With the 2013 Green Bay Packers season officially in the books, there is a plethora of articles all over the World Wide Web looking back at the year and what the Packers can do to improve and contend for a Super Bowl again in 2014.
This is not one of those articles. Well, not 100% anyways.
As you may or may not know, due to a promotion at my real job, I packed my bags and moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota this past August. From the moment I was born until roughly one month from my 30th birthday, I lived in the great state Wisconsin and Packer Country. As of August 1st, that was no longer the case.
Of course the state of Minnesota is home to one of Green Bay’s most bitter rivals, the Vikings. For the first time in my life, I would not be able to watch every single Packer game on television. This fact actually weighed heavily on me when I was debating whether or not to accept the promotion, but I figured that, thanks to the advent of the internet and NFL Game Rewind, I would survive.
I arrived at the start of training camp and it was seemingly clear at that point even to Vikings fans what the NFC North would look like in 2013: the Packers would win the division with perhaps a somewhat stiff challenge from Minnesota. The optimism amongst fans here was that the Vikings made the playoffs in 2012 and thanks to the addition of former Packer wide receiver Greg Jennings, they could challenge Green Bay for the division crown.
As is usually the case in the NFL, things did not go according to the script….for either team.
The Packers stumbled early, but were able to right the ship to sit at 4-2 entering their Week 8 matchup against the Vikings at Mall of America Field. Minnesota, meanwhile, stumbled early and often as their record stood at 1-5 heading into their first game against Green Bay.
Heading into that game, all I could think was “Just win this game. Lose the rest if you must, I just don’t want to get swept by the Vikings while I live here.” Everyone at work at that point knew who I backed and the smack talk was in jest, but there’s a difference between Packers fans and (most) Vikings fans: we Cheeseheads take our team as a source of pride. When they lose, our pride is wounded.