Root for the Pack above the Mack? Heretic!

If you live in the Upper Peninsula and fly a booger-green and pus-yellow flag from your house, please realize you are grossing us out. And you should move. Back with the sinners and cons who live in Wisconsin.

The reason for this Super Bowl of hyperbole about Yooper Packer fans is: I can’t think of a city that needs support more than Detroit. As the Lions face the Packers in the traditional Thanksgiving game at Ford Field, let's break down the U.P.'s divided loyalties.

Bankruptcy, unemployment, declining population – I’m talking about Detroit, but these are issues facing the U.P., too. There’s a brotherhood we should feel with Detroit. Same state, same problems.

On the greener side of the fence is Green Bay, a city that grew in population from 2000 to 2010. In Detroit, there was no census. People were too afraid to go house to house. They used drones for the 2010 Detroit census. OK, that’s not true. But Detroit and the U.P. both declined. Significantly.

Green Bay’s unemployment was 5.6 percent in August 2013. Detroit’s, 11.1 percent. Double Green Bay’s.

Hell, the Packers even got their name from a company – the Indian Packing Company. It sold canned meat. It’s sort of like being called the Green Bay Dishwashers. The Green Bay Child Laborers. The Green Bay Parking Lot Attendants.

The Packers have won (the unlucky number of) 13 NFL championships, more than any other team in the league. They’re basically Goliath. They’re Walmart, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon. A Valdez-style oil spill of Packer fans in the U.P. Take away the G from GBP and you have BP.

Supposedly, “a study in the late 1990s found that the Green Bay Packers generated $144 million in total annual spending in Brown County.”



Just in Brown County.

That’s a heck of a GDP generated by the GBP.

Imagine if Yooper Packer fans were giving their money and support to the Lions? Imagine the difference that could make? And I’m not even talking about money. I’m talking about psychologically.

Michiganders can sometimes be self-haters, afraid to love the place where they live, instead jumping on bandwagons by being Laker fans and Yankee fans and party-pooper Yooper Packer fans.

I’ve been told you’re more likely to get hired in the U.P. if you’re not a Yooper. (This does not apply to sub-poverty level wage jobs.)

Are the booger-and pus-flags in the U.P. part of the bigger signs and symptoms of problems facing the state of Michigan? Has even our football team been outsourced?

I asked for opinions on Facebook and Twitter. Not one Lion fan stepped to the plate – or crouched at the line of scrimmage. Instead, I got pro-Packer replies such as Sarah Olsen’s: “Yoopers aren't betraying Michigan by being Packers fans, just geographically practical.”

Which is sad for Yoopers, because apparently for the next Olympics we’ll all be rooting for Canada. After all, we’re closer to Ottawa than D.C.

Or maybe it’s about following whatever team wins the most? Next to the Packer pennant, should we take down our American flags and fly a red flag with five gold stars? China wins the most Olympic medals.

Is this about rooting for the overdog? Wanting Goliath to beat David Akers?

Come on, Akers is 38-year-old, 5-foot-10-inch, 200-pound kicker. He’s pushing 40 and still playing. How can you not root for a guy like that?

Back on my Facebook page, Michael W. Phillips Jr. explains that “when Michigan applied for statehood in 1835, they didn't include the U.P. – they wanted Toledo instead. After the Toledo War of 1835-36, Michigan voters again rejected the U.P. as a consolation prize – they wanted Toledo instead. It was only after the territory almost went bankrupt during the winter of 1836 that they accepted the UP and statehood. Since Michigan didn't want the U.P. ...residents of the U.P. should consider themselves free to support any professional football team.”

I watched a recent talk by Dr. Peter Attia where he challenges the conventional thinking that obesity leads to insulin resistance, saying it’s the other way around.

I wonder if, rather than Lions fans emerging after they start winning, the Lions will start winning when the fan support creates a winning atmosphere ...when Yoopers start supporting the state (and the economy) where they live.

Maybe it will be worth the wait – when the Lions win that championship and all of those supportive, loyal fans get to feel what Red Sox fans felt in 2004.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Becky Anderson
Sun, 11/17/2013 - 12:31am
Detroit is the home den of the Trolls :(((((
Mon, 11/18/2013 - 8:15am
No way, eh! The Packers belong to the PEOPLE--the only team in pro sports that is not owned by some rich person in a sky box (and the only pro spors team that I follow with any real enthusiasm). If the Lions ownership would consider turning over 51% or greater ownership interest in the Lions to the people of Detroit, it might be different, but until then, this Yooper is a Packer-Backer all the way. Maybe the Motor City could learn a thing or two from Green Bay, eh?
Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:06pm
Great comment on the ownership issue as a tool of partiality and attractiveness towards Green Bay. I am always surprised of the egalitarian public ownership system of the Pack. However, always have to go with state pride! Go Lions.
Don Wotruba
Tue, 11/19/2013 - 9:15am
As a kid growing up only 90 miles from Green Bay, but still in Michigan, it only made sense to cheer on the Packers. I loved your article, but even with the Packers all busted up this year, I will still be rooting for the green and yellow next Thursday!