Who To Root For: Badgers, Bears, Packers, Vikings, or All of the Above?

Welcome to the first installment of my new sports blog for Channel 3000. This blog will be available for free for a limited time until its staggering popularity causes us to turn it into a audio podcast that we can charge $1.99 a day for. The good news is, we’ve already signed former Vikings head coach Mike Tice to do the podcast narration. It doesn’t look like he’s going to have anything else to do for a while . . . .

If you’re unlucky enough to know me, you’ll see some humor in me writing a blog, as I’ve always considered people who wrote blogs to be living in some kind of sad fantasy world. Why don’t people just write in personal journals anymore? Because they think that someone with connections in the publishing world will accidentally stumble across their blogs and be so impressed that they will want to turn their tedious on-line ramblings about reality television or the dating scene into a book and then into a hip independent movie starring Scarlett Johannsen and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Not me. I’m just hoping for a shot on Dancing with the Stars. I could salsa rings around George Hamilton anyday. And have you tried my salsa rings? They’re delicious with a little ranch sauce.

As a Twin Cities native and a Minnesota Vikings fan (I figure I’d better get that out of the way early so most of you can bail out now and click over to the porn site of your choosing) who came to Madison to attend college and never left, I’m fascinated by the prospect of my favorite NFL team, the Vikings (again, you are free to leave if I offend), seemingly being taken over by players and coaches with ties to my favorite college team, the Badgers.

For those of you with better things to do than worry about the status of the Vikings coaching staff — like worrying about the status of the Packers coaching staff and its quarterback — here’s the story: Owner Zigi Wilf announced the hiring of Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress as the team’s new head coach on Friday. Before joining the train wreck that the Eagles have now become, Childress served under Barry Alvarez as the Badgers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 1991-1998. Childress’s first order of business has been to throw people out of Minnesota at a rate not seen since the North Stars dropped the “North” and moved south to Dallas. In all, at least nine of Mike Tice’s assistants have been or likely will be fired. Four of the available positions may be filled by former Badger players or coaches, including former UW quarterback Darrell Bevell, who is now the Packers quarterbacks coach. Bevell has emerged as the leading candidate to be Childress’s offensive coordinator.

Assuming that most Badger fans are also Packer fans (come on, you know who are, your ride is tricked out with not one but two of those annoying strap-on flags), do you wish these men — who helped guide your beloved Badgers to heights undreamed of as recently as the early nineties — at least some degree of success should they join Childress with the Vikings? Do you grant them at least that much as a small measure of thanks for bringing home to Wisconsin multiple Rose Bowl victories? The answer, I’m sure, is “Hell, no!”

And that’s what I don’t understand. You see, I was raised in a benevolent household where beatings were kept to a minimum, Kenny Rogers was revered as both a singer and an actor, and cheering was allowed for any team in the NFC Central (except when they were playing the Purple, of course). I guess the logic was that the other teams in the NFC Central — now the NFC North — were like the extended family of the Vikings and you didn’t cross the family, even if it meant learning every step to the Super Bowl Shuffle.

This contradicts fans’ attitudes elsewhere: For example, it seems that many Badger hoops fans, come March Madness, will root for the Big Ten to make the strongest showing possible. Likewise, I know plenty of people who bleed cardinal and white who root for all Big Ten football teams in bowl games. But ask most Packer fans who they are cheering for this NFL postseason, and it’s unlikely you’ll get anyone to say the NFC North champion Bears, even with the Packers having been eliminated from postseason consideration sometime around the ending of Daylight Savings Time.

So Packers fans, I’m proposing two things: One, you cheer for the division this weekend and root for the Bears, and two, that you wish Coach Childress and whatever current or former Badger colleagues he may bring to Minnesota at least a half-hearted “good luck.” And if it will make you feel better, let’s cut a deal: We’ll take Childress, Bevell, and the rest, and you can take Mike Tice. Please.

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