game in HD on my 42-inch Vizio TV any day. But what can I expect? I live in Minnesota, the home of the Vikings.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy living in Minnesota. I love my college, and I enjoy meeting new people here. I wouldn’t be in Minnesota today if I didn’t like it here. However, I can honestly say, some Vikings fans who see me wear my green and gold treat me like an enemy.

Right after I watched the Pack lose to the Arizona Cardinals in a nail-biting divisional playoff game, I put on my Packers beanie and walked into the elevator. On the way down to the first floor, the elevator stopped on the floor below, where two girls got on. As they stepped in, they looked at my Packers beanie and went over to the corner and started laughing hysterically. Enraged with anger, I couldn’t help but utter “real mature” as I exited the elevator. Yes, I was mad that they lost, but whenever the Vikings lose, you don’t see me laughing at Vikings fans. And believe me, I could have laughed at Vikings fans after Blair Walsh missed a potential game-winning field goal against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wildcard game. But, that’s just not the type of person I am.

Another instance of when I was poorly treated as a Packers fan in Minnesota happened at the mall. As I was walking around, a girl who was about eight or nine years old saw my Packers beanie and sternly said, “you’re wearing the wrong hat.” I couldn’t help but smile at her and continue walking.

I have visited many places around the country with my Packers gear on, but never have I been treated like this. I have even visited Chicago, home to another NFC North rival (Chicago Bears) and didn’t have any problems. I know not every Vikings fan is like this, but some people need to understand that not everyone from Minnesota is going to be a Vikings fan. Just like how not everyone from Wisconsin is going to be a Packers fan.

One thing I have noticed in Minnesota and North Dakota is the abundance of Packers fans here. Believe it or not, there are quite a few cheeseheads, especially in North Dakota. I don’t know if this is because of the fact that North Dakota State University’s colors are similar to the Packers, but I often run into fans.

According to an article from ESPN, Packers fans regularly take up a good chunk of seats when the Pack play in Minneapolis. Because of this, the Vikings only sell single-game tickets to the Packers game as part of a two-game package. And not to mention, there are more than a dozen Packers bars in the Twin Cities. Perhaps the reason why many Vikings fans act the way they do is because cheeseheads are invading the state of Minnesota.    

Regardless of where you are, people are going to have their favorite team and everyone should respect that. Having grown up in Wisconsin, I have been to many different places where there were Vikings fans, and I didn’t see anyone treat them like how I have been treated. In fact, at Lambeau Field, Packers fans have one of the best reputations for how we treat opposing fans, including Vikings fans. Also, according to an article from the Star Tribune, Vikings fans are among the most likely to be arrested or ejected at Lambeau. But this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, right?

There are many other times when Vikings fans got under my skin, but I chose to mention the most recent occurrences. Otherwise, this list would be way too long. Sure, I have friends who are Vikings fans and they tease me about the Packers, but that’s what friends do. However, if you don’t know someone and you are rude to them just because they like a rival team, you are definitely not making a good first impression.   

Trent Zbichorski is majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in broadcast journalism. He is originally from North Prairie, Wis.

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