Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Pack is Back!

Fans celebrate the Packers' 31-25 Super Bowl win aainst Pittsburgh [Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette]

Dear George,

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, about 35,000 people – a third of the total population of the city – lined the streets in 19-degree temperature on a supposed workday to welcome home the Super Bowl champions who arrived by motorcade on Monday afternoon. One participant, Hannah Eliot, said, “Other teams have some fans who are this crazy and this dedicated. But ALL Packers fans are this crazy and this dedicated.” Pamela Orth, principal at Green Bay’s Holy Family School, stood with her children holding a hand-lettered sign proclaiming, “We (Heart) the Pack.” Team President Mark Murphy was at the front of the first bus, leading staff and players in waving to the crowd. Fans went berserk when they spotted the Lombardi trophy, awarded to the Super Bowl Champions and named after the legendary Green Bay coach who led the Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls. Team colors could be seen everywhere – on clothing, on signs, painted on faces, even on the sweaters worn by dogs in the freezing weather. A hand-lettered sign proclaimed that one of the neighborhoods on the route would now be known as “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood,” in honor of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay schools closed at noon on Monday, and parents were informed beforehand that no one would be marked absent if they didn’t come in at all. Thousands of children, as well as their teachers, were among the crowd greeting the team. The motorcade wound up at Lambeau Field, and the police used steel railings to block fans’ entry to the player areas. Police lieutenant Jeremy Murski observed that there wasn’t a single problem incident with the crowd, commenting, “This reaffirms that Green Bay Packer fans are the class of the NFL, if not all of professional sports.” Fan volunteers and staff were busy shoveling the snow out of Lambeau Field for today’s “Return to Titletown” celebration. The 50,000 seats were completely sold out by Monday night. The governor will attend and the festivities will be televised live on Packer network stations throughout Wisconsin. I wish we could be there. Katja and I cheered for the Packers in Super Bowl I in 1966, and we’re just as excited this time around in Super Bowl XLV.



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