Big Question: Demystifying 'Cheesehead'

January, 18, 2011
1/18/11
10:30
AM ET
Here's a Big Question for which I don't know the answer: Is it a compliment or an insult to be called a "Cheesehead?"

My understanding has been that somewhere along the way, fans of Illinois sports teams -- the Chicago Bears and University of Illinois most notably -- derisively coined the phrase to describe fans of those in Wisconsin, where about 2.5 billion pounds of cheese is produced annually. A quick run through online resources provide a similar account, and we all know the Internet provides the gospel.

[+] EnlargeCheesehead
AP Photo/David StlukaGreen Bay Packers fans have embraced the "Cheesehead" label.
But in a lesson to be learned on school playgrounds around the country, Packers fans subsequently embraced the term. They took to wearing the now-ubiquitous triangle-shaped foam cheese slices as fashion statements at Lambeau Field, in airports and even at movies (with stadium seating).

So perhaps it's a compliment if you call yourself a Cheesehead.

But if you call someone else a Cheesehead, it's an insult.

These are the types of burning questions that you won't see addressed or answered elsewhere during the intense X's and O's discussion already taking place this week in advance of the NFC Championship Game. We've been anticipating this matchup since last week, and in some ways fans of the Packers and Bears have been hoping for it since 1921.

Are we missing anything here? There are questions, and there are Big Questions. And this is a Big Question that must be solved before we can move forward. In all seriousness, let's use this post to let the (friendly) insults fly so that we can move on and discuss the actual game in the comments section of subsequent posts. All hail the Cheese(head)!

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