Friday, January 6, 2017

Losing Your Reputation

When the topic of conversation turns to "best fans in the NFL" Green Bay Packers backers are usually placed at the top of the list.  Much is always made about the 319 consecutive sellouts dating back to the 1960's--not to mention the 100,000 people on the season ticket waiting list that will never get a chance to buy those tickets.  They are always considered a "hardy lot"--having survived games entitled the "Ice Bowl" and the "Snow Bowl".  And you can't talk about a Packers game without invoking the "mystique of Lambeau Field".

So why then can't the "Best Fans in Football" sellout a home playoff game?  There are still more than a thousand tickets left for Sunday's Wild Card tilt against the New York Giants.  And tickets that people are looking to resell through reputable sites are going for less than face value.  Not the kind of supply and demand issue you would expect for a team so "beloved and cherished" by their fan base.

Perhaps Packers fans have become spoiled by the success of the franchise over the past 20+ years.  A mere "wildcard game" no longer elicits the kind of excitement in Green Bay that cities like Buffalo, Cleveland and Jacksonville would kill for (although I doubt Jacksonville would sell out a home playoff game either--unless it was against Pittsburgh, New England or the Jets and all of the snowbirds went to watch their hometown teams).  Maybe the Packers overestimated demand for the "game day experience" when they built that upper deck on the south end zone and people just don't see those crappy seats as being worth 115 bucks for a playoff game.

One excuse put out there for the poor playoff ticket sales is that "it's going to be very cold on Sunday".  That whirring sound you hear is my grandparents and all of their brothers and sisters who joined them at Lambeau for the "Ice Bowl" spinning in their graves.  They would be the first to remind you that the air temperature that day was MINUS THIRTEEN DEGREES.  Which will be 26-degrees colder than this Sunday at kickoff.  It won't even be as cold as the last time the Giants came to win a playoff game at Lambeau Field--when everyone thought Tom Coughlin's face was going to fall off from frostbite.

And as for the "Lambeau Mystique", my family will still have a puddle of frozen water (and who knows what else) at their feet when they get to their aluminum bench on Sunday--and the lines to get into the bathrooms will be twice as long--since it will take longer to strip down from the snowmobile pants, jeans, long underwear and Under Armor cold gear to do your business.

Packers fans choosing to stay at home should be glad that NBC doesn't have the broadcast rights to this game--because I highly doubt the local affiliate would have the cash to buy up the remaining unsold tickets by this afternoon's deadline to avoid a TV blackout--like the FOX affiliate will have to do (just like they did the last time the Packers hosted a wild card game).

So the next time you hear a Packers fan boasting about he is one of the "best in the game" remind him of those years when they couldn't even fill Lambeau for a playoff game.

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