Back in my final year in the Navy in 1972, I lived in Arlington, Va., and worked at the Pentagon and was always amazed how crazed the local populace would get over the Washington Redskins. I had lived in Wisconsin, Michigan, metro New York and Upstate New York as a kid, so was used to enthusiasm directed at, in chronological order, the Packers, Lions, Giants and Jets, but the Redskin mania seemed like something else entirely.
As an outsider, I kept my mouth shut in the middle of all that “Hogs Hysteria,” but just generally assumed there was nothing else like it in the country. Uh, huh.
That was, of course, until I made my return to Wisconsin after a mere 36 years an encountered people willing to attend a professional football game with an enormous plastic cheese thingy on their heads.
All this is prologue, of course, to the approach of the Monday Night Football clash between the Packers and the Vikings, either the Game of the Century or a really noxious sideshow, depending upon your persepctive.
Given that my return to Central Wisconsin precisely coincided with the arrival of Brett Favre on the scene, I’ve been able to enjoy his Green Bay tenure and even root for him last year as Jet. I’m not sure what tonite is going to bring, though it’s a fair guess that dismay and disappointment have the pole position, to mix my sports metaphors a bit.
I say that because the cognitive dissonance for Packer/Favre fans is going to be nothing less than epic. The hype has meanwhile been so overwhelming that a very real possibility exists that the outcome – whatever that may mean – could end up not being able to live up to all the expectations.
The enthusiasm for the home squad is so deeply entrenched that simply prognosticating about these kind of important matchups can be risky. That said, one could ask what is the point of working in a communications medium that touts its immediacy and then meekly declining to take advantage of same.
I fear the Vikings will prevail in this one, not because of Favre’s alleged rabid desire for revenge, but more importantly because the game is being played in that goofy Hefty garbage bag stadium.
A post-mortem on the morrow figures to offer more areas for commentary.