FavreWatch: Home away from home
October, 2, 2009
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
Sunday afternoon, a group of Packers fans will engage in a very Minnesotan exercise. They plan to congregate at a tavern just outside Minneapolis, where a wood chipper will be set up in homage to the archetypal movie “Fargo.” According to an event organizer, participants will be invited to toss in their expendable Brett Favre memorabilia.
A professional wood chipping company will be on site for safety purposes.
“It’s going to be cleansing for everyone,” said Dave Sinykin, who hosts -- yes -- a Packers-themed radio show that airs weekly on KFAN-1130 in the Twin Cities. The station also happens to be the Vikings’ flagship, a symbol of the substantial contingent of Packers fans who live in the heart of Vikings territory.
“It’s pretty unusual for sure,” Sinykin said. “But it makes sense when you think about it.”
This is hardly breaking news for those who live in the Upper Midwest. But nationally speaking, I think a lot of people would be surprised at the volume of Packers fans who live in the Twin Cities. They’ve supported Sinykin’s show for 14 years and helped spawn a half dozen establishments that advertise themselves as Packer bars on NFL Sundays.
Geography, economics and history have conspired to create this circumstance.
On the first: St. Paul is only 45 minutes from the Wisconsin border. Even Eau Claire, Wis., -- where a plan to burn Favre jerseys gained national attention -- is much closer to the Twin Cities (85 miles) than it is to Green Bay (190 mi.).
Secondly, the large number of corporate headquarters in Minnesota -- Northwest Airlines, Best Buy, Target and 3M, to name a few -- has pulled some Wisconsin natives across state lines.
Finally, the dirty little secret of Minnesota is that it was Packers territory long before the Vikings began playing in 1960. The Packers, founded in 1919, had a 40-year head start.
“You’ve got any number of people whose parents and grandparents grew up Packers fans,” Sinykin said. “I suppose some people changed when Minnesota got a team, but for the most part Packers fans are pretty loyal. I don’t think many switched sides.”
The dynamic has been especially tense this summer when Favre signed with the Vikings. Sinykin likened the feeling to Mike Ditka leaving the Bears to coach in Green Bay. But it seems that local Packers fans, well versed in the Vikings’ championship-less history, are sitting tight.
“If you bleed green and gold, this has been a difficult thing to watch,” he said. “But ultimately I truly believe that Packers fans will get the last laugh. The ride will be fun for a while, but we don’t think it’s going to end well.”
Spoken like a true (Minnesotan) Packers fan.