John "St. Vince" O'Neill: We're the best fans, not 'freaks'

2013-06-29T00:15:00Z 2014-01-03T10:43:44Z John "St. Vince" O'Neill: We're the best fans, not 'freaks' madison.com
June 29, 2013 12:15 am

I must respond to Ben Bromley’s column last Saturday, “Packers fans star in freak show.”

Bromley worries the TBS cable network will embarrass most Packers fans with its reality television show “Cheeseheads.” Bromley suggests the entire state will be depicted as having IQs equal to a December temperature at Lambeau Field.

If someone has the limited capacity to judge the population of an entire state based on a few people, why should we be concerned with that?

Men wearing suits and ties, and women wearing fur coats, was the norm back in Vince Lombardi’s days. If this is what Bromley thinks is proper attire, fine. Go to Lambeau Field in a tuxedo if that makes you feel good.

But calling those who choose to wear a cheesehead to a game “freaks” is wrong. It’s like bullying, the topic of a recent State Journal article.

The first cheesehead appeared in 1987 when a Wisconsin native made one from foam rubber and wore it to a Brewers vs. White Sox game. It was in response to Chicagoans routinely calling anyone from Wisconsin a “cheesehead.”

In just a few years, the cheesehead evolved into a symbol showing allegiance to a person’s favorite Wisconsin sports team. And it now says, “I’m from Wisconsin — and darn proud of it!”

Following Wisconsin’s lead, today virtually every NFL team has its own foam creation. And when they can’t come up with their own, fans from other teams paint cheeseheads in their own team colors.

When visiting Lambeau Field, for example, many Vikings fans wear cheeseheads that are painted purple. This still looks more dignified than wearing a plastic horned helmet with long goldilocks braids hanging down past the ears.

Why didn’t TBS choose fans from any of the other 31 NFL teams? They could have focused on fans from TBS’s own state in Atlanta, home of the Falcons.

But they came to Wisconsin. It’s not because we have a “freak show” going on here. It’s because we have the most ardent, loyal fans in the NFL.

Every team has its 1 percent who dress up way beyond the norm to attend a football game. And 1 percent equates to hundreds of fans at any stadium on any football Sunday.

But Packers fans are legendary, and the producers know this. They are the best traveling fans in the NFL. So many Packers fans were screaming in San Diego in 2011 that the Chargers offense was forced to do non-verbal signals on the line of scrimmage because they couldn’t hear their quarterback. That was incredible and impressed even the Chargers fans that day.

Many Packers fans live in other states and countries and have never set foot into Wisconsin. Yet they identify with the team whose entire city could fit inside its stadium. They know and love that Green Bay is the only NFL team owned by the fans and not by some billionaire.

Regardless of how this show depicts Packers fans, it is safe to say we will be ridiculed by fans from the other 31 NFL teams. But really, would you expect anything other than that?

One thing is certain though. Fans of other teams would love to have the history of the Green Bay Packers and the reputation of its fans.

Packers fans are the best — and then you have the rest.

Go Pack, go!

O’Neill, town of Middleton, has dressed as

“St. Vince” at Green Bay Packers home games for more than 15 years.

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(1) Comments

  1. Buckyz
    Report Abuse
    Buckyz - June 29, 2013 2:45 pm
    Sorry Vince, but you are one of the "freaks" that people of Wisconsin pray are not associated with this great state.

    I despise the Vikings, but to call a slab of cheese on your head "dignified" says quite a bit about your warped obsession with a game (as if the costume was not enough).


    By the way, you may believe that the fans "own" the Packers since you coughed up money for a worthless piece of paper and called it "stock" in the Packers. But in reality, the Packers are nothing more than another pawn of the billion dollar ENTERTAINMENT franchise known as the NFL.

    Have a good day Vince, and enjoy paying for that $7 beer and $5 bratwurst that you as an "owner" do not get a discount on.

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