29

December

Christmas at Lambeau: An Experience Of A Lifetime

Post-Victory. What a Christmas gift!

If there is one thing I have learned growing up in Wisconsin, it’s that when someone offers you a free ticket to a Green Bay Packers game you must say yes or face terrible consequences.

Even on Christmas Day.

First a little background: I work two jobs, both in retail. Obviously the arrival of Christmas was a big relief to me as it’s the sign that the craziness that began the day after Thanksgiving was finally coming to an end.  With both employers being closed, I was looking forward to the day off and quiet time with family and watching Packers vs. Bears on TV before going back in at 5:30 am on the 26th.

Then the phone rang at about 9 am.

You don’t expect too many phone calls Christmas Day aside from relatives outside the area calling to say “Merry Christmas.” This one, however, was a very different (and honestly a much better) phone call.

It was cousin, ironically from Illinois but a Packers season ticket holder. He had a spare ticket to the game Sunday night and asked if I wanted to go along, no charge at all.  If ever there was a stupid question, this is it.

Of course I’d go! Any Packer fan needs to have their Cheesehead confiscated if they turn down the opportunity to see the oldest rivalry in the NFL in person.  Still, it was Christmas and I knew family was coming.  Like a child excited to be invited to the best party ever, I sheepishly asked my dad if this would be an issue with the family coming over.  Since he’s a Packer shareholder, he borderline chastised me for even asking and said go and have fun.

So I went about the rest of my day wound tighter than a clock in anticipation.  When family arrived at 2:30, I explained my departure and all understood even my other cousin who is a Giants fan (I have the best family ever).  After a communication hiccup involving who was driving and when to leave, we arrived in Green Bay about 6:00 and parked about 4 blocks away from Lambeau Field.

11

November

The Green Bay Packers Have “Rich White Guy Problems”

The next time Adam Carolla goes on one of his rants about “rich white guy problems,” he should find a way to work in the Green Bay Packers.

Carolla is a former carpenter and boxing coach who entered the world of mass media. His resume includes co-hosting the popular radio show Loveline, various movie and TV credits, and creating a massively popular podcast.

Carolla’s podcasts are filled with over-the-top rants and observations about politics, marriage, race and sports. One of Carolla’s more amusing rants revolves around “problems” that only he and other “rich white guys” have. Examples include having to watch a 42-inch plasma TV while the 65-inch TV gets fixed, being inconvenienced by the family maid as she cleans the mansion and deciding which $1,000 bottle of vodka to buy in the VIP room at the club.

Folks, the Packers also have rich white guy problems.

The problems don’t have anything to do with being white, but have everything to do with being rich. Only a guy who has more money than he knows what to do with gets annoyed at the in-home maid who asks you to lift your feet while she vacuums the carpet.

Only a football team as stacked as the Packers can have a veteran CB call one half of the team a “liability” when they’re 8-0. And only a fanbase as spoiled as the Packers’ faithful can get so worried about their undefeated team.

Yes, the pass defense breaks down too often.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers sometimes holds the ball too long.

Yes, the pass rush disappears for long stretches.

These are all rich white guy problems. Every single one of them.

If you’re going to blame the Packers for giving up too many passing yards, you need to credit them for forcing so many turnovers.

If you’re going to blame Rodgers for holding the ball, you need to credit him for erasing sacks through big plays.

If you’re going to get upset when the opposing QB has too much time to throw, well…..the lack of a pass rush might be more than just a rich white guy problem. But even so, I think the odds are good that Dom Capers, Clay Matthews and BJ Raji figure something out.

3

April

Hey Look, a Packers Rap Video that Doesn’t Completely Suck

Seems like every other day, I come across yet another Packers rap song and video. Ever the optimist, I always check them out and usually don’t make it past 30 seconds. With all due apologies to the folks that spend all the time and effort making these things, they usually are just horribly bad. Normally, my main issue is with the lyrics. They’re just lame.

I also usually have a good chuckle at watching  what is normally a couple of white kids from Wisconsin trying to come off as hard core rappers. I know that’s some of my NY, big-city snootiness coming through, so please don’t take too much offense – but it does make me laugh…

But guess what folks, somebody has done it right.  A nice sound bed, some creative lyrics that actually make sense and no phony hard-core rapper airs. And plus, they got Weird Al Yankovic to be in the video!

…What?  That’s not Wierd Al?

Well regardless, I actually watched the whole video and then watched it again. And I still liked it.  This video gets my official seal of approval. First one to do so…

If you haven’t seen it, enjoy…

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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20

February

Dallas Texas Super Bowl Baby – Part Two – This Packers Fan’s Game Day Excellent Adventure

Part 1 of this two-part article can be found here.

Dallas Texas Super Bowl Baby! The day was finally here. The cellphone alarm woke my cousin Pete and I up around 8:30AM. We each took a quick shower, changed into our game day attire, and headed downstairs for the free breakfast at the hotel.

Once again, there were plenty of Steeler Jerseys to be seen, with just a spattering of Green and gold mixed in.  We joined a couple of fellow Packer fans about our age, introduced ourselves and talked Packers while we ate breakfast.  These two fans were originally from Wisconsin, but had both re-located after getting married (to Alabama and North Carolina, I believe).

They talked about some of their early memories in Green Bay and were eager to hear our stories about how we became and stayed Packers fans while living in New Jersey. We had planned to get out earlier and make it over to the NFL Experience, but ended up talking with these guys for almost an hour.

One of the guys was convinced my cousin would make the perfect Vince Lombardi, in a fedora and topcoat and kept coming back to that during the conversation. They randomly threw a little Packers history trivia at us, probably figuring what do a couple of guys from Jersey know, but of course, we handled it all without a problem.

Finally, it was time to hit the road and start our game day adventure. We took off for the “NFL Experience” at the Dallas Convention Center and found we had to park almost a half mile away. The tiny lots next to the Convention Center were already full. We walked along to the Convention Center with a couple of Cowboys fans and their uber-cute girlfriends. As I do with any Cowboys fan I meet, I made them say “thank you” to the Packers for getting Wade Phillips fired. Saying thank you is the least they can do, right?

Approaching the Convention Center, we were dwarfed by a giant XLV as we proceeded into the building.  There was a $25 fee, and to be honest, I had no idea why I was paying or what I was paying for, but it didn’t much matter. This was Super Bowl Sunday, damn it – I expected to be fleeced.

15

February

Dallas Texas Super Bowl Baby – Part One – This Packers Fan’s Excellent Adventure

As Jermichael Finley now famously said at the Packers’ 2010 family night scrimmage, “I’ve got ONE word: Dallas Texas Super Bowl, Baby.” OK say, so it’s five words. But who cares?

What an excellent adventure it was. As I sit down to write this, I realize that at this time last week, I was on Texas I-30, driving to Cowboys Stadium. A battle between two teams with the most respected organizations in sports awaited, and the game did not disappoint. Especially if you were a Packers Fan.

Since returning to reality back home in NJ, work has kept me inundated and unable to properly enjoy or reflect on that weekend (really, I could have used a week off after the game – I’ll have to remember that if there’s a next time).

So as I sit here on this football-less Sunday, I’m going to look back and properly reflect on my experience. And as Elton John said, “I hope you don’t mind if, I put down in words….  how wonderful life is when the Packers are Champs.” Sorry Elton…

3:00AM Saturday, Feb 5th. RING! RING! RING!  The alarm goes off. “You have got to be kidding me”, I think to myself. But there was no hesitation. I jumped out of bed and into the shower.  I was on the road by 3:45 to catch a 6:20 flight out of JFK airport in NY.

Just getting into Dallas had been a huge concern all week. I closely watched weather.com and accuweather.com to check on Dallas weather and NY weather. I followed the series of storms hitting Dallas, and the multiple airport closures. I had just paid more than 3 times face value for a Super Bowl ticket, what if I can’t get there? Not to mention there was a storm predicted for Saturday morning in NY. What if I’m delayed there and miss my connecting flight? Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Fortunately, I’m really not the worrying type, so I put all of this out of my head and convinced myself all would be OK.

As I hit the road, I leave to light flurries. The latest weather report predicted a 7:00 start to the snow in the airport area. So basically, I am racing the snow east to the airport, and if all goes well, I’ll be in the air by the time the first snow hits in NY.

5

February

Jersey Al: Gone Fishing (for a Packers Super Bowl Win)

By the time you read this post, I am hopefully on my way to Dallas – God and Mother Nature willing. As such, it may be quiet around here for a few days. Perhaps one of the fine writers who grace this site with their work may have something they want to share with you (if they can overcome that nervousness and excitement we’re all feeling).

As for myself, while I will bring a computer with me, I don’t plan to spend my two days in Dallas in front of one.

I plan to revel in this experience, which could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime for me. I will surely be depositing more money in Jerry Jones’ wallet, as much as that thought displeases me. I want to meet as many of you great Packers fans as I can, including some superfans who will be there, like St. Vince, Steve “The Owner” Tate & a host of others. I want to share Packers stories with you and eagerly listen to yours. For those of you in Dallas, PLEASE be sure to make the Cheesehead TV Meetup at Sherlock’s in Lincoln Square Mall, Arlington, TX. Saturday at 8:00. Please stop by and say hello.

This has been a special two weeks for me here in NJ. I actually hear, on a daily basis, the Packers being talked about on the local  TV stations.  For someone who goes back to pre-internet days, when the only Packers news I could get was from an already one week behind Packer Report that was delivered to my house every Tuesday, my head pops up every time I hear “Packers” on the TV. It’s just surreal, when all you’re used to hearing is “Giants” and “Jets.”

Certainly, those of you living in Wisconsin can’t know what that feeling is like, nor can I really know what you’re feeling inside. But it doesn’t really matter, we’re all just Packers fans about to enjoy a lifetime experience, whether you’ll be watching  in Dallas yourself, or on your usual couch.

Root hard for the Packers. And whether in victory or defeat, represent all Packers fans with dignity and class. Show the NFL exactly what is so special about us Packers fans and the true America’s Team, the Green Bay Packers. Go Pack!

Gone Fishing…

26

January

Lost in Chicago: My NFC Championship Game Excellent Adventure (Packers vs. Bears)

My wife and I moments after the Packers punched their ticket to the Super Bowl.

My wife and I made the trek to Chicago last weekend to watch the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. In addition to seeing the Packers win and go back to the Super Bowl, we met some new friends, discovered a Packers bar in the heart of Bears territory and left with memories that will last the rest of our lives.

This is the uncut and unedited story from our trip. Enjoy.

Never Get in a Car With Strangers (unless they’re Packers fans)

It was about 6 p.m. on Saturday when I realized this trip was going to be a fun one. That’s when I piled into John Rehor’s car with my wife, Corey Behnke and Wally Pingel to try and find Will’s Northwoods, a famous Packers bar in Chicago.

In most situations, getting into a car with three people you know only through Twitter and met in person just an hour ago is a bad idea. But these people were Packers fans — fun Packers fans! What’s the harm in climbing into a car with the co-founder of Cheesehead TV, one of the most well-known Packers bloggers out there, and a man responsible for designing Packers-themed web sites?

We didn’t think anything of it, so I made my wife sit in the back between Behnke and Pingel and I took shotgun next to Rehor. Somebody’s iPhone told us that Will’s Northwoods was only 7 minutes away so off we went, hoping to arrive in time to see Jermichael Finley (and his hot wife).

Will’s Northwoods

One hour later, we finally found the place.

Yeah, we took a few wrong turns along the way. One time we thought we were there, only to learn that Behnke typed the wrong address into Google. We also had to stop at a gas station – one of those gas stations where the cashier is surrounded by bullet-proof glass – to pee. Also, Rehor almost ran over a horse (yes, there was a horse on a random side street in Chicago at night).

But we finally got there, and it was more than worth the trip.