Sunday, November 6, 2011
Packers fans force Chargers' silent count (!)
By Kevin Seifert
SAN DIEGO -- As they tried to tie the game late in the fourth quarter Sunday, the San Diego Chargers' offense went to a silent count.
Such was the impact of a large and quite loud contingent of Green Bay Packers fans who descended on Qualcomm Stadium and played a legitimate role in their team's 45-38 victory over the Chargers.
"Today did feel like a home game," tight end Jermichael Finley said. "The Pack Nation showed their support here in [California]. It was crazy. It was just Lambeau in the West."
A number of factors went into what conservative estimates suggested was 25,000 Packers fans in the stadium. (If you told me it was 35,000, I would believe you.)
Packers fans typically travel well. San Diego is the obvious jewel of the Packers' road schedule, and the team had a number of marketing events scheduled here. Finally, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a legion of friends and family in the area. Rodgers said he paid for 30 tickets himself, but "a bunch more" he knows came on their own.
The crowd announced itself during pregame warm-ups with a loud ovation for Packers players, along with a brief but intense "Go Pack Go" chant. At various times in the game, Chargers fans were unable to drown them out with boos. On the Chargers' final possession, in fact, linebacker Clay Matthews was signaling for Packers fans to cheer even louder. You don't often see that in an NFL stadium.
"The crowd was incredible," Rodgers said. "When we ran on the field the first time, the crowd was going crazy. When you're on the road, you're up by seven and it's late in the game, and they have to go on a silent count, that's pretty impressive. So I have to give a lot of credit to our fans. They travel well, and that says a lot about the kind of fans we have."